Buckle your collective bargaining seatbelts. According to an article in the New York Times, Two of the nation’s fastest-growing labor unions — the Service Employees International Union and the California Nurses Association — ended a bitter yearlong dispute on Wednesday by agreeing to work together to unionize hospital workers and push for universal health coverage.
These two nursing unions have heeded the words of Mother Jones and have formed a powerful alliance. Why now? There is a perfect storm brewing in our country. We’ve been living the American Dream in reverse. Adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s, and our minimum wage is lower than it was in the 1950s. Nurses and other health care professionals are working longer hours under deteriorating working conditions. There is a reason for the nursing shortage. We are buckling under the stress and nurses want change. How many times have you heard someone say, “When are we ever going to get a union in this place?” The unions say it’s time to organize now.
Hospitals have always exploited the divisions that have existed in nursing in order to enhance their bottom line. Mother Jones preached the power of collective bargaining and now two bitter union rivals are coming together in order to push for a better health care system and a law that would make it easier to unionize workers. Nurses have always resisted joining unions. We’ve always viewed ourselves as “good girls.” Good girls don’t strike. Good girls don’t walk picket lines. Good girls don’t make demands. Well let me tell you something ladies and gentlemen of the nursing profession. You’re not a good nurse if you don’t stand up for yourself and for your patients. Just like Mother Jones, good nurses raise hell when it’s time to take action. The divisions in nursing are dissolving and it’s time to fight back. I’m Mother Jones, RN and I support labor unions.
Need a little motivation? Watch this YouTube video. Listen for the shout out to Ma’ Jones.