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Pennsylvania's Leading RN Association Joins CNA/NNOC, Nation's Largest Nurses' Union

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) is joining the nation's largest union of registered nurses, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), leaders of both organizations announced today.

With the affiliation, CNA/NNOC will now represent more than 80,000 RNs in all 50 states. PASNAP has some 5,100 members.

CNA/NNOC and PASNAP have been two of the fastest growing unions in the U.S. with a stellar growth record. In the past decade, CNA/NNOC has grown by more than 370 percent. Since 2001, CNA/NNOC has gained more than 30,000 new members. PASNAP has a similar record of growth, boosting its membership by 40 percent this decade.

"By joining forces with CNA and the National Nurses Organizing Committee, Pennsylvania nurses will benefit from the resources and expertise of the most dynamic and effective professional nurse unions in the nation," said PASNAP President Patty Eakin, RN. "When the collective voice of nurses is strengthened, the main beneficiaries are patients and their families."

"We are thrilled to welcome the dynamic members of PASNAP into our growing movement of direct care RNs," said Zenei Cortez, RN, member of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents.

"We have a long and proud history and a close working relationship with PASNAP, and a shared mission on the most fundamental issues for RNs," said Cortez. This mission includes "increasing the power of bedside nurses, promoting the health and well-being of patients against the erosion of patient protections, strengthening RN standards, winning RN-to-patient ratios, and transforming our healthcare system."

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney also greeted the news. "The AFL-CIO is delighted to welcome the PASNAP nurses into the AFL-CIO through their affiliation with CNA/NNOC."

"With such deep problems in health care and such tremendous challenges facing working people, there is no more important time for nurses to unite for a stronger voice. The joining together of these two aggressive unions for registered nurses is great news," Sweeney said.

'Unite All Nurses Into One Powerful Organization'

"Our unity is a strong signal to nurses in Pennsylvania and other nurses across the nation of the opportunity for growth, a stronger voice in the workplace and the public arena. All nurses should be united in one powerful organization," said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

Eakin emphasized that the affiliation presents exciting new avenues for Pennsylvania RNs. "PASNAP increases its opportunities to improve the working lives of nurses and the care they deliver to patients by affiliating with CNA/NNOC as it has successfully fought for nurses and won vital patient safety measures such as California's nurse to patient ratio law."

California's landmark RN-to-patient ratio law was enacted in 1999, and has led to major improvements in patient safety and working conditions for RNs, Cortez noted. The final stage of the law's phase in occurred January 1, 2008. CNA/NNOC members have introduced similar measures in Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, and Texas. PASNAP is also promoting a ratio law.

"Every day, nurses work hard to save lives. We should never work short- staffed because it inevitably means that we cannot safely deliver care," said Eakin, citing the Pennsylvania bill, HB 171, sponsored by Tim Solobay, "mirroring the bill that CNA fought to make law in California."

"Now that the facts have been established that California's safe staffing bill has helped reverse the nursing shortage in California, Pennsylvanians should have to wait no more. What has been won in California should be won in Pennsylvania and nationwide for the sake of safe patient care," Eakin added.

Both organizations are also active in the national campaign for HR 676, which would establish a Medicare for all system in the U.S. that would be on par with healthcare systems in every other industrialized nation. In the past year, PASNAP has joined with CNA/NNOC in campaigning for HR 676 and advocating for genuine reform.

PASNAP was created in May 2000 when nurse delegates voted to separate from the teachers union, PSEA, where they were a subsidiary group. The nurses had previously been part of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association. CNA/NNOC was founded in California in 1903 and is one of the nation's best known champions of healthcare reform and patient advocacy.

SOURCE National Nurses Organizing Committee
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