The Stand

WSNA ratifies historic affiliation with AFT

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SEATTLE (Feb. 21, 2013) — The Washington State Nurses Association is pleased to announce the ratification of a historic new partnership agreement to expand the opportunities, resources and voice for its members.

On Feb. 8, 2013, WSNA’s national union, the National Federation of Nurses, voted to approve an agreement to affiliate with AFT, the largest union of professionals in the AFL-CIO with 1.5 million members. On Feb. 16, in an historic joint meeting, the WSNA E&GW Cabinet and WSNA Board of Directors, after thorough review and discussion and following established affiliation processes, voted to approve the NFN-AFT affiliation agreement and seek an official charter from AFT as a statewide AFT local. Each of the other NFN states (Montana, Ohio and Oregon) is now in the process of ratification, with WSNA being the first state to move forward in this new partnership.

WSNA-AFT-affiliation

WSNA President Julia Weinberg, joined by members of the WSNA Board of Directors and the Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare, signs the WSNA affiliation agreement with AFT on Feb. 16, 2013.

Membership in the AFL-CIO at the national level has long been a high priority for both WSNA and the NFN. For the past two years, at the direction of the WSNA cabinet and board, WSNA members serving on the NFN National Executive Board along with our WSNA representatives on the NFN National Advisory Board have been deeply involved in the ongoing discussions regarding how best to achieve national AFL-CIO affiliation.

“In choosing AFT and taking this action, not only will WSNA achieve national AFL-CIO affiliation, we believe this partnership will enhance the voice and power of nurses to advocate for quality care for our patients, uphold high standards for the nursing profession, and improve working conditions for nurses at the local, state and national level,” said Judy Huntington, MN, RN, Executive Director of WSNA. “With a strong history of advocating for professional standards for their members and over 30 years of experience organizing and representing nurses, AFT is a partner that can provide important additional resources and support for NFN, for our state, and for our collective bargaining members.”

The affiliation establishes NFN and WSNA as partners with AFT, not subordinates. The WSNA has built ironclad guarantees of autonomy rights expressly stated in the affiliation agreement. Nothing in it alters the internal governance and self-determination rights of WSNA.

The need for effective advocacy by nurses has never been more crucial. This affiliation is taking place against the backdrop of a rapidly changing health care system characterized by ongoing changes in government policy and regulations, by a wave of hospital and health systems mergers, and tightening of reimbursement and funding policies that threaten professional practice standards and quality of care. By joining forces with AFT, WSNA and NFN will have access to greater resources to navigate these changes and more opportunities to advocate for our patients while doing so.

Affiliation will join together more than 33,000 NFN members with 48,000 registered nurses currently represented by AFT. Joined together, nurses can be even stronger and more effective in championing important issues like safe staffing and implementation of health care reform.

Learn more at the WSNA website.

Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=20989

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