Some 6,000 union nurses in Pennsylvania last week voted to dump their former labor affiliation to form a new alliance with the California Nurses Association, fulfilling the first step in the CNA's long-term goal of becoming a national force advocating for hospital nurses.
The nurses had belonged to the Health Care Employees Division of the larger Pennsylvania State Education Association, which also represents teachers. Now, the nurses' group will be called the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, or PASNAP for short, and be aligned with the CNA.
"This is a new day for direct care nurses and a new day for patient advocacy," said Teri Evans, president of PASNAP, whose nurses voted to switch affiliations at a special convention in Carlisle, Pa.
However, leaders of the state education association said the vote was not legitimate and they will contest the nurses' pullout.
The 31,000-member CNA withdrew from the 180,000-member American Nurses Association in 1995. The CNA has taken a high-profile role in opposing the healthcare establishment in California. It has organized many new units and gotten a mandatory minimum nurse staffing bill through the Legislature.