Ending a long stretch of high-profile sparring, the Service Employees International Union and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee have made nice with an agreement to work cooperatively to organize non-union healthcare workers and nurses.
Under a new pact, the unions promise an intensive national organizing campaign with an initial focus on the nations largest hospital systems, while agreeing to refrain from raiding each others work sites in organizing efforts and from interference in the others internal affairs, they announced in a joint news release.
In Florida, the unions intend to create a new joint organization representing registered nurses in the state, while nationally SEIU will stick with its established constituency of healthcare workers. Registered nurses will be the realm of the CNA/CNOC, which in February announced plans to merge its membership with two other unions, growing its ranks from 85,000 to 150,000.
The new agreement also calls for coordinated efforts to press Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation, widely opposed by hospitals, would give workers the exclusive power to decide whether or not to use secret balloting in organizing efforts, a provision thats become known as card check, and would force binding arbitration if parties fail to reach a contract within 120 days after a union is formed.