The National Federation of Nurses (NFN) will affiliate with AFT, the leaders of the two unions announced today. Some 34,000 registered nurses in Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington State are NFN members.
NFN President Barbara Crane, a registered nurse, said:
A strong voice for nurses is particularly important now in this time of transition when America's healthcare system is being redesigned. Nurses are the most trusted healthcare providers, and this new partnership with the AFT will enable us to continue to be the voice for the patients we serve.
Along with educators, there are about 48,000 nurses and other health care professionals in the AFT and AFT President Randi Weingarten spoke of the similarities between the two professions.
Both educators and nurses are nurturers. This partnership solidifies the unity between those who nurture body and mind—those who heal our communities with those who educate our children.
She said the affiliation will give both “nurturers” the muscle they need to “advocate on behalf of the students and patients they serve.”
The affiliation is great news for nurses, their patients and patient care. It is a partnership based on mutual interests, mutual respect and a mutual desire to provide our members with the tools and conditions they need to advocate for the people they serve.
The agreement—upon ratification by the NFN's state organizations—also means affiliation within the AFL-CIO.
Both Weingarten and Crane said the new agreement will augment the NFN's advocacy in the workplace and with state and national policymakers, as nurses play a key role in maintaining quality patient care in a changing health system.
NFN's constituents will continue membership in their state and national organizations, as well as in the American Nurses Association.
It was approved in separate and unanimous votes by the NFN national executive board and by the AFT executive council. Over the next four to five weeks, each of the NFN state labor organizations will conduct its own formal ratification process.