American Nurses Association (ANA)
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates, and is the strongest voice for the nursing profession.
Dedicated to ensuring that an adequate supply of highly-skilled and well-educated nurses is available, ANA is committed to meeting the needs of nurses as well as health care consumers. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the general public.
ANA is at the forefront of policy initiatives pertaining to health care reform. Among the priority issues are: a restructured health care system that delivers primary health care in community based settings; an expanded role for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in the delivery of basic and primary health care; obtaining federal funding for nurse education and training; and helping to change and improve the health care environment.
Through ANA's political and legislative program, the association has taken firm positions on a range of issues including Medicare reform, patients’ rights, appropriate staffing, the importance of safer needle devices, whistleblower protections for health care workers, adequate reimbursement for health care services and access to health care. ANA and its state nurses associations' lobbying efforts are contributing to health care reform on both state and national levels.
AFT Nurses and Health Professionals was created in 1978 when the AFT’s constitution was amended to allow organizing and affiliation of healthcare workers.
AFT Nurses and Health Professionals has a strong commitment to organizing new members, although the healthcare industry is a notoriously difficult area in which to organize. Historically, they have won more than 70 percent of their representation elections.
The representation of nurses and health professionals is splintered among more than fifteen national unions. AFT Nurses and Health Professionals has been central in the creation of several multi-union initiatives including, most recently, a working group on formulating a union response to health information technology. Other issues currently of importance to members include advocating for safe staffing levels in hospitals in order to protect the quality of patient care, stopping the growing problem of workplace violence, advocating for safe lifting programs to prevent workplace injuries, ensuring that school children have enough nurses to adequately care for their needs and advocating against changes in state nurse practice acts that would require the "training" of non-professionals to administer potentially dangerous medications in the schools.
Every year, AFT Nurses and Health Professionals hosts a national professional issues conference where members learn about and discuss issues that affect healthcare workers throughout the country. They also hold special conferences for new leaders, for local presidents and for school health leaders and activists. AFT Nurses and Health Professionals is one of only a few AFL-CIO unions accredited as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
AFT Nurses and Health Professionals’s 13-member program and policy council provides direction to the division on healthcare workforce and health policy issues as well as assistance in development of divisional priorities and program activities. Standing committees of the PPC include the school nurse subcommittee and the organizing subcommittee.
The division’s membership includes approximately 15,000 school nurses—or one in every three school nurses in the country. Activities on behalf of the school nurse constituency are directed by the school nurse subcommittee. Those activities include the Every Child Needs a School Nurse campaign, an annual leadership conference for school nurse activists as well as advocacy and research on school nurse and school health issues.
On February 8, 2013, WSNA’s national union, the National Federation of Nurses (NFN), voted to approve an agreement to affiliate with AFT, the largest union of professionals in the AFL-CIO (1.5 million). On February 16, 2013, in an historic joint meeting, the WSNA E&GW Cabinet and WSNA Board of Directors, after thorough review and discussion and following our established affiliation processes, voted to approve the NFN-AFT affiliation agreement and seek an official charter from AFT as a statewide AFT local.
Membership in the AFL-CIO at the national level has long been a high priority for both WSNA and the NFN. For 2 years, at the direction of the WSNA Cabinet and WSNA Board, our WSNA members serving on the NFN National Executive Board along with our WSNA representatives on the NFN National Advisory Board (i.e., the WSNA President, Cabinet Chair, Executive Director and Labor Program Director) were deeply involved in ongoing discussions regarding how best to achieve national AFL-CIO affiliation.
In addition to achieving national AFL-CIO affiliation, we believe this partnership significantly enhances 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. 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 WSNA and for our collective bargaining members.
The affiliation establishes NFN and WSNA as partners with AFT, not subordinates. We have built ironclad guarantees of autonomy rights expressly stated in the affiliation agreement. Nothing in it alters the internal governance and self-determination rights of our state.
Affiliation with AFT also brings WSNA and the other NFN member states protection from raids or other predatory actions. By affiliating with the AFL-CIO through AFT, WSNA and the NFN gain protection from raids and jurisdictional attacks through Article XX and Article XXI provisions of the AFL-CIO constitution, which prohibits any AFL-CIO union from raiding or interfering with any other AFL-CIO union. AFT has also committed to protect and defend the NFN and its member states in this regard.
Created in 1955 by the merger of the AFL and the CIO, The AFL-CIO is a democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working people. The AFL-CIO works to ensure that all people who work receive the rewards of their work—decent paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, respect and fair treatment.
The AFL-CIO works to make the voices of working people heard in the White House, on Capitol Hill, in state capitals across the country and in corporate boardrooms. They provide an independent voice for working families and ways for working people to be actively engaged in politics and legislation. They also hold corporations accountable for their treatment of employees and ensure the voice of working people is heard in the financial system. Additionally, the AFL-CIO works with federations of unions in other countries toward global social and economic fairness.