Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NUHW-CNA: A Real Match Made In Heaven

Some time ago, I wrote about the proposed affiliation between the International Association of Machinists(IAM) and the National Union of HealthCare Workers(NUHW).  While that proposed partnership never came to fruition, NUHW and the California Nurses Association(CNA) recently made their affiliation public.

I always held the opinion that CNA was a much better fit for an affiliation with NUHW than the Machinists, for various reasons.  The most obvious is that CNA is a healthcare union that would help bridge the gap between organizing professional and non-professional employees.  The partnership with NUHW sort of fills the doughnut hole, if you will. Secondly, as much as IAM would have liked to assist NUHW in the upcoming Kaiser election re-runs, I don't believe they would have brought as much to the table as CNA does.

For NUHW, this partnership brings two very big benefits:

1. By affiliating with an AFL-CIO member union, NUHW is protected by Article 20 of the AFL-CIO constitution.  Article 20 protects member organizations from being raided by other AFL-CIO affiliated unions.  While this won't help to keep SEIU from trying to raid their chapters, it is one less thing to worry about.  On a side note, I believe this clause makes the split between SEIU and the AFL-CIO almost permanent.

2. This partnership will bring much needed resources to NUHW in their ongoing struggle against SEIU.  They will certainly need CNA's organizing and financial assistance if they hope to have a chance to be victorious in the Kaiser fight.

I believe that this is a pivotal moment in the history of the American labor movement.  The Kaiser election will help to shape the direction of the labor movement for years to come.  Only time will tell which way it will go.

In Solidarity,


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