Nfn Photo Oct 26 2 00 56 Pm

From left: Edna Cortez, Fran Castillo, Martha Goodall, Sally Watkins, Christine Watts, Jan Bussert, Judi Lyons, Renata Bowlden and Susan E. Jacobson

On Oct. 25 – 26, 2017, National Feder­a­tion of Nurses (NFN) repre­sen­ta­tives from the member state nurses associ­a­tions of Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington met in Seattle for a NFN Celebra­tion and Summit” to celebrate the history and accom­plish­ments of the NFN and comple­tion of the affil­i­a­tion with our new national union, the American Feder­a­tion of Teachers, AFT. The celebra­tion also marked the disso­lu­tion of the formal struc­ture of the NFN. The keynote speaker for the event was Randi Weingarten, AFT President.

WSNA was repre­sented at the celebra­tion and summit event by NFN Vice Presi­dent Susan E. Jacobson; NFN Execu­tive Board members Judi Lyons and Renata Bowlden; WSNA Cabinet Chair Julia Barcott,; WSNA Presi­dent Jan Bussert; WSNA Cabinet members Edna Cortez, Fran Castillo and Martha Goodall; WSNA staff Sally Watkins, Chris­tine Watts, Margaret Conley and Tara Goode; and former WSNA staff Judy Huntington and Barbara Frye.

Brief history of the NFN #

2007 ollowing the disaf­fil­i­a­tion from the United American Nurses (UAN) in December 2007, the state nurses associ­a­tions of Montana, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington formed a labor states coali­tion and began to work together to form a new national union of Nurses Labor Organi­za­tions (NLOs). The resulting new union was called the National Feder­a­tion of Nurses (NFN). The Montana Nurses Associ­a­tion joined NFN shortly thereafter.

Over the next 12 months, the coali­tion worked together at least monthly by confer­ence calls and face-to-face meetings to develop a NFN Consti­tu­tion and Bylaws based on a set of Core Covenants” dedicated to respect for each state association’s sover­eignty and trans­parency and to build a strong collab­o­ra­tion to meet the needs of nurses everywhere.

2008 hen the National Feder­a­tion of Nurses was founded in 2008, the stated purposes of the NFN were to strengthen and assist member NLOs and to estab­lish and imple­ment an effec­tive national labor agenda that supports and advances the economic and general welfare, workplace condi­tions and practice of RNs through collec­tive bargaining and shared decision-making.

2008 – 2011 hese were the forma­tive years for the NFN. Much time and effort was spent devel­oping policies and proce­dures, assisting each other in state organizing and defending against attacks from other unions — including the National Nurses United (NNU), working on a National Labor Agenda, and preparing to apply for a national charter with the AFL-CIO. It was also a period of great unrest in the New York State Nurses Associ­a­tion, which was under­going an internal raid. NYSNA ultimately was taken over by new radical leader­ship and disaf­fil­i­ated from both ANA and NFN in 2012.

2011 – 2013 né of the main objec­tives of NFN was to achieve a charter as a national union within the AFL-CIO. After our disaf­fil­i­a­tion from the UAN, it was neces­sary to wait three years to apply for a national Charter with the AFL-CIO. The NNU strongly objected to and opposed any direct affil­i­a­tion or national charter for the NFN within the AFL-CIO. During 2011 there were many meetings with attor­neys and the AFL-CIO to see if we could find a path back to direct affil­i­a­tion with the AFL-CIO. The disaf­fil­i­a­tion of NYSNA from the NFN in 2012 further weakened our ability to gain recog­ni­tion, with the loss of half of the NFN member­ship (approx­i­mately 35,000 RNs.)

Ultimately, the AFL-CIO made it clear that from their perspec­tive there would be no direct charter to NFN and the only options open to us were either a reaffil­i­a­tion with NNU or an affil­i­a­tion with another AFL-CIO national union.

As a result, in 2012, NFN appointed an NFN Member­ship Committee” to begin explo­ration of an NFN affil­i­a­tion with another national AFL-CIO labor union. After evalu­ating many different national unions, the member­ship committee narrowed the field to three possible national unions: AFT, AFSCME and OPEIU.

The NFN Board and the NLOs, after careful vetting and much delib­er­a­tion and discus­sion, selected AFT as the union of our choice and in 2012 an affil­i­a­tion agree­ment was negoti­ated. It was an exciting time and proved to be a truly great decision!

2013 – 2017 In February and March of 2013, NFN and its member NLOs success­fully negoti­ated and signed a 5‑year affil­i­a­tion agree­ment with AFT and, through the affil­i­a­tion, regained its member­ship in the AFL-CIO. The affil­i­a­tion with AFT became perma­nent in February 2017.

Dissolution and a vote for change #

Now that the AFT affil­i­a­tion is perma­nent and we have regained member­ship within the AFL-CIO, the question arose whether we needed to continue the NFN in its present form, dissolve or reorga­nize into a different structure.

Following a year of discus­sions, the NFN Execu­tive Board voted in Aug. 2017 to formally dissolve the NFN and begin a transi­tion to a more volun­tary, less formal­ized coali­tion struc­ture to meet as needed. The action of the Execu­tive Board was ratified by a vote of the elected labor leader­ship of each of the four remaining NFN states on Sept. 27, 2017.

Ratio­nale for a less formal­ized struc­ture and possible return to a coali­tion meeting format was supported because the NFN leaders believe there is still value in the NLOs that repre­sent primarily RNs and are a part of ANA in coming together for mutual support and collab­o­ra­tion on impor­tant nursing and labor issues, even as we partic­i­pate actively in the AFT. They also believe there is value in contin­uing to build on those relation­ships and that it can be done as a coali­tion as opposed to a separate organi­za­tion with a formal struc­ture. The coali­tion format may also open up possi­bil­i­ties for additional states to want to partic­i­pate in the coalition.

For the past few years, NFN operated with minimal staff and has been rebating back nearly all the NFN dues to the NLOs for their use. WSNA has used the rebate to offset the impact of the new AFT dues on our members. Addition­ally, NFN has provided additional support to the NLOs in the form of organizing and special assis­tance grants. Because the NFN dues have been paid out of the total WSNA dues collected from our members repre­sented for collec­tive bargaining, there will be no change to the current WSNA dues as a result of the recent struc­ture change.