March 16, 2013
Oregon Nurses Association Backs Historic Partnership with AFT
Delegates' Vote Completes Ratification of National Federation of Nurses Affiliation Agreement
WASHINGTON—The Oregon Nurses Association today approved a historic affiliation agreement with the AFT. The vote by the ONA's House of Delegates at its meeting in Portland completes a process that brings 34,000 registered nurses into the AFT.
"This is a historic day for nurses and their patients in Oregon and throughout the nation," said AFT President Randi Weingarten, who spoke to the House of Delegates today, prior to the vote. "Educators and nurses share a mutual respect, mutual priorities and a mutual desire to provide our members with the tools and conditions they need to do their jobs. They need the power and the voice to advocate for their patients, whether it's in Salem or on Capitol Hill."
The ONA's action comes after the board of the National Federation of Nurses and its three other state affiliates—in Washington state, Montana and Ohio—agreed to affiliate with the 1.5 million-member AFT, the largest professional union in the AFL-CIO. The NFN nurses join approximately 48,000 RNs who were already members of the AFT.
"This has been a transparent, robust and democratic process," said ONA President Steve Rooney. "We have been 100 percent committed to providing all of our members access to details, implications and ramifications of the affiliation process. The vote today sends a clear message; ONA's members are excited about our new partnership, and we know it will benefit nurses and the patients we serve."
Weingarten said the affiliations are timely and important because nurses are dealing with a rapidly changing healthcare industry and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
"Nurses who work on the frontlines of patient care need to have their voices heard," Weingarten said. "These affiliations by organizations that are respected leaders in their states represent a vote of confidence in the AFT as a union with a proven track record of standing up for professionals."
In welcoming the more than 10,400 ONA members into the AFT, Weingarten said, "We are absolutely delighted that our AFT family now includes the dedicated professionals of the Oregon Nurses Association. They share our commitment to quality services and high standards. We look forward to working together on our common goals."
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.