Nurses take EFCA fight to DiFi’s doorstep

1,200 registered nurses paying you a house call? Now that’s some serious health care!

The nurses – gathered in San Francisco for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee national convention – will be making a “house call” to the home of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein at 1 p.m. today to demand she become a cosponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. Their news release says they’ll leave a rose with a personalized note telling their stories of being intimidated and harassed by management in their efforts to win recognition for their union—and the toll that such union-busting can take on patient care.

“In the past, Senator Feinstein has said she supported the bill, but appears to be wavering. 1,200 RNs are making this house call to let her know that employers are trying to silence us when we advocate in facilities, and that patients end up paying the price for this union-busting. Employers are breaking the law in their harassment of nurses, and we deserve a free choice and a fair chance to speak up for ourselves,” CAN/NNOC co-president Deborah Burger said in the release. “Studies have shown that unionized nurses save lives, reduce turnover, and increase caregiver morale in facilities. That would be good for any hospital—and every patient.”

I’ve sought but not received a comment from Feinstein, who is in Washington today for President Barack Obama’s address on health care reform to a joint session of Congress. I’m sure Feinstein’s neighbors in the exclusive Gold Coast/Pacific Heights neighborhood will be thrilled to see 1,200 angry nurses on their doorstep. After they’re done there, the nurses will head downtown for a 2 p.m. rally outside Feinstein’s office at Post and Market streets.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.


  1. The Employee Free Choice Act is more properly known as the Sign This Card Or I’ll Bust Your Head Act.

  2. Repeat after me, children:
    unions bad, but insurance industry good.


  3. DiFi has never been truly on board with card check. I wasn’t aware that the nurses union was lacking in clout and in need of assistance. Actually, having been on the management end of aggressive methods for stalling union organizing efforts, I favor changing the rules to provide for speedier elections and stronger enforcement of “fair play” rules. But, no way on card check. Good for George McGovern for opposing that. Whatever happens, right or wrong, the trend toward private sector union extinction (9% and shrinking) is inexorable.

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