SILVER SPRING, MD –Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that has significant implications for registered nurses and others, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The following statement is attributable to American Nurses Association (ANA) President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN:
“The American Nurses Association has long supported the right of registered nurses and others to join together and have a voice in their work environments. ANA has a strong track record of advocating for nurses and protecting nurses’ legal right to organize and bargain collectively.
Furthermore, the importance of collective action is underscored in The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. The Code establishes the ethical standard for the profession and provides a guide for nurses to use in analysis and decision-making.
This fundamental right of nurses, policemen, firefighters, teachers and other public servants is being challenged in the case (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) being heard today by the Supreme Court. If the court rules with Friedrichs, a nearly 40-year precedent will be overturned. The stakes for both RNs and the patients they care for are high. The right to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits, and for safe working conditions that protect both RNs and patients is at risk. A win for Friedrichs would harm middle-class working families and create an environment where public safety advances secured through the collective action of those on the frontlines could be rolled back. Nurses, the most trusted professionals, and other public servants and their families may see their economic security undermined, such as in states that have recently restricted collective bargaining. Improvements in nurses’ working conditions advanced through collective bargaining over the past 40 years could be lost. Unfortunately, some wealthy special interests are using this legal action to try to attack the rights of middle-class Americans who are dedicated to serving their communities. That is why the American Nurses Association stands with those who call upon the U.S. Supreme Court to reject this attempt to erode the hard won rights and progress of working Americans.”
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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.