NEW YORK NURSE: May 2009
“Nurses can influence healthcare policy and play a decisive role in healthcare reform,” said renowned labor leader and activist Robert Muehlenkamp in his address to the NYSNA Congress of Bargaining Units. “We’re having this debate for the first time since 1993, when the debate fell apart because of the ideology that has dominated our economy over the last three decades,” he said.
Muehlenkamp described how unionization proved to be a very effective anti-poverty program during the first half of the 20th century. But since the mid-1970s, employers, advocating a corporate agenda, have taken power away from workers, which has led to outsourcing jobs, lower wage increases, and abandonment of their obligation to provide health care and retirement security. He said labor activists must change the direction of the nation by using their collective power to call on the administration and Congress to quickly take actions that will address deteriorating economic conditions.