In Just a union , Dr.Silver presents CNA leaders and staff the opportunity to tell their own story about the years leading up to, and the years after the great staff nurse rebellion in California in 1993. In 1995, the CNA s new leadership disaffiliated themselves from the American Nurses Association, which has historically billed itself as THE voice of nursing.
In just 4 years, they managed to accomplish what no other nursing group or organization had managed to accomplish even up to now- a mandated nurse-patient ratio law. It was an epic battle, and the details of that battle provide nursing organizations, and perhaps even other organizations and political groups, a road map for achieving political success. This battle pitted a group of very determined union bedside practicing nurses against some of the strongest lobbying groups in healthcare, including groups within nursing itself.
Over the course of this struggle, the staff nurses took on the California Hospital Association, the American Hospital Asssociation, the American Nurses Association, the Association of Nurse Executives, and finally, the very popular (at the time) and charismatic new governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The political tactics used, and the legal battles which this organization had to confront were daunting, and resources were scarce in the beginning. All of these struggles are documented in just a union . Dr. Silver has taken this information which CNA has provided and examined a model of political empowerment to test the model.
In the world of political empowerment, there are no good guys and bad guys . There is only the ability to get your legislation passed, and there is no doubt that in regards to political empowerment, the CNA is the most successful group in nursing.