American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
AFT Healthcare was created in 1978 when the AFT’s constitution was amended to allow organizing of helathcare workers. The division represents more that 112,000 workers, including 84,000 registered nurses that create the second-largest nurse union in the AFL-CIO. The 84,000 nurses included the National Federation of Nurses from Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Ohio.
AFT Healthcare has a strong commitment to organizing new members and MNA is excited to be developing a strategic organizing plan in Montana, for Montana nurses with AFT. Each year, AFT hose a national professional issues conference where members learn about and discuss issues that affect healthcare workers thourghout the country. In addition, they hold special conferences for new leaders, for local presidents and activists. AFT Healthcare is one of only a few AFL-CIO unions accredited as a provider for continuing education in nursing by the ANCC’s Commission on Accreditation.
Recently, your labor staff attended training with AFT to learn up-to-date techinques for wage costing analysis, financial research on our facilites, and the Powering Up organizing model. AFT’s expertise will be invaluable to the labor staff.
AFT Healthcare Key Issues
Every Child Needs a School Nurse
- While everyone recognizes schools as education centers and sites for extracurricular activities, there is far less awareness that the vast majority of schools are also healthcare settings. Almost one-third (30%) of children have chronic health issues including diabetes, asthma and hypertension. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of school-aged children are obese or overweight; 13% require prescription medication use lasting three months; and slightly fewer than 10% have asthma. The breadth of the health issues and needs of children in our schools can be mind-boggling. Read more.
- No single issue is more critical to the outcome of patients than the number and mix of direct care staff providing hands-on care. While providing sufficient staff has been endlessly debated as too expensive and too difficult to calculate, research is now available that shows us minimum safe staffing levels studied for half a decade in California do have a significant effect on patient outcomes and staff satisfaction, two variables directly linked to the cost of care. Read more.
Healthcare Workforce Shortages
- For a range of reasons including: insufficient capacity for students; higher-paying job alternatives in other professions; and stressful and risky occupational choices, there are fewer and fewer replacements for today’s healthcare workforce in the pipeline. The result is an aging and overburdened workforce caring for an aging and more critically ill patient population. Read more.
- The research has been very clear about the implications of working long hours and insufficient rest between shifts worked. Studies have shown that night shift workers, in particular, have a high incidence of fatigue secondary to sleep deprivation, a phenomenon associated with diminished critical thinking skills and increased errors in medication administration. Read more.
Healthcare Quality and Accreditation
- With each passing year, increasing scrutiny is being imposed on the range of healthcare facilities to determine the quality of care they provide. While this information is not readily available to most healthcare workers, insurers have the ability to leverage the data as a means of determining accreditation, and subsequently reimbursement. Read more.
Safe Patient Handling
- An aging patient populations, and a similarly aging healthcare workforce, combine to form a potential for injury as a result of various scenarios including patient falls and provider strains. That problem is exaggerated by an increasingly obese society that has made bariatric lifts, extra-large wheelchairs and specially sized beds a necessity to meet the care needs of today’s patient population. Read more.
- In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared that a global pandemic of H1N1 was under way, after more than 70 countries reported cases of the virus. Schools and healthcare facilities are the primary locations for prevention programs aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. This website includes information on pandemic flu planning and essential components of a comprehensive Influence Prevention Program. Read more.
Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Working in healthcare can be hard on your health. Nurses and other health professionals have higher rates of back injury and lower-back pain than construction workers. Needlesticks, bloodborne pathogens, viruses, asthma resulting from bad air quality, violence and stress are also among the most common occupational hazards. AFT Health and Safety provides information and resources to help leaders and members identify hazards and work toward preventing exposure and improving the environment. Read more.
Fight for America’s Future
- Fight for America’s Future is an AFT campaign that brings all the union’s divisions together in advocating for policies to preserve and create good jobs and protect the vital public services that AFT’s members provide. Read more.
Green Jobs in the Green Economy
- The AFT has joined the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental groups with big plans to make the nation more prosperous and leave the planet in better shape. With the addition of the AFT’s 1.5 million members this July, the alliance now unites 8 million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. Read more.
For more information on AFT Healthcare, please visit www.aft.org/healthcare/