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In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery In The New World, the historian David Brion Davis contends that ownership is not necessary for enslavement.

What is, he posits, is debt, or the vassal’s “perpetual condition of dishonor,” which provides the “master class with a resource for parasitic and psychological exploitation,” imposing on the slave a type of “social death.” Davis quotes the Greek 6th-century reformer Solon, who explained his decision to abolish slavery: “All the common people,” Solon said, “are in debt to the rich.”  

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With the White House and some of the biggest multinational corporations lobbying Congress to “fast track" the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries, National Nurses United today converged on the nation’s capital to explain that what’s good for investors’ balance sheets is not necessarily good for patients.

“Nurses are patient advocates—and by extension advocates of our patients’ families and our communities—and we are here to sound a Code Blue on fast track,” said RN Deborah Burger, a member of the NNU’s Council of Presidents. “While there are many good reasons to reject fast track, the nation’s registered nurses are particularly concerned about these trade agreements’ threats to public health and safety.”

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Nurses marched through downtown Oakland, Ca to the Federal Building on the Day of Action for Ebola Safety
Nurses are celebrating California's recent announcement of precedent-setting Ebola patient care guidelines that call for strong healthcare worker protections and provide a model for federal and state action for all U.S. hospitals. The new guidelines came in the wake of the Nov. 12 worldwide Day of Action for Ebola Safety by 100,000 registered nurses (see more on the Day of Action below).

The new California standards, an elaboration of existing Cal/OSHA regulations on Aerosol Transmissible Disease and other existing regulations, go well beyond the faulty procedures and protective gear employed by hospitals across the U.S., and surpass the Center For Disease Control's recommendations which, in addition to being inadequate, carry no enforcement power.

By contrast, California regulations are mandatory and hospitals that fail to comply will face civil penalties. The regulations stipulate requirements for the optimal level of personal protective equipment (PPE) and rigorous training and drills. They break new ground in identifying modes of possible transmission of the virus and clarifying when safety precautions must be engaged for nurses and other front line health workers who encounter patients with the deadly Ebola virus.

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Two U.S. nurses are now infected with Ebola. Another brave nurse has come forward to speak out about what happened when Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at Texas Presbyterian Hospital outside of Dallas

Will you stand with nurses and tell President Obama and Congress – not one more nurse? Please add your voice! Link to petition

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Turn on the water. Make Wall Street pay.

Thousands of registered nurses, community, labor, environmental and community activists marched in Detroit today in a resounding protests against the shutoff of water to tens of thousands of city residents – an action the marchers called a wanton violation of human rights that creates a public health emergency.

RNs lead the march demanding the Detroit Water and Sewage Dept. turn the water back on for its residents.
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Noticed how little in the healthcare debate we hear one word that should be at its center – care?

Nurses have noticed, and are alarmed at worrisome changes now putting patients at risk.

A new video from National Nurses United starring the decidedly non-personal “FRANK” is a humorous or not so humorous glimpse into one of the most troubling mutations.

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From Maine to California, nurses, students, HIV/AIDS and community activists, took to the streets today calling on Congress to fulfill the quest of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for economic justice by enacting a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund efforts to reverse inequality.

 "The Inclusive Prosperity Act would make Dr. King proud," said Rep. Keith Ellison at a kick off press conference in Washington against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol.

HR 1579 author Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rev. Rodney Sadler, a leader of the No. Carolina Moral Monday movement, and Bill Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists who was with Dr. King in Memphis in April, 1968, joined with National Nurses United at a press conference outside the U. S. Capitol to urge passage of a Robin Hood Tax. Washington DC April 4, 2014  Â© Rick Reinhard 2014   email  rick@rickreinhard.com
National Nurses United Vice President Sandy Falwell, RN
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Registered nurses from coast to coast are stepping up the challenge to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline with a demand that Secretary of State John Kerry provide proof that Keystone will not harm the health and safety of Americans prior to any final decision on the project.

In addition, National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of RNs, is circulating an online petition to Kerry that will be presented to the State Department demanding the guarantee, and has released a new short video from nurses titled, “Don’t Pipeline My Patients.”

To add your voice, sign the petition here.

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More than 200 Kaiser Permanente RNs rallied outside the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center Thursday afternoon to sound a public alarm about patient care reductions the HMO giant is proposing for its new Oakland facility which is expected to open this summer.

Waving signs reading, “Kaiser executives: Our patients should thrive not be deprived,” the RNs said their daily experience shows a stark contrast with the HMO giant’s multi-million dollar “thrive” ad campaign. They described substantial problems with short staffing and cuts that come at a time when Kaiser is making record profits and adding 95,000 new enrollees through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

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Here's a commentary by National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro

With the clock ticking down on a final decision by the Obama administration on Keystone XL, it’s time to update why the nation’s largest nurses organization is opposed to a project that looks more like a pathway to pollution than a gateway to our gas pumps.

Citing the threat to public health and how the project would hasten the climate crisis, nurses have been on the front line of protests against Keystone, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, largely for export.

Here’s a top 10 of reasons why National Nurses United opposes Keystone and a critique of some of the main arguments for it:

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Nurses visit children in a tent city near pop-up health clinics in Iloilo, Panay, the Philippines.

Nurses visit children in a tent city near pop-up health clinics in Iloilo, Panay, the Philippines.

Nurses deliver care as part of RN Response Networks mission to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
We are traveling on a narrow road from one barangay, or Philippine village, to the next. Along our way, we see palm trees bent in the middle, bowing their tattered heads toward our caravan, evidence of the storm. The smell of burning debris is everywhere as people burn the remnants of their lives, intact before the arrival of Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

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Momentum is growing, finally, for a crackdown on the disgraceful practice of price gouging in the healthcare industry – and the devastating effect it has on so many American patients and families.

Major national news coverage by, among others, the New York Times, Time magazine, and ABC news have focused an unflattering spotlight on hospitals, drug companies, insurers, medical device manufacturers, doctors, nursing homes, medical labs, and other sectors.

Hospitals, where patients are at their most vulnerable, have drawn probably the most scrutiny.

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