Comparative Labor Movements of the Americas
Oral History Essay & Analysis
New York State Nurses’ Association (NYSNA)
Professor Nicole Burrows
In the late 1800s, oral history was the only way to pass stories down in order to preserve cultures and traditions. According to Encarta Word Dictionary, oral history is a written work of history based on interviews with or recordings of participants. It is one of the most traditional ways of retelling and learning history. For my oral history project, I interviewed a delegate from the New York State Nurses’ Association (NYSNA) union. Throughout this paper I will show the advantages of having or being part of an effective union. Unionization is recognized mostly as representation for workers in many industries. It is the coming together of workers to pursue policies and goals that is beneficial to all. The most prominent unions can be found in the public sector such as teachers, police officers and nurses. Today most unions are aligned with two organizations, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) and the Change to Win Federation. Both organizations advocate policies favorable for workers in the United States and Canada. Public sector unions are governed by labor laws and the labor board in each state (US Dept. of Labor). In the private sector, unions are regulated by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was passed in 1935. The NLRA protect the right of workers to organize unions. It protects the right of workers to engage in any "concerted activity" for mutual aid or protection (Mills). The NLRA is overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. The New York State Nurses Association is the largest union for registered nurses (RN) in the Northeast. They currently have more than 34,000 members. NYSNA is a strong union for RNs. They fight to protect nurses' rights, a safe well-staffed working environment, fair wages and benefits, and to...
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