Nurses to protest at landmark Supreme Court case

Nurses will gather on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Monday morning to protest non-compulsory union fees, which National Nurses United argues could be potentially detrimental to the healthcare industry.

On Monday, the court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a potentially landmark lawsuit brought by 10 California public school teachers that could put an end to forced union dues in the public sector.

National Nurses United warned the case poses a "significant threat to public health, safety and quality of life," according to a press release.

The case involves a challenge to the right of public unions to require employees who receive representation benefits — such as higher wages, safer working conditions and better benefits — to pay their fair share of representation costs. If the government rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the financial strength and political clout of government employee unions could be greatly diminished, according to The Beacon.

"As nurses our ability to have a collective voice for our patients is critical," said Martese Chism, a Chicago-based RN and member of National Nurses United. "Without the support of our union, nurses have little protection to speak out and challenge unsafe staffing or other eroding patient care conditions that happen all too often in our hospitals."

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