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National Nurses United

8630 Fenton St,
Silver Spring, MD 20910




185,000 members

Active in all 50 states










The officers of National Nurses United (NNU) consist of three members of the Council of Presidents. The three presidents are the chosen representative leaders of each of the three major sections of the NNU: United American Nurses (UAN), California Nurses Association, National Nurse Organizing Committee (CNA-NNOC)), and the Massachusetts Nurses. The NNU additionally consists of a Secretary Treasurer and eleven Vice-Presidents. The eleven Vice-Presidents are designated as follows: six from the CAN, two from Minnesota Nurses Association, one from Michigan Nurses Association, and one elected by delegates from UAN Affiliates.

The Presidents’ duties include:

  1. Constituting the NNU council of president and serving as the principal Elected Officers of NNU.
  2. Ensuring that the affairs and functions of NNU are carried out in accordance with NNU policy.
  3. Consulting with and being assisted by the Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Presidents in furthering the objectives and policies of NNU.
  4. Serving as Chairpersons of all regular and special conventions and executive council meetings.
  5. Calling regular meetings of the Convention and the Executive Council as provided in the Constitution.
  6. Being the official spokespersons for NNU in external relations and authorizing other representatives of the NNU in their place.
  7. Making appointments to such non-elected committees as may be necessary for the proper conduct of NNU business, and serving as an ex-officio member(s) of all committees except the election committee.
  8. Reporting and being accountable to the Executive Council and the Convention
  9. Performing such other duties as set forth in the constitution and NNU policies.

The Secretary-Treasurer’s duties include:

  1. Maintaining general records and correspondence of NNU, including NNU membership records, minutes of Executive Council meetings and proceedings of the Convention.
  2. Overseeing the financial administration of NNU and related financial matters.
  3. Submission of quarterly financial reports and the annual audited report to the members through the Affiliates.
  4. Acting as a chairperson of and together with a financial committee consisting of two additional members of the Executive Council. The financial committee is responsible for preparing the budget and presenting it to the Executive Council for review and approval prior to implementation.
  5. Presentation of the financial report to the Convention.
  6. Reporting and being accountable to the Executive Council and the Convention, and performing such other duties as are assigned by the Presidents and Executive Council.

The Vice-Presidents’ duties include:

  1. Assisting the Presidents by performing such duties and functions as may be assigned by them.
  2. Reporting and being accountable to the Executive Council and the Convention.

Executive Council:

The Executive Council has authority over NNU’s general direction and business affairs. The Executive Council is comprised of the following members: the three Presidents, one Secretary-Treasurer, and eleven Vice-presidents. The Executive Council’s duties include:

  1. Establishing and carrying out policy as necessary to further the objectives of NNU.
  2. Interpreting the Constitution and NNU policy.
  3. Appointing members of the Hearing Panel.
  4. Calling the Executive Council and Convention into special session.
  5. Approving collective bargaining agreements where NNU is the collective bargaining agent, subject to membership ratification.
  6. Approving and monitoring the annual budget and exercising all fiduciary duties consistent with applicable labor law.
  7. Monitoring the strategic goals for NNU that have been established by the Convention.
  8. Resolving jurisdictional disputes between and among Affiliates
  9. Establishing National Bargaining Councils.
  10. Establishing the terms and conditions of employment for and evaluating the Executive Director.
  11. Performing such other duties as set forth in the Constitution and National Nurses United policies.

The Executive Council meets at least four times a year, at a place and time determined by the Executive Council. NNU members may attend meetings. Others wishing to go to the meetings must request permission from the Executive Council.


The Convention is comprised of delegates who are elected by their local affiliates. The Convention is the highest governing body of the NNU. Decisions made at the convention are the final governing decisions of the NNU. Delegates are elected for a two-year term by a blind vote from their local affiliate. The Constitution may be amended, added to, or any part or parts may be repealed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Convention. The Convention’s jurisdiction and duties include:

  1. Establishing NNU policy.
  2. Interpreting and amending the constitution.
  3. Electing officers.
  4. Establishing strategic goals for NNU.
  5. Establishing dues and levying special assessments.
  6. Performing all other duties and responsibilities set forth in the constitution and NNU policies.





Key Officers

nnu_roseanndemoroRoseAnn DeMoro, CNA, Executive Director

RoseAnn DeMoro is the Executive Director of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.  While pursuing a sociology doctorate at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she decided to shift careers and joined the Teamsters as a labor organizer.

In 1986, she joined the California Nurses Association and helped the organization grow into one of the most powerful unions in the country, eventually combining in 2009 with other major nurse associations to form National Nurses United. As a strong progressive leader, she has led the union through many expansions and mergers. In 2007, Demoro joined the AFL-CIO executive council as a national vice president.

In response to America’s economic crisis, DeMoro led the nurses to support the Main Street Campaign and Robin Hood Tax — a tax on trade in stocks and other financial transactions that they estimate could raise up to $350 billion each year. They lead the effort to pass the Robin Hood Tax in the U.S., and are a major leader in efforts to pass the tax worldwide. DeMoro has also linked this work to climate change, another arena in which she is a well-known leader.

nnu_karenhigginsKaren Higgins, MNA, Co-President

Karen Higgins is a staff nurse at Boston Medical Center and a past president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. She has been actively involved with the MNA for nearly twenty years and has been a key player in all of its important advocacy and legislative initiatives—from safe staffing to single-payer healthcare.

Karen has also served as the MNA Board’s secretary and on its Cabinet for Labor Relations as both chair and vice chair. In addition, she was the co-chair of the MNA’s Statewide Campaign for Safe Care, the chairperson of the MNA’s Nursing Shortage Task Force, and a founding member of the Task Force on Workplace Violence.

nnu_jeanrossJean Ross, UAN, Co-President

Jean works at Fairview Hospital in Edina, Minn. and is Secretary-Treasurer of the United American Nurses Executive Council. She now serves as one of three co-presidents of National Nurses United.



nnu_marthakuhlDeborah Burger, CAN, NNOC, Co-President

Deborah Burger is a Registered Nurse and President of the California Nurses Association (CNA). Over the past year, Burger has led the CNA through a wide-ranging confrontation with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over his attack on patient safety laws, his unpopular special election, and his record-setting corporate fundraising. Burger has been nursing for over thirty years, in almost every hospital unit, and currently specializes in diabetes care management in Santa Rosa, California.

Secretary-Treasurer: Martha Kuhl

Green Contacts


Michael Lighty



Sustainability Profile


National Nurses United is a “big picture” union. The Nurses are strong activists who have demonstrated their ability to connect issues. The main theme of the union is to heal America by addressing its discriminatory economic system. The NNU ties global warming to health and draws lines between labor, the economy, and the environmental movement.

The Nurses most popular campaign to date, the Robin Hood Tax, summarizes their solution for finding government funding for a transition to a green economy and happier planet.  According to one of their brochures, “The Robin Hood Tax can fund the transition to a non-fossil-fuel based economy. Wall Street reaps billions from oil companies, it’s time for them to pay us back — to address the effects of climate change and support a sustainable economy. Green manufacturing, clean energy and mass transit, funded by a tax on Wall Street transactions, would make the development of the Tar Sands and the Keystone XL pipeline unnecessary.”

The National Nurses Union has been a member of Americans Against Fracking since the coalition’s 2012 inception. This coalition of over 100 groups supports federal state and local efforts to ban fracking and to stop practices that facilitate fracking like natural gas exports, frac sand mining and pipeline construction. “We know that drilling and fracking for oil and gas comes with inherent risks to public health and must be banned to safeguard public health, especially that of children, who are most vulnerable,” said Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United.

Since then, the NNU has sponsored a radio show on NURSE TALK with the president of Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, Patricia Eakin, to discuss the effects of fracking on environmental and human health.

Most recently, the NNU came out against the Keystone Pipeline.  The following is excerpted from their press release.

Citing serious adverse health concerns, National Nurses United announced that it is joining with environmentalists, unions and other organizations from across the country to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline – the 1,700 mile of tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas.  “Nurses care for patients every day who struggle with health crises aggravated by environmental pollution in its many forms,” said NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN. “As a society we need to reduce the effects of environmental factors, including climate change, that are making people sick, and endangering the future for our children. That’s why we oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.”

NNU is particularly concerned about the impact of climate change in hastening the spread of infectious disease, waterborne and food borne pathogens, and air pollution which already lead to significant health problems across the U.S.

“Our leaders should be focused on finding safe, sustainable energy that would also help stem the increase in environmental pollution and climate change,” said Burger. “The health of our world depends on it.”

Consequently, NNU is also listed as a partner organization for the 2013 “Forward on Climate” rallies in Washington DC, LA, and San Francisco.  The stated goal of the rallies is to “move President Obama to take immediate action on climate. One of the most important decisions he can make is to reject the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Another is to tell the EPA to set carbon standards for power plants. This rally will show the president how large the climate movement has grown, and how urgent this issue truly is.”

Green Employment Prospects


Climate Change is already affecting the nursing industry. Natural disasters flood medical centers with patients and draw nurses in to volunteer in the aftermath of devastation. The nurses themselves have also cited the uptick in patients as a result of various forms of pollution.

Further Comments or Analysis


NNU is a great ally. For a union that has only been around since 2009, they are steadily growing.

According to Thom Hartmann of Truth-Out, “as people who understand first-hand the health effects of a hotter, more polluted planet, National Nurses United is in a unique position to highlight health concerns related to the pipeline.”


Copyright © Labor for Sustainability