Monday, March 07, 2005

arnold gets his ass beat by a bunch of girls

More or less.

For 10 years members of the California Nurses Association -- who are incredible and will stomp you into the dirt if you fuck with them -- lobbied for a nurse-to-patient staffing ratio in California hospitals, and in January of last year they won. For every six patients, one nurse. This was under our Totally-Recalled former Gov. Gray Davis. Then Schwartzenegger came in and used an executive order to implement emergency regulation, effectively preventing the ratio from being enforced, as well as guaranteeing that it would not drop to 5:1 in January 2005 as expected. It didn't help that Schwartzenegger publicly reffered to nurses as "special interests" while dismissing them. Oakland Children's Hospital Nurse Martha Kuhl told Newsweek: "I spent my day treating kids with cancer. I guess you could call that my special interest."

So the CNA sued, and for the last two months they have been targeting Schwartzenegger in force. Last Friday, Judge Judy Holzer Hersher issued an injunction against the emergency regulation, and told Arnold that instead of appealing he should just go sit in the back of the class and babble incoherently about steroids like an idiot. It's possible I was reading between the lines a little there.

Three significant things:

1) Patients and nurses are safer. More staff means less overworked nurses, better hospital security, safer medical procedures, etc. Incidentally, less overworked nurses means less turnover, so the sustainability of the job may begin to alleviate current nursing shortages.

2) This union knows how to put a militant legislative campaign together. There are all kinds of lessons here, including effective public targeting and an excellent message campaign.

3) Schwartzenegger is getting weaker. His efforts to subvert the legislature are now pissing off plenty of folks besides Sacramento lawmakers. Groups like the CNA are becoming a backbone in what will be a difficult effort to unseat this guy in November. Nurses, firefighters, teachers -- they can sway California pretty hard when they want to, especially when they coordinate a sophisticated media campaign.

I'm dying to see this guy eat it, so the topic of him eating it will likely come up again on the New Plastic Weblog.

Don't eff with the CNA.

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