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Member Spotlight: Kerri Wilson (NNU)

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Member Spotlight is a recurring blog post series intended to highlight and connect the dots between the programs and priorities of the NC State AFL-CIO and the leaders and activist members of our affiliates who make it all possible.

My name is Kerri Wilson, and I’m part of National Nurses United (NNU). I've been a nurse for 11 years, working at Mission Hospital in Asheville for the past 8 years. For most of my life, I really didn’t know that unions were a thing, but after our hospital was bought by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), we had a family member of a nurse reach out to NNU to ask about forming a union to help improve our working conditions. I still remember going to my first union meeting and feeling so empowered! It was wonderful hearing my fellow nurses speak about wanting to make change for the better, and that first meeting was when I realized that we needed to have a union and I needed to be a part of it.

Being with National Nurses United is so important because it gives our nurses a voice on the job. Different programs with the hospital supposedly could help one bring their issues to leadership, but when we tried to go through those avenues, nothing ever really changed. The union has allowed us to take our concerns all the way to the top and win big things for our nurses and patient care. That’s truly the reason we do all this – to work safely and take care of our patients. The union builds solidarity throughout the hospital and lets us speak out publicly against what’s happening in our hospital, without fear of repercussions.

I want everyone in nursing to know that if you want to really help your patients, if you want to protect our healthcare system for the future, you need to look at unionizing. The union is the most effective way that we’ve found to speak out and to actually make changes at our hospital. In particular, I would encourage everyone to reach out to National Nurses United. We’re 225,000 members strong in the U.S., and our primary goal is safe patient care. We want to keep our nurses at the bedside where they can take care of patients, and I don’t think there's a nurse anywhere who wouldn’t want that. Unions are a powerful organizing force, even in the South, you just have to reach out and make it happen!