National Nurses United (NNU) drew thousands to a rally in downtown Chicago on Friday to protest the weekend's NATO summit and advocate for a new tax on financial transactions.
NNU—the country’s largest nurses union–paid for 900 nurses across the country to travel to the event. Local community organizers joined union President RoseAnn Demoro to speak onstage, and the rally concluded with a performance by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and noted union supporter Tom Morello.
Many nurses in attendance sported green felt hats with a feather to promote awareness of the “Robin Hood” tax, a proposed 0.5% fee on Wall Street stock trades and credit swaps. If implemented, the tax could generate up to $350 billion per year to offset cuts in social services, education, and health care.
NNU originally planned the demonstration to coincide with the G-8 economic summit, but federal officials ultimately moved the conference from Chicago to Maryland's Camp David. An NNU official said the nurses decided to move forward with the rally in the hope of publicizing their message worldwide.
According to DeMoro, the NATO summit provided an ideal forum for the union since many nurses are not pro-war and have frustrations about current economic trends (Keyser, AP/Washington Post, 5/18; Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 5/18 [subscription required]).