SAN FRANCISCO -

Gov. Jerry Brown is challenging his allies in the nation's largest nurses union to look beyond their own immediate concerns and help organize a movement to address global climate change.

The Democratic governor spoke Thursday to a packed room of nurses wearing red shirts at the National Nurses United conference in San Francisco. The union was a strong supporter of Brown in his 2010 gubernatorial race and helped him win a tax initiative last year.

Brown said the nurses should use their organizing might to tell the public that the survival of future generations is at risk.

He said focusing on climate change could also help the union remain relevant as labor union membership erodes each year.

The nurses were later joining a rally opposing the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.