[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hardknox:
Our vote today was 1,925 to disaffiliate and 413
By all means, copy and paste, but if you want the full story: [Q]
1,925 out of a membership of 20,000 is not exactly a majority. And the other side's perspective made for very interesting reading too....
"Federal Court Upholds Massachusetts Nurses' Right to Vote to Disaffiliate from ANA Is NON-BINDING
Court calls Disaffiliation Vote Non-binding
Washington, DC -- During a contentious meeting in Worcester, Mass., today, less than 10 percent of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) voted to disaffiliate from the American Nurses Association. The vote was non-binding. Judge George A. O'Toole of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued an injunction on March 23 to prohibit MNA from conducting a binding vote at its scheduled meeting today - or any other
meeting - that could result in MNA disaffiliating from the ANA.
The judge issued the injunction because the planned vote would deny the equal right to vote to MNA members who, for legitimate reasons, were unable to attend the meeting. The lawsuit was brought by three MNA members - Joanne Garvey, Devorah Baronsky and Patricia Tyra - who sought to protect every MNA members' right to vote. The Anti-Defamation League also weighed in, opposing the Saturday meeting because observant Jews would not be able to
participate. The Court ruling directs the MNA to submit a plan to ensure that its members' equal right to vote is guaranteed and mandated that the plan be approved by the Court before it may be implemented. Judge O'Toole said that MNA had to have known that its decision to conduct the vote at its meeting would disenfranchise thousands of members and that this decision was probably "intentional." "This ruling is a victory for all nurses in
Massachusetts because it says we all have the equal right to have our voices heard on this matter," said Peggy Barry, chair of the Committee to Preserve ANA Affiliation in Massachusetts.
Today's vote was the third on MNA disaffiliation in less than five months. During two votes held at a Nov. 9 meeting, MNA members voted to remain affiliated with the ANA. During today's meeting at Mechanics Hall, MNA disaffiliation leaders sought to limit pro-affiliation supporters' communications with other members present. Specifically, while MNA leaders placed leaflets on every chair detailing their interpretation of the judge's injunction, they
confiscated and destroyed flyers distributed by pro-affiliation MNA members, according to Annie Lewis O'Connor, an advanced practice registered nurse and MNA bargaining unit member. "Today, we witnessed an unfortunate violation of basic free speech rights," said Lewis O'Connor. "The ends of the disaffiliation proponents do not justify the means. What these people sought to do today and in the past several months was to stomp on an important aspect of
democracy - first amendment free speech rights of their own members."
MNA member Barbara Blakeney also reported that members of other unions - the California Nurses Association (CNA) in particular - were wearing MNA staff badges and controlling access to the meeting area. "The fact that CNA members were on hand to support the disaffiliation efforts today just illustrates the hypocrisy of the disaffiliation faction," said Karen Daley immediate past president of MNA. "First, they said this was an internal matter and
prohibited pro-ANA supporters from our sister states as well as ANA leaders from attending and then invited pro-disaffiliation supporters from other unions to participate." Daley further explained that MNA disaffiliation leaders have spent months criticizing United American Nurses, the labor arm of the ANA, for exploring an affiliation with the national federation of unions, AFL-CIO. "Meanwhile, the group these MNA leaders want to follow - the
California Nurses Association - recently formed what they themselves called a 'landmark alliance' with the United Steelworkers of America."
The disaffiliation vote comes at a time when nurses and quality care are under siege. "Among the issues facing nurses are short staffing and mandatory overtime," noted ANA President Mary Foley. "Both practices put profits ahead of patients and create a dangerous environment for patients and nurses. We're very proud of our state nurses associations for attacking mandatory overtime through aggressive state legislation and contract language. Our UAN
states are bargaining for and achieving contract language that prohibits mandatory overtime and protects patients. In addition, the ANA and its state members are coordinating a landmark federal-state legislative agenda to address short staffing and mandatory overtime and the nursing shortage." "Disaffiliation, I believe, will only hinder the ability of our profession to confront, in the most effective and credible manner possible, the many critical
issues that threaten our future, both here in Massachusetts and across the country," said Daley. "All nurses share that common agenda and we should be working together to reach solutions. It's a sad day for nurses when we fight among ourselves instead of bonding together to secure needed protections for ourselves and our patients." "We need to remain united and join with a strong, viable, national group," said Lewis O'Connor, "ANA is that group now
as it has always been - we need to preserve our influence and move forward." Foley agreed. "I am hopeful that we will unite in the end," said Foley, "and that the nursing profession will succeed in changing health care and preserving the special relationship we have with our patients."