Nurses Associations Disaffiliate from United American Nurses

  1. * New York State Nurses Association disaffiliates from the United American Nurses

    * The Ohio Nurses Association disaffiliates from the United American Nurses

    * Oregon Nurses Association Ends Affiliation with the United American Nurses
  2. Visit pickledpepperRN profile page

    About pickledpepperRN

    Joined: Mar '99; Posts: 13,361; Likes: 1,376


  3. by   kukukajoo
    Whats the story behind the defections? The NYSNA and Ohio NA statements are identical.....
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    I don't know.
    Does anyone know why?
  5. by   caliotter3
    I'm kind of curious about this too. Usually when more than one defection occurs, there is an identifiable reason. Has anybody read anything about this that they care to share?
  6. by   Julia RN
    Add Washington to the list of defectors. These states all have strong ties with ANA and wanted a more "ANA"/staff run vs Union/staff nurse run model. The leadership of these four states couldn't get what they wanted democratically. The majority of the delegates elected to the UAN by union members did not support their views. So they took their marbles and went home.
    NY is kind of the odd ball in this alliance. They might have a different agenda.
    Funny how the Ohio and NY announcements are identical. Very vague- like no one is really willing to take responsibility for the decision.

    Here's an interesting take:
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 25, '07
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    info re split...and historical info goverment regs + union collective barganing

    four state nurses associations quit afl-cio union
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you Karen.
    I actually posted news articles about this without understanding why they split.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    sessions for members of nysna collective bargaining units took center stage on "labor day," the first day of convention.

    [color=#0000cc]nysna nurses for unity --website is down; google catch shows

    q) i was told that nysna should disaffiliate from the uan because uan had been having discussions with the 85,000 nurses represented by seiu about working together. is that what this is about?

    not any more-the issue of negotiations with seiu is moot at this point, as talks have stopped in order to promote unity within the uan and nysna. in any case, conversations with seiu were preliminary in nature and had been sanctioned by the highest governing body of the uan, the national labor assembly (nla). it is important to note that, according to the uan constitution, any proposal regarding any affiliation discussions must be debated, and voted up or down by our national labor assembly (which meets in march, 2008), the democratic process that protects the voices of nurses. ny is a large and powerful delegation in this body. what is the purpose of nysna conducting this vote seven months ahead-and when the issue itself may not even be presented?
    questions & answers
    q: i received my ballot right before labor day and it says i have less than two weeks to decide how to vote. this is a crazy time of year for me and my family with summer ending and the kids going back to school. what's the rush?

    a: there is no reason to require us to decide such an important issue under this kind of time pressure. it's unfair and disrespectful to be rushed like this. a decision of this magnitude should only be made after members have received impartial information and have had the time to research the matter and get answers to our questions. we should always be suspicious when people push us to make serious decisions practically overnight, without adequate preparation or discussion.

    q: who is paying for the expense of conducting this vote?
    a: our dues are paying for this vote: the online voting, the "info" packets sent to some of us, the mail ballots sent to every nurse, and the time our reps are spending on this campaign-all of it is being paid for with our dues money.

    q: so, let's assume that the majority of the members vote in favor of disaffiliating, then what?
    a: if the nysna leaders promoting this vote have a plan, they haven't shared it with the members. if we choose to break away from our national union and go it alone, we will reverse a decade of union-building and hard won gains by nurses. our bargaining units can be raided by other unions, we lose the financial support we've gotten from uan to assist us during strikes, our organizing program will be harmed from lack of funding, and we will lose access to the uan's renowned professional training programs and the opportunity to network with nurses across the country. what's worse is that we will lose our ability to reshape national healthcare policy. as strong as nysna is here in new york, we can't solve the staffing crisis or fix our broken healthcare system without a national voice. (i highlighted text. karen)


    long term readers of this forum will note how difficult it is to come to a concensus on any topic at allnuses, yet alone speak with a "national voice" on nursing issues.

    if we don't dialogue amongst ourselves, consider various voices, open ourselves to new possibilities while learning from our historical roots, become involved and take ownership of the nursing profession, someone else with resources and power will ---and one will most likely not like the results.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 30, '08
  10. by   Julia RN
    Without a means for collective action, nurses are powerless to influence the healthcare environment.

    Nurses can be empowered by participating in organizations at local, state, national and international levels. But power struggles and differing ideologies between these organizations and among nurses in in varied roles, fragment our profession and our voice.

    These recent events may have a profound impact on the ability of direct care nurses to advocate for their patients and their practice. I think an interesting discussion would be- what does the future hold? What kind of organizational structure and governance, whether the organization is a union, professional association or both, would best represent direct care nurses and encourage more to participate?

    Ensuring a democratic structure organizes the collective power of members in a way that ensures accountability and member control. This kind of participation differs from mere mobilization of members in what are essentially top-down actions, and it goes beyond "consultation" or "input," to include participation in setting goals, assessing risks and opportunities -- all the elements of strategic planning. The distinguishing feature of democratic participation is the power to make informed decisions.

    (What follows is my experience as a member in one of the states that left the UAN. Please excuse the length of the post.)

    My experience in my state with the issue of disaffiliation from the UAN has left me feeling that there is an intolerance for diverse opinion and open communication within my Association. The discussions at convention as well as ongoing communications focus on personal relationships as opposed to organizational issues which remain unaddressed. This avoidance and unwillingness to debate the issues in open discussion, has been a recurring theme throughout the campaign to disaffiliate from the UAN.

    The membership was divided on the issue of disaffiliation from the UAN from the start. This was clearly evident in all forums before any exposure to the unity caucus- from comments on "members only", discussions with members in the bargaining units, and questions raised at meetings. Yet many seem to be in denial of this fact and continue to place the blame for the schism on a small group who had the courage to ask questions and protest openly.

    The integrity of our Association was harmed as it acted bureaucratically but criticized the UAN for being undemocratic. The UAN followed the resolutions adopted by the state affilates at the National Labor Assembly and as this fact could not be challenged, it's structure and employees became the focus of criticism. Alliances against the national were made behind closed doors and demands were made without seeking guidance from the members or the elected leaders of the union. Adding to that, the decision to disaffiliate was made in the absence of any mandate from a majority, and so it is not surprising that the membership remains divided. The accountability rests with those few individuals who made these decisions, not those who sought transparency, inclusion, open dialogue, objective information and answers for the members.

    There is no "plan" for dealing with the challenge of having a divided membership except, it seems, to encourage the ongoing attacks against those used as scapegoats. Indeed, I have not heard of any plan in moving forward, except to try to maintain ties with the state and local AFL structures, which may or may not be possible.

    Many members seem unfamiliar with history as well as the bylaws and polices which are supposed to govern our actions. The names of the 22 members of the unity caucus as well as the fact that members sought disciplinary action against them, was printed in the Association publication. The article failed to disclose that three members of the caucus, who were members of the board, were in fact disciplined and denied membership rights without a hearing or any due porcess. Due process with discipline is a right of every member no matter what position they hold according to law. Our discipline policy promises confidentiality to any member that has a complaint filed against them.

    Those who attack the caucus do not appear concerned that our relationship to the broader labor movement has changed, that criticizing LBU leaders in our open publications which are read by management invites harm to the membership at grievance hearings and the negotiating table, or that we are providing more resources as a result of disaffiliating to organizations which oppose legislation desired by our members- staffing ratios.

    Two E&GW leaders took a strong position encouraging disaffiliation which was distributed broadly to the members and state affiliates before the poll using Association resources. The board of directors took no position on the disaffiliation however individual board members lobbied both for and against it. Additionally, any action considered by the board which is in conflict with the bylaws is out of order and even if adopted unanimously, null and void according to Robert's Rules.

    When the unity caucus asked for support from the UAN, Cheryl Johnson disclosed that the UAN would assist a group of our members. Her letter was distributed to our membership and responded to by our leadership before the mailings from the unity caucus took place. By putting their names to their publications, and providing further explanation on their website, these members clearly accepted responsibility for their actions. Yet, the Association expressed its "outrage" against the caucus for deceiving the membership by not disclosing that they received financial support from their national union.

    The Association has spent a lot of our dues on propaganda attacking the caucus instead of attempting to resolve the conflict and deal with the division among the membership which may be the greatest challenge we ever face. I feel it would be in the best interest of our Association to take a different approach, but sadly, this does not seem possible at this time.

    Despite this experience, I continue to believe that achieving democracy within our unions and associations is possible but only achievable if the membership remains committed being involved and holds the leadership accountable for their actions. If the membership is complacent, intolerant to open discussion and diverse opinion, and unwilling to advocate for needed reforms, these organizations will not survive.