MNA Member Advisory

This is such important information that all MNA nurses should know that I felt I have to post this as an advisory for all to see.

A commenter found this ANA Media Statement dated 10/18/2008.  The second paragraph is a shocker to me:

“The ANA House of Delegates, including delegates from Minnesota, voted in 2005 to include in the ANA Bylaws a provision that requires a 2/3 vote of the entire membership of a Constituent Member Association (CMA), such as MNA, before it is empowered to sever its ties with ANA. The 2/3 membership vote is designed to protect members’ rights to participate in making the fundamental decision of whether to end a state association’s affiliation with the ANA.  MNA failed to comply with the requirements of a membership vote.

How can MNA say it is representing its members when it failed to fulfill the requirement of having them vote on whether they wanted to sever ties with ANA?

UPDATE: Also see Nurses Move Toward a ‘Superunion’.

Article describes how MNA became affiliated with NNU states: “No union asked all members for a vote on the national union” and quotes Linda Hamilton.

Update 2: Mass. Nurses Assoc. has started a Facebook page about their dissatisfaction with NNU representation.

Update 3: Another very interesting article about NNU’s views on organizing and staffing ratios.

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72 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by professionalRN on June 27, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Wow that is a shocker. Actually not really shocking because it is consistent with their recent actions. I have found some of the tactics of MNA to be underhanded and unprofessional but this is truly awful. What can be done about this? I see in reading the whole statement that the delegates voted. From the 2005 Bylaws it sounds like that was not a legal vote. More people need to hear about this because it will help them see with clearer eyes how MNA is NOT representing them and their interests but only looking out for their own interests. I will definitely be sharing this with my colleagues. Thank you again so much for your diligence on this blog!!

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  2. Posted by Steaming on June 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I have been saying this to MNA RN’s all along. They did note vote. A vote by the people who attended the Duluth meeting in 2009 voted. Must have been the delegates. So, what can be done since the bylaws were violated? Do MNA members who wanted their vote rightfully taken to leave ANA have recourse?

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Yes, it was the delegates that made the decision not the voting membership as the 2005 ANA Bylaws specify. I’m not a lawyer so I have no idea what the ramifications are. I said from the beginning it seemed obvious to me that MNA bought into NNU’s national agenda regardless of how it applied to MN nurses. The article I just posted in the update really lays it out. As far as I’m concerned, MNA has lost all credibility.

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  3. Posted by Steaming on June 27, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I am so glad this is all coming into the picture. I ticked a lot of people off telling them this personally. I hope now when they can read it for themselves, they will get ticked of too. MNA should be sued by it’s members. Is there a way to get this letter from ANA into the press and to get the story of how the voting was done into the press. July 6th may see more RN’s reporting to work as a result of it. 🙂

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  4. Posted by sadrn1 on June 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

    THANK YOU for posting this!! I always wondered how they could split from ANA without asking members…this explains a LOT!

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  5. Posted by acsofs on June 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Can’t wait to hear MNA’s spin on this one. Many thanks to whoever dug up this crucial info!

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  6. Posted by dovewriter on June 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    This reminds me of the nightly news’ ongoing series “the fleecing of america”. Only this is MNA fleecing nurses of their money to be used for the MNA/NNU agenda. I’m fed up. Nurses need to know that their union is not acting on their behalf as they are violating the bylaws. Hope it’s okay that I sent that link to a few of the news network for a different spin on this whole deal, I just couldn’t sit by while my union works against me. Maybe it will help some of the nurses “on the fence” make the decision to not let the union determine their fate.

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    • Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      I think you are right and it would be prudent for MNA nurses to look into just who NNU is and what they are all about. I think the writer here might have it right with the last sentence speaking to these contract talks being about local issues and local patients. I see this possible strike more about a national agenda setting in motion the strength of NNU for future contract neogotiations througout the US and hospitals realize this too.
      I also do not see public support as the article states and this is the hardest part as a nurse for me to see is the public thinking negatively about our nursing profession.

      Keep talking
      Pioneer Press

      Updated: 06/26/2010 04:52:29 PM CDT

      Against the odds, we hope that by the time this appears, negotiators for the Minnesota Nurses Association and the hospitals that employ them have resumed bargaining.

      A meeting Thursday produced no breakthroughs and Friday the nurses’ union filed notice of a strike that could begin as soon as July 6. That leaves plenty of time for the two sides to work out agreements on thorny issues of staffing, pay and benefits, if they are willing to do so.

      We encourage a lowering of the rhetorical volume. It is in neither side’s interest to take positions that allow for no compromise, because compromise most definitely will be needed. It ought to be the product of intelligent, realistic conversations among hospitals and nurses.

      We must all remember that the economic climate is terrible. Working nurses should not expect the rest of the semi-working world to automatically support their cause, especially if the price includes disruption in a critical service and reliance on arguments that demonize good people. Our two-cents-worth is to hold off on the signage and slogans, go into a quiet room and work out an approach to staffing, pay and pensions that both sides can live with. If this dispute actually is about local issues and local patients, that’s what will happen.

      Reply

      • Would new negotiators help this situation? In looking at the issues I and many of my co-workers feel they can be worked out and wish MNA would listen to its members.

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      • Posted by Juli Uzlik on June 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

        You don’t seem to understand that at this point, there is NO “working things out” with these employers. The only option being given by the hospitals is to accept their concessions, period! They do NOT want to bargain or work things out. They have stated over and over again that the only way to achieve a settlement is to accept their concessions. I am a member of the Fairview negotiating team.

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        • Posted by wildfox on June 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

          Hospitals have aready given up some items in dispute and from what I hear MNA has not budged.

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        • Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

          What concession was MNA willing to make. I have not seen this listed.

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          • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

            I have not seen anything in writing. They have said in news stories they will willing but have not put anything on paper that I have seen. If someone can point to something I’d be happy to link to it.

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            • Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

              I believe the above Fairview bargaining team nurse is expressing her opinions in a respectful tone.

              The thing about this blog is the professional way the nurses and others have expressed their messages. Unlike some of MNA facebook membership who have made dismissive remarks to a member who posted a link to this blog. Also, the messages about the hospital representatiave I am sure many MNA nurses don’t agree are below the belt with comments about her looks, use of profanity etc. These are some of the reasons the public will look at nurses in a negative light.

              I think the nurses have lost touch with how tough it is out there with many Americans. Unfortunately, congress didn’t extend unemployment insurance this week and millions will lose these lifesaving checks resulting in the inability to provide the basics of life which includes shelter and food. It is sad to read about truly difficult times for families today. So when the public sees how nurses are compensated, they do not understand why they would go on strike and I don’t see the public buying the idea about patient safety based on assignments.

              This may change in the future when the economy improves and the shortage of nurses becomes an issue again, but until then, the depressed state of the unemployment numbers will prevail over all else.

            • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

              yes she is. I did remove one comment of hers in this topic that was simply a repeat of this one. I removed comments from others that were not and were made within a short time of each other. I wanted it to be very clear to others that have started to participate here what we expected. The blog has had a week without issues and as it becomes more visible I want it known we will not tolerate the kind of comments that show up in the newspaper comment sections.

        • Posted by wondering1984 on June 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm

          Juli, have the negotiating teams from MNA tried rewording some of the hospitals proposals and gotten that response? I am just wondering where the notion that the hospitals are not negotiating comes from. And has the union really asked members how attached they are to some of the items the hospitals are proposing come out? I think one of the things is the .4 to .5 for benefits. Has the union tried accepting that as a starting point to see if the ball rolls?

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        • Posted by anurse20 on June 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

          I sure wish the negotiations were on TV like political negotiations. Then we could know the truth. I feel like both sides have dug their heels in so deep and we are all caught in the middle. Juli I have to tell you I went out for a month in 2001. I pay a fortune in union dues over 15 years. SO……700 a month for 15 years 10,500 aprox. 4,000 lost wages in 2001. Now you want me to go out again. When is it enough? How much do I have to spend to make the union happy. This is not OK with me, There has to be a limit. How much do the hospitals and our customers have to suffer to make you happy. Make them talk….Make concessions… Your job is to get us a contract…..My job is to go to work and provide excellent patient care.

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          • Posted by anurse20 on June 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm

            I did not mean for that to sound harsh. It is a stressful time right now and I have people pulling me in both directions. I just want to go to work and live a life that I am lucky to have.

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          • Posted by worried on June 28, 2010 at 10:21 am

            I too wonder about this “strike fund” my mother in law said when her exhusband (who was in the painters union) went on strike they were automatically paid a portion of their lost wages from the strike fund. how come the union has put so little info out there on how the strike fund works and how much is available?

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            • Posted by what? on June 29, 2010 at 5:06 am

              How long ago did IUPAT go on strike? had to have been like 20 years ago before everyone started busting the unions up.

        • Posted by anotherview on June 28, 2010 at 4:02 am

          I also have to ask about the NNU’s manifesto “We do not participate in concessionary bargaining.” This, to me, means that they wish TCH to accept all of their proposals as is without question. Don’t get me wrong, I think TCH has their issues but looking at it realistically from the outside – it takes 2 to tango.

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          • Posted by drichmn on June 28, 2010 at 7:36 am

            well that manifesto really does indicate to me that they are operating from an ‘accept this or we strike’ frame of mind. Those told they were voting for a strike in order to avoid a strike were being sold a bill of goods.

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    • Thank you dovewriter…..we continue to gain strength!

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  7. Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Not sure if there is much legal action, although failure to follow by-laws is not in interests of who serving it also may not have any legal teeth. There is mention of legal action in MA and elsewhere that did not work out.

    Also to poster saying “hospital” won’t budge. I think right now it is true on both sides as agendas are being entrenched and the battle being engage waiting to see who will “give” significantly. Thus we are rapidly headed for a strike.

    Reply

    • Posted by rndmcrzyktty on June 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      I have to agree that it’s both sides that are holding on to what they want and what they have. It really seems that neither remembers what the word ‘negotiate’ really means. I think once both sides first dug in their heals it was sort of over with from that point forward. If either side has changed their position it doesn’t seem like it has been put down onto paper yet, one would think we would see that as both sites seem to be quite willing to give all sorts of information. I think the last ‘official’ out there is from May, nothing more recent than that. Anything new seems to be rumor or simply not true, not until it is seen in writing.

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  8. Posted by acsofs on June 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Other than working on any insufficient staffing issues at any applicable hospitals (the workable contract language does NOT need to be rigid ratios BTW – see Children’s for an example of appropriate staffing), why is the employer not expected to set their own wages, benefits, working conditions, and pensions? If they offer X, Y and Z, each of us can chose to accept employment with them or we can look elsewhere. This notion that the employer is not free to offer what they want makes no sense to me.

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  9. Posted by m! on June 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I’m just wondering why all of my posts have been deleted? Are you afraid of people reading my posts?

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      They weren’t all deleted Megan. Only those that fall into the categories I posted in the Notice to Commenters. As you know, blog owners and editors have discretion in the comments that are acceptable in their blogs. If you insist on violating our request your posts will be deleted.

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      • Posted by MNChildrensNurse on June 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm

        We are keeping this sight as a safe place for those of us who plan to work on July 6th and for our replacement nurses. We simply will not tolerate threats, name calling, abuse. We will not let this blog turn into the circus that the comment sections of the newspapers have. This is our oasis in the midst of all of the tensions at work. We respect all of you who plan to picket, and we don’t question your reasons. We don’t come to your FB page and post nasty comments. We only ask for the same here. Thank you!!

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        • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm

          Thank you. Well said.

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          • Posted by anurse20 on June 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

            Perfect I save my rants for the Strib. My facebook questions and concerns were either met with hostility or deleted.

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        • Posted by notwalking on June 28, 2010 at 7:12 pm

          My unit will be closed for consolidating. How does Childrens reassign us?

          Reply

          • Not sure how that will take place. If you have a “like unit” or another unit you feel comfortable….or are OK with transferring to the other campus that might be an option that I know some are looking into because of transferring pts to St Paul NICU for example. Talk to your manager….they have a plan.

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  10. Posted by amanager on June 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    i’m part of mgmt at one of the involved hospitals, though not involved in negotiations, so have appreciated being able to follow this blog and have mostly felt it wasn’t my place to comment. All this information about the bylaws for changing national affiliation is fascinating. It does make me wonder if there’s then a legal reason/advantage to not dropping your MNA membership if you are contesting a violation of the bylaws? I suppose since it was years ago perhaps it would be considered outside the window of time to challenge? It certainly doesn’t smell right even if its technically not illegal. so kudos to those taking the time to run this blog!

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

      there are some who are going to contact the Natl Right to Work Legal Foundation tomorrow and find out more about the legal ramifications, if any, for not following the bylaws when severing ties to ANA.

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  11. Posted by MNChildrensNurse on June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I just spoke with the NLRB. The gal I spoke with was not very helpful. She said first that she did not know if this issue would fall under their jurisdiction, but if it did, they have a 6 month statute of limitations and this fell outside of that statute.
    drichmn, you are much more articulate than I am, so if you have time, perhaps you could call and talk with them and see if you can glean any more information from them.

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  12. Posted by dovewriter on June 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Scott Goldberg from Kare 11 contacted me about this, but I will readily admit I am not the most well-versed in all things union. I told him what I knew as best as I could but if anyone is interested in giving him the low-down about the NNU/ANA debacle, you can contact him. I made it clear that I’m not trying to fan the flames, just interested in making sure all represented nurses have access in the mainstream media to all the facts about their union.

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  13. Posted by MNChildrensNurse on June 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I just spoke at length with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. It is all very confusing, but basically this is considered an “Internal Union” issue and falls outside of any jurisdiction other than our union itself because the union is it’s own entity outside of federal or state control. I am still very confused as to why we would even have bylaws if the union can change them or not follow them to suit their needs.

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    • Posted by anurse20 on June 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      That was the jist of my conversation as well. Looks like this is a done deal does not mean it is right though! Just another example of being caught in the middle.

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  14. Posted by Bobbi Pazzelli on June 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I am commenting on the MNA vote to move away from the ANA and join the NNU. MNA delegates are representatives of all the districts for MNA. These delegates are chosen through statewide elections with all MNA members able to vote who they want. The ballots are sent to each and every one of the MNA members home address. To say that MNA violated by-laws is not true. We elected these delegates to represent us (MNA nurses) just as we elected our Senators and Representatives to vote for issues in the legislature.

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      the ANA bylaws require a vote by the membership not a vote by delegates to a convention with a supermajority of the membership voting required to sever ties with ANA. It’s in the bylaws. It’s not up to MNA to simply ignore in 2008 what they voted to do in 2005. The convention delegates did not have the authority to vote on that issue according to ANA Bylaws.

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      • Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2010 at 8:40 pm

        So basically, Bobbi, you Delegates decided to move to NNU over ANA and not abide by ANA by laws and you didn’t care, because ultimately nothing anyone could do to change it other then memembers doing something about it, and since they had no clue, it was easy. So now you engage in adversarial negotiations with a clear intent to strike. I gather you went to NNU because you were all for their agenda as delegates and didn’t bring it to membership because you did not want to risk not changing, overall doing your members a disservice.

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  15. Posted by listenup123 on June 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Bobbi Pazzelli…..with all due respect, where does it say that the 2/3 vote of the entire membership can be proxied via the delegates? I believe that something this HUGE should have been brought to the membership as is stated in the below. Many of the MNA nurses I work with are furious that this happened without their vote. And, most didn’t even realize it happened.

    “The ANA House of Delegates, including delegates from Minnesota, voted in 2005 to include in
    the ANA Bylaws a provision that requires a 2/3 vote of the entire membership of a Constituent
    Member Association (CMA), such as MNA, before it is empowered to sever its ties with ANA.
    The 2/3 membership vote is designed to protect members’ rights to participate in making the
    fundamental decision of whether to end a state association’s affiliation with the ANA. MNA
    failed to comply with the requirements of a membership vote. “

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  16. Posted by sadrn1 on June 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Has anyone talked to an actual lawyer- federal prosecutor about this? Seems unrealistic that MNA members have no recourse to deal with this. I can’t believe a union is outside of anyone’s jurisdiction.

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm

      I’m not aware that anyone talked to a MN lawyer about this. It does seem odd there would be no recourse. Perhaps it would be grounds for a ULP complaint?

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  17. Posted by sadrn1 on June 28, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I am a non-contract RN otherwise I’d file an unfair labor practice this instant. Anyone willing to do this? I know the actual decision to leave ANA was beyond the 6 month statute of limitations- however NNU/MNA representing MNA nurses now during the negotiations is within 6 months- plus many members were not aware of the details until now. it is at least worth a try. If anyone is interested you can contact the NLRB office here at:

    Minneapolis (18)
    Towle Building, Suite 790
    330 Second Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55401-2221 Get Directions
    Regional Director: Marlin O. Osthus
    Hours of Operation: 8:00am – 4:30 pm (CST)

    TEL: 612-348-1757
    FAX: 612-348-1785

    The actual form to complete is below:
    http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/shared_files/forms/nlrbform508.pdf

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  18. Posted by MNChildrensNurse on June 29, 2010 at 12:08 am

    It didn’t sound like the NLRB could help us based on the statute of limitations and based on this being an “internal union affair”. I still don’t understand what is meant by an “internal union affair.” I am wondering if contacting an attorney is feasible and if there might be the possibility of a class action lawsuit. I still cannot believe we pay dues to be voting members, and then that right to vote is taken away from us.
    I think maybe filing the ULP might still be a consideration though, we can send them the copy of the 2005 bylaws as well as the statement from the ANA.

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  19. Posted by Anonymous on June 29, 2010 at 1:21 am

    “internal union affair” means that is in the perview of the court, it is an internal matter to be settled in the union. Basically it is saying it is private matter following private rules that are not mandates by a court of law so their is no legal standing for court action and has to be dealt with privately. This really is not a shock given how Mass NA nurse and others had no legal redress either.

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 29, 2010 at 6:53 am

      In other words, if MNA nurses are upset with their leadership then change leadership since they are all elected by the membership.

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  20. Posted by Anonymous on June 29, 2010 at 1:27 am

    And it is clear, as really addressed to Bobbi before, that the matter was already an MNA agenda, they already were in step with NNU at the leadership levels of MNA as they indicate with the attempt to legislate fixed ratios and being told to address it with employers. So this strike has been in the works in terms of MNA leadership for some time, beyond the NNU, and the steps taken have been going in the direction leading toward leaving ANA for NNU with delegate vote without informing membership and do what they want because only way anyone can do anything about it is to remove them from power and they control the information and can do what they want.

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  21. Posted by Sadrn1 on June 29, 2010 at 6:39 am

    The ULP may at least call attention to the issue. And may get the media to see there is a very scary story here. If unions do not have to abide by their own rules how can anyone ever put their faith in them? MNA could be such a valuable organization if it’s members truly had a voice. In all of the phone conversations about this did they ever offer up a suggestion fo how members could deal with this internal manner? And if you try to deal with it internally but continue to not be heard- what then?

    One last thing- if you do file for this issue you may want to file about the voting processes for both strike votes. Several of my colleagues described a scary and intimidating scenario. And many of them queried MNA in advance about an independent party counting the votes and recieved vague answers with no clarity as to who would be counting the vote. It scares me to live in a “free” country but see how little freedom MNA members have to speak their minds, to dissent and to ask for information. These questions have been treated with censure or blatantly ignored by MNA reps at my hospital.

    The ULPs or a class action lawsuit may just give you your voices back.

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  22. Posted by Nurses Who Care on June 29, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I spoke with ANA representative regarding the split with their affilation. It seems MNA and ANA were moving in different directions at that time. In addition, there was an issue with late payments involved to ANA. ANA did contest the vote, but as we can see the results were MNA is now affliated with NNU. I think someone would need to speak with MNA to see why, what and how they moved to NNU.

    This is disheartening to see since MNA membership was not given a vote to move to NNU. Also, to find their monthly dues paid to MNA, which part should have been directed to ANA, were not be paid to as required by MNA-ANA bylaws. I think the lesson learned here is to pay more attention to what MNA is doing not only during negotiating times, but all the time. I believe some nurse here who not are not happy how MNA has performed in recent months would also need to become more involved with MNA to see if change was possible in the future.

    I have been reading the messages on StarTribune which shows little support for nurses in the possible upcoming strike, including physicians. This could tarnish our professional image for years to come.

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    • I agree we should have all paid more attention..many of us read the letter and heard the news and didn’t pay any attention. If we could have seen into the future perhaps we would have tried to stop the change to NNU when it happened.

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  23. Posted by Bobbi Pazzelli on June 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Some history on MNA and the NNU that may be of interest to this site….
    MNA has been in existence since 1905 and after many gains in improving the profession of nursing and standards of patient care in MN, we recognized the need to belong to a national nurse’s organization to have an impact on nursing issues at the national level. We joined the American Nurses Association many years ago as a constituent member organization meaning we were a state level member. We paid about 1/3 of our annual union dues to ANA to represent us on many issues including staffing and collective bargaining, or union concerns for nurses. In the 1990’s the ANA began to seem more and more management dominated and less responsive to the concerns of the bedside nurses. MN worked very hard within ANA to work on the problem; meanwhile many other state nurses associations left the ANA in frustration over how the ANA was silencing the voices of bedside nurses.

    By the early 2000 we worked to form an official union arm of ANA to handle all collective bargaining activities and to be a voice for the staff nurses. This was the United American Nurses. Around the time there was a climate of other unions (non-nursing unions) who were trying to raid state level nurses associations to convert their members over. To guard against that, ANA asked all state members to write their internal bylaws to require a 2/3 vote of all members in order to disaffiliate from ANA as a way of protecting the union from being raided. MNA made those changes in an effort to protect ourselves. Mind you that 2/3 of the members never voted to join ANA.

    Over the years our dues were split between ANA and UAN, and UAN began to flourish as a national voice for the staff nurses who were unionized. In some cases the opinions of ANA and UAN began to get further and further apart. One obvious issue was that ANA has always been governed by nurse managers, while UAN has been governed by staff nurses. Still we stayed in and tried to make UAN the national voice that we needed for nursing and patient care along with the ANA and its faults. MNA was the largest nurse group within UAN. Then in the end of 2007 ANA announced several proposed changes to their structure and governance. One key change was their expressed intent to defund UAN and expect MNA to pay all dues to ANA effective July 2008. At the same time they planned to begin taking on hospitals as members or supporters, not just individual nurses so that they would be supported financially by the very industry that they are legally representing in collective bargaining. In labor law this creates what is called an employer dominated union and threatens your legal right to be in the union.

    Then ANA offered to give some of the dues, but not all, that originally went to UAN back to MNA, calling this a “dues rebate”. Again this posed a legal issue for us because it created the appearance and legal effect of the employers or industry actually funding the union. MNA and the other state members of UAN tried unsuccessfully to persuade ANA to move away from these plans but they could not be moved. We sought the advice of our own in house counsel and hired another law firm for a second opinion. Both concurred that legally we were in troubled waters remaining state members of ANA under their new structure. At the same time the relationship with ANA was tenuous at best since they had succumbed to the corporate healthcare model which really undermines the voice of nurses in advocating exclusively in the interest of patients.

    In May 2008 the MNA convened a meeting of the House of Delegates-the highest governing body of our organization. This body is made up of staff nurse members who are elected to serve in this capacity. We debated the issue of changing our internal rules to allow a disaffiliation vote, if ANA moved forward with their plans, and to stop paying our dues which were millions every year to ANA if it went through. Then several months later after ANA demonstrated their intentions to move forward and try to take adverse legal action against us, we voted to disaffiliate. This was a complex issue but one that became very simple in the end. Our choice was to protect our nurses association from a legal fiasco, at the same time as protecting our national nurses union, UAN, which we in MN worked so hard to establish. UAN had 58,000 RN members from MN, MI, HI, AK, KY, VA, NY and many more. MN nurses made up the largest membership with over 20,000 RN’s.

    Over the next year, several of our nurses from MN began networking with other nurses associations around the country in order to explore the possibility of creating a larger national nurses union. These talks included Massachusetts, California and the National Nurses Organizing Committee with a presence in multiple states. Linda Hamilton, RN NICU had been quite involved nationally and was instrumental in making connections with other nurse’s associations. Over the course of a year many conversations took place to determine what a new staff nurse only national union would look like. By the summer of 2009 there was significant work done in finalizing the merger of these organizations into a new one, National Nurses United. The result was the largest ever national staff nurse organization in the U.S. with over 150,000 members coast to coast.

    When you look at what these organizations have accomplished collectively, MNA included, you can see how the collective voice of nurses benefits patients and our profession. We in MN have several leaders in high level positions at NNU including a co-president from Fairview Southdale and two vice presidents, Linda Hamilton and Bunny Engeldorf from United. We were instrumental in the founding convention of the organization last winter to develop the strategic plan to improve staffing and patient care. This has never been the other way around. We built this organization from ground up and continue governance at all levels.

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    • Posted by drichmn on June 29, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      and yet the membership never voted on severing ties as required in the bylaws. Perhaps if the membership had been informed about what was going on and why MNA wanted to sever ties you would have gotten the super majority of the membership needed. As it stands, we’ll never know. Speaking for myself, it always makes me wonder why someone says they did something for my own good after I find out about it later. And since you have such detailed information about the split would you be so kind as to tell us what your role in this history was?

      Reply

      • Posted by Bobbi Pazzelli on June 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

        I am a MNA nurse who followed this closely by reading the MNA updates that are mailed to all members of MNA along with following the MNA committees who are lobbying at the state legislature. This information is also on the MNA web site. This information is available for all to read/view and each member of MNA needs to advocate for themselves by keeping up with the MNA information and not play the victim by saying “they didn’t know this was happening!” Not one piece of this was hidden from members..it was information that was available prior to the split with ANA. In fact, all MNA members received by mail to their home address specific written information regarding the notice of the potential split from ANA, the process and legalities, along with a chance to attend the MNA convention where the delegates voted.

        Reply

        • Posted by drichmn on June 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm

          do you have a link to it? attending the convention where the delegates voted wouldn’t have given them the right to vote on it like the bylaws required.

          Reply

    • Posted by sadrn1 on June 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      Bonnie- I appreciate you sharing this information. However, I think in order to be fair nurses should both read the MNA site as well as contact ANA for their side of the story. There are always two sides to every story. While ANA does have nurse managers, and advance practice nurses in the organization and as members of the board they also have a large number of staff nurse representation like most national nursing associations and societies.

      Reading what you wrote Bonnie saddens me- mostly because I see so much of the MNA mentality that nurse managers and nursing leaders are not to be trusted and certainly not allowed to help guide you. This “them” versus “us” mentality tears hospitals apart rather than fostering collaboration. I for one believe any good union should want input from nursing leaders at the bedside, in management, in higher education and in other clinical roles such as CNSs, NPs, CRNAs and Nurse Midwives. We are after all ALL nurses with different perspectives that collectively can work to find creative solutions and effect amazing changes. I look at my professional specialty organization and I see this collaboration at work in everything we do from lobbying to creating professional standards that meet the highest quality standards. The future of nursing relies on all of us working together to create the future we want to see for OUR profession.

      Reply

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