2008 News

Region 4 position in favor of mail ballot for dues increases


From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
September 2008 Edition

Regional Council 4 believes that all members of the MNA should have the right to vote yes or no when any increase in MNA dues is proposed.

Therefore, we have submitted a proposal to change the MNA bylaws to require a secret mail ballot to approve MNA dues increases. To pass, this proposal needs approval by two-thirds of those present at the annual meeting.

In the previous issue of the Massachusetts Nurse, the Board of Directors issued a statement of opposition to this proposal. We respectfully ask members to also consider the following:

  1. The present policy denies too many members a vote on a matter of utmost importance to them. At present, MNA bylaws allow an increase in dues to be approved only by the small number of members attending the MNA’s annual meeting. Historically, less than 300, of 22,000, members attend. It is true that more members should attend. However, even if every member who could possibly go was present at that meeting, a large portion of our members would always be excluded because they are working, are in school, are caring for kids, etc. Even under the best case scenario, too many members are always excluded.
  2. There is a simple remedy so that no member who wants to vote is excluded: A mail ballot. The MNA already conducts an annual election in which a ballot is sent to the home of every MNA member, giving each of us the opportunity to register our choices, by mail, for candidates for the Board of Directors and other leadership bodies of the Association.
  3. This proposal is not a vote on the value of the dues we currently pay. The accomplishments of the MNA over the past five years have been tremendous. All of us have benefited from the expansion of the MNA’s staff and services which our dues have financed.
  4. This proposal is a call for MNA leaders to make a convincing case to the entire membership if and when dues need to be increased in the future. The MNA has a variety of tools to communicate with members. Our proposal adds another by requiring the MNA Board, when it believes a dues increase is necessary, to hold at least one open hearing in each of the five MNA Regions to share information and engage our members in discussion so amendments can be made and members can be fully informed before they vote.
  5. MNA members deserve a right held by members of other unions: A secret ballot for dues increases. Other unions recognize that a decision about dues affects each member so significantly that the decision must be made democratically and in a way that protects the identity of the individual voter. The time has come for the MNA to guarantee this right to its members.

Please come and vote at the annual meeting on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 2–6 p.m. at the Burlington Marriott Hotel. Members do not need to pre-register or pay to attend the MNA’s annual meeting. Your membership status will be checked at the door.

Submitted by MNA Regional Council 4: Brian Zahn, Patty Comeau, Fran O’Connell, Tammy Normand, Jeanine Burns, Cathy Evlog, Valerie Gosselin, Judi Gro ss, Noreen Hogan, Sandy Murray, Joanne Raby, Kathy Renzi, Maureen Travis, Mary Wignall.