2009 News

National Nurses Union Update

05.15.2009

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
May 2009 Edition

Julie PinkhamExecutive Director's Column
By Julie Pinkham

We are taking this opportunity to keep our members updated about ongoing efforts to establish UAN-NNOC, the new national nurses union which is in the process of being founded by the unification of MNA, CNA/NNOC and UAN. As part of this ongoing work, on April 28 and 29th a delegation from the MNA met in Chicago with their counterparts from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee and United American Nurses to work out a provisional agreement that forms an interim leadership body and structure designated to create, through five committees, the constitution and structure for vote by the three organizations members this fall.

Highlights of the agreement include:

Creation of an interim leadership body to oversee the creation of a constitution and organizational structure.

An interim executive council has been established that will comprise three co-presidents—one from each of the founding organizations—which includes a co-president appointed by MNA. Additional representatives to the executive council will be apportioned: 1 per 10,000 members. This would mean the MNA will have two seats on the executive council, one of which will be a co-president.

The executive council will oversee the process of forming the new national union, with working groups for: 

  • Unification agreement and constitution drafting
  • Operations
  • Organizing
  • Political work
  • Communications

The council will appoint members and staff from each organization to participate in these working groups.

By agreement, the draft constitution and unification agreement will be completed by June 15th to allow MNA the time necessary to prepare bylaw proposals, including changes in dues structure for presentation to the membership for a vote at the MNA Annual Business Meeting at our Convention on October 1, 2009.

Each of the participating organizations would need to complete their individual ratification process by November 15, 2009.

Assuming successful ratification by all parties of the super union constitution, the agreement calls for a Founding Convention of the new national union to be held on December 1, 2009 (location to be determined).  At the convention, formal elections will be held for positions on the executive council and governing body.  Again, MNA will have the authority to select one of three co-presidents for a slate to the new national nurses union. 

All parties agreed that the primary focus of the new national union will be on organizing the unorganized nurses in the nation.  

The latest news on dues
We have heard a growing level of excitement from members about the new national nurses union but not unexpected is the question of dues for the national and its implication for MNA members. Yes there will be dues for the new national – the amount is not yet determined as the two national organizations unifying with MNA have different dues structures and the final amount will be vetted by the committees for recommendation to the provision council.

It will be helpful to know now what the other founding organizations’ respective dues structures are in order to give our members some perspective and insight.

The CNA/NNOC dues are a formula structure: 2.2 times the base hourly hospital rate for a member with a minimum of $50 per month minimum and a cap of $95 per month. The cap is adjusted annually based on a weighted average of hospital bargaining unit increases.  The CNA/NNOC structure encompasses all dues—state, national and all AFL-CIO per caps.

The UAN dues are national dues only with individual state affiliate dues varying. The UAN dues are $130 per year (roughly $11 per month) with a 2.5 percent annual inflation adjustment. This annual dues structure encompasses the national dues and the AFL-CIO national per caps. The state and local AFL-CIO per caps are handled at the state affiliate level.  

Again, while the amount of national dues has not yet been determined, this may be helpful in giving our members some sense of what we can expect. Given this, with member feedback, the MNA has been looking at its current dues structure and will be considering a change from a flat rate structure to a formula structure as part of our review process in moving the national vote forward in October.

Next Steps
The Board of Directors will select its interim co-president and representative for the provisional executive council and will assign members and staff to participate in the working groups to help flesh out the structure of the new organization for vote by our membership in October.

If you have any questions about this process, please email MNA Director of Public Communications, David Schildmeier at dschildmeier@mnarn.org.

FPO