How the New National Union Came to Be
In 2001 the MNA held a special meeting in Worcester for members to vote on disaffiliating from the American Nurses Association (ANA). That vote, which led to the largest gathering of registered nurses in Massachusetts’ history, affirmed by overwhelming numbers the MNA membership’s desire to free itself from a national organization that failed to adequately represent its views on the national stage. At the conclusion of that vote, a resolution for the formation of a new national nurses union was overwhelmingly adopted.
In the years following disaffiliation, the MNA has flourished. After courageously throwing off the shackles imposed by the management-dominated ANA, the membership of the MNA has built a union that is a strong and powerful advocate for direct care nurses and for our patients. That work has been recognized nationally and we remain committed to advancing the issues of direct care nurses, not only in our state, but in coordination with like-minded organizations.
More recently, at the MNA’s 2008 convention, the membership, in recognition of the sea change taking place in the national political landscape, cast an overwhelming vote in favor of the following motion:
In these challenging times for patients and nurses, the voice of organized nurses cannot remain fractured. We, the MNA members, charge and authorize the MNA Board of Directors to participate as architects of an independent, national nurses union run by and for nurses; which would represent a majority of the nation’s unionized nurses; and to bring back that opportunity for a vote by the MNA membership.
While the MNA left ANA in 2001, CNA (California Nurses Association) left ANA in 1995 for reasons much the same as ours. Over time, CNA created a national presence by forming NNOC (National Nurses Organizing Committee). In 2008, the UAN (United American Nurses), formerly the labor arm of the ANA, followed the path of the MNA and CNA by disaffiliating from the ANA.
All three organizations left the ANA for the same reason—to rid themselves of a management-dominated organization that did not represent the interests of direct care nurses. In the wake of this series of events, these three organizations have reached out to one another to take the next logical step, and form a national union that will represent the interests of bedside nurses at the national level, and provide a strong and powerful voice to counter the ANA and its allies in the health care industry. Accordingly, the three organizations have completed the preliminary work to form a new national union run by and for direct care registered nurses.
In October, our members will have the opportunity to make this organizational dream a powerful reality. In the meantime, the three founding organizations have already drawn significant attention from the media and health care executives across the nation have already characterized the new national as the "Super Union."