Looking back at four meaningful years as MNA president
From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
October 2009 Edition
By Beth Piknick
MNA President Beth Piknick addressed members at the annual business meeting at this month’s convention in Brewster. These are her remarks.
Good afternoon fellow nurses. This will be my last opportunity to address you as the president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, an organization that has been a central part of my life for more than three decades. Let me start by saying, I have never been prouder to be a member of this organization. The last four years as your president have been the highlight of my career as a nurse, and a humbling experience for me as a woman, who has had the awesome privilege and responsibility of speaking for and representing what I believe to be the most powerful collection of nurses in this country. Please, give yourselves a round of applause.
While I usually use this time to review all of the good works of the MNA and the Board over the past year, I will leave you to read my report and the other reports contained in the MNA Annual Report to survey all the activities and accomplishments of the past year.
With the brief time I have, and it will be brief, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss the board’s work on the key goal that was achieved in the past year, which was a directive given to us by you the membership at last year’s convention. At that time you cast a unanimous vote to obligate the board to seek out other like-minded organizations and to participate as architects of a new national nurses union by and for direct care nurses, and to bring that issue back to the membership for a vote.
It was a tall order, with limited time to achieve it. But we are here today to cast the vote you asked for, on the issue you wanted to vote on—the creation of National Nurses United, what will be the largest and most powerful union of nurses in the history of the United States.
While for some in this room this may seem to be a rushed process; for those of us who have been with the organization for a long time, this was too long in coming. And now that it is here, it represents the fulfillment of an organizational promise to our membership. That promise was made at the end of the historic vote to rid ourselves of the management-dominated ANA back in 2001 when you, the membership, unanimously endorsed the call for the formation of a new national union.
So here we are. This is our chance to realize the aspirations of all the staff nurses who have worked so hard for so long, under torturous conditions to claim our place as architects of our professional future, to claim our voice on the issues that are important to us, to come together as one body to fight for the health and safety of our patients and our communities throughout this country.
"As we move forward today, I only hope that we will appeal to the better angels of our nature, that we will see the true and more important goal of this process."
In the last several weeks in talks throughout the state I have made all the arguments for this national, and those same arguments will no doubt be made in the debate that follows. As we move forward today, I only hope, as Abraham Lincoln stated, that we will appeal to the better angels of our nature, that we will see the true and more important goal of this process. I hope we will recognize the rare opportunity before us to seize this unique moment in nursing history, a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a better future, not only for us here today, but for every nurse who follow us.
We all have a choice today. We can walk away from history to save what amounts to $3 per week, or we can invest in our future and finally realize our dream for a national voice with national power. Either way, the time is now. And to quote Lincoln once again, "With malice toward none, with charity for all...let us strive on to finish the work we are in."