MNA Business Meeting features call to action on a number of fronts
Motions pass for safe staffing, protecting Main Street, improving communications
From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
October/November 2011 Edition
The annual MNA Business Meeting at the MNA Convention this year featured a lively discussion over important issues affecting members’ nursing practice and patient care, the economic health of our socety and the need for improved communications to mobilize member involvement.
A number of important motions were passed at the meeting, which will set the organization’s agenda for the coming year. Below is a review of the specific motions approved by the membership.
MNA commitment to safe staffing bill reaffirmed
With the fight for passage of the Patient Safety Act and with the pressure by hospitals to cut staffing and redesign how nursing care is delivered on the rise, the membership took up a motion to reaffirm the MNA’s commitment to setting safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments via the legislative process. The passage of this legislation will improve the quality of patient care, save millions of dollars and prevent complications and medical errors. The message to the industry coming out of convention was clear: The nurses of Massachusetts are not going away, and we will not stop until we have safe staffing in every hospital for every patient.
MNA/NNU Main Street Contract campaign
One of the most important and exciting initiatives launched by the NNU over the past year is the Main Street Contract campaign, and the call for a tax on Wall Street transactions that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused Main Street. MNA members are seeing the casualties of this crisis every day in their practice, with patients flooding EDs and psychiatric units as they suffer from illnesses and complications driven by delays in care and other stressors resulting from this growing economic crisis. The campaignaimsto reclaimthe Americandreamwith good jobs, health care for all, quality education, good housing, protection from hunger and a secure retirement. The timeliness of this campaign is underscored by the nationwide and worldwide “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which arose only a few months after MNA/NNU began our activities in June.
Supporting protests demanding support for jobs, not cuts
In line with our position on the Main Street campaign, members pledged the MNA to support protests and other initiatives, and specifically a National Week of Action which began on Nov. 17. This campaign is designed to pressure the bipartisan Congressional Super Committee (and John Kerry) to deal with the federal budget crisis. The motion passed with an overwhelming vote. The message of these actions to the committee is to hold the line and protect against cuts to social security, medicare and Medicaid; to create jobs through a federal program to invest in America’s infrastructure; to slash Pentagon spending; and to increase taxes on the super rich and large corporations.
Call for survey of membership about issues of concern
A motion brought forward by members was passed to have the Board of Directors conduct a survey of the membership over the coming year to determine those issues of greatest importance to the members as we move into the future.
Call for improved communications strategies to reach and mobilize MNA members
With the explosion in the use of social media and other forms of electronic communications, the membership passed a motion for the Board to explore the utilization of these communications vehicles to reach, inform and mobilize the membership, particularly the younger generation of nurses coming into the field. Even prior to the meeting, the Board had begun implementation of just such an initiative, and the MNA will be launching its presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other communications vehicles in the coming year.
Support for nurses at the New York State Nurses Association
The membership voted to support the frontline nurses of the New York State Nurses Association, who find themselves embroiled in a fight to assume control of their organization from executives and administrators, similar to the struggle the MNA went through in 2001. Last month, a majority slate of union nurses won election to the NYSNA board of directors, with the goal of assuring control of their organization. After winning the election, the sitting NYSNA Board refused to seat these duly elected members. Through this motion, the MNA will provide support to these courageous nurses as they attempt to claim their association.