News & Events

MNA members attend first National Nurses United organizing institute

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
May 2010 Edition

A group of MNA members from across Massachusetts attended the first National Nurses United (NNU) Organizing Institute held in California in March. The institute was an opportunity for nurses to learn more about how to build national RN power by organizing unorganized nurses.

The organizing training included workshops on one-on-one communications, network and coalition building, and how to deal with “union busting” behavior and tactics. In addition, attendees also had the opportunity to participate throughout the conference in role playing activities to practice their new organizing skills.

The organizing institute included presentations on “Organizing for RN Power,” “Building Collective RN Organization,” “Strategy to Win Fair Organizing Agreements,” “Corporatization of Health Care” and “Post Election Organizing.”

The training also gave MNA members the opportunity to network and socialize with NNU nurses from across the country. Members who completed the institute will be able to use their training in helping with organizing drives as well as in mobilization efforts in their bargaining units.

MNA members from Region 2 joined with the Central Massachusetts labor community at Shaw’s supermarket in Shrewsbury to protest against Shaw’s corporate greed and to support more than 300 employees at the Shaw’s warehouse in Methuen who went on strike in March over company demands to drastically increase health care costs and eliminate jobs. MNA Region 2 members from left: Nora Watts, RN; Mary Colby, RN; Colleen Wolfe, RN; Mike D’Intinosanto, RN; and Lynne Starbard, RN.

Following are some comments from MNA members who completed the training:

“I attended the first NNU Organizing Institute in California and learned many skills and techniques that I can apply in my bargaining unit at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, to strengthen and unify my facility. I would like to help MNA organize unorganized nurses especially at Caritas facilities and to help my peers understand how a union can help them. I thank the MNA and NNU for this amazing learning opportunity.”

—Betsy Prescott, Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

“It is truly amazing to see RNs from all over the U.S. working together in unity for the greater good of our profession and even more importantly for the greater good of our patients. I feel honored to be a part of history in the making.”

—Debra Vescera, MNA Board of Directors

“Everyone was so nice. You could sense the ‘graceful militancy’ in the air.”

—Patty Sullivan, Lawrence General Hospital, MNA BOD