President's Column: Looking back helps prepare us for the year ahead
From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
October 2010 Edition
By Donna Kelly-Williams
The MNA Board of Directors has met 11 times over the past year. These meetings have always been open to the membership to attend, as published in the Massachusetts Nurse. Highlights of these meetings are mailed to the bargaining unit chairs and are also available on the MNA Web site in the members-only section. The Board of Directors has been walking through facilities and meeting with nurses nearly every night of the week to support, promote and protect the profession of nursing and our patients.
Immediately following last year’s annual meeting, the Board of Directors, as directed by the membership, appointed delegates to represent the nurses of the MNA, with nurses from the California Nurses Association and the United American Nurses, in founding the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S.— the National Nurses United.
Since its inception, the registered nurses of the National Nurses United have been a force to be reckoned with, starting with the organization of an impressive relief effort in Haiti, providing support to this beleaguered nation by sending hundreds of nurses, including many from Massachusetts. True to its principle mission, the NNU has focused on organizing thousands of nurses, with successful campaigns in Texas, Kansas City, Mo. and Nevada. As unionized nurses have stood up for their rights, the NNU has been there, providing support to nurses on strike at Temple University Hospital in Pennsylvania, as well as to our NNU members in Minnesota, who waged the largest nurses strike in U.S. history. In May more than 1,000 nurses, including a large contingent of MNA members traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first NNU Staff Nurse Assembly, including a march on the Capitol and to meet with legislators to push our national legislation for safe staffing and safe patient handling.
Several members of the Board of Directors have testified, both locally and nationally, at various legislative hearings. On July 2, Gov. Deval Patrick signed the MNA assault bill into law, increasing penalties against individuals who attempt to harm nurses and other healthcare professionals. The bill went into effect immediately.
Nurses across the state are in contentious negotiations with staffing, layoffs, retirement and health care benefits, and restructuring at the center of the debate. The MNA Board of Directors has attended open meetings at numerious bargaining units, participated in informational pickets and met with state and local legislators to ask them to support nurses and health care professionals across the state.
The members of the MNA are grateful to the dedicated staff for their continued support and assistance every day, everywhere across the state and beyond.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you all for your support and the continued opportunity to represent our members in this leadership role.
On a personal note, I want thank the supportive and dedicated staff nurses at Cambridge Hospital who, over the past year, have respectfully and patiently retrained me to my new specialty as a birth center float nurse after I lost my position as a certified pediatric nurse when my unit was closed during hospital restructuring.
This was the address of Donna Kelly-Williams at the MNA convention earlier this month.