Maine Nurses Vote for Freedom

by Sandy Eaton, RN

The following notice from Seachange Bulletin Number 44 was posted on the Internet April 28, 2001.

Members of the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA) overwhelmingly and conclusively voted in bylaw amendments today (April 28) severing their affiliation to the American Nurses Association.

The smoothly run meeting, chaired by MSNA Treasurer Dale McCormack, lasted thirty-one minutes, gavel to gavel. The vote was 259 to 31, indicating a whopping 89.3% rejection of ties to the reactionary ANA. A similar vote last October, influenced by florid promises of support by ANA and heavy involvement by ANA staff mobilizing nurse managers and retirees, produced inconclusive results. Having been seduced and abandoned by ANA, the tide turned, with MSNA’s Board of Directors unanimously calling for a revisit of the ANA question.

MSNA has been invited to appoint representatives to ongoing deliberations with the California Nurses Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, with the aim of fashioning a national structure comprised of groups of nurses committed to thwarting the corporatization of health care, with nurses representing and organizing nurses.

Thirty-four members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association converged on Bangor High School by car, bus, and plane to stand in solidarity with their Down East colleagues. The collective bargaining programs of the two associations have been allied for the past five years in a consortium, under whose auspices New Hampshire’s only private sector nurses unit is also organized.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association is poised to join Maine in successful pursuit of disaffiliation from ANA on April 30, when the American Arbitration Association tallies mail ballots sent in by MNA members who were unable to attend the March 24 special business meeting in historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester due to religious obligations or work schedule.

The results of this targeted ballot will be added to the March 24 tally, in which 82.3% of MNA members present and voting rejected continued ties to ANA. Approximately 2% of the MNA membership thought enough of ties to ANA to go to Worcester and vote for continued affiliation. That tally was 1,925–413.