NEW YORK NURSE: October/November 2008
Nearly 200 NYSNA members gathered on Sept. 27 for the association’s annual meeting. “Nearly” is the key word, however, as at least 200 members are required for a Voting Body quorum.
As the session convened, NYSNA President Linda O’Brien announced that although 201 members were registered, the 13-member Board of Directors could not be included in the quorum count. The meeting proceeded according to its original agenda, but with no voting on official business.
This was the first time in recent memory that an annual meeting had been scheduled separate from a traditional four-day convention.
Three major items of business were on the agenda. The 2009-2010 Legislative Program proposed by the NYSNA Council on Legislation will be considered by the Board at its November meeting. The two bylaws proposals will be referred back to the bylaws committee for review and determination regarding presentation at the 2009 Voting Body next fall.
One change would have moved up the deadline for bylaws amendment proposals from 30 days to 72 days prior to the annual meeting. The other would have removed the stipulation that NYSNA delegates to the American Nurses Association House of Delegates may not serve more than eight consecutive years.
In her address to the group, O’Brien cited a number of achievements during the past year and concluded with a call for unity.
“We are registered nurses and we are passionate about serving both our patients and our profession,” she said. “We are nurses, whether we are in a collective bargaining unit or not. We are nurses, whether we’re on the med-surg unit of a hospital or visiting a home-care client. We are nurses, whether we’ve just graduated from nursing school or teach in that school. We are united by principles of service and professionalism. And I believe what unites us is stronger than what tries to divide us.”
In recognition of his tireless work in achieving mandatory overtime legislation, O’Brien bestowed the annual Presidential Award on Shaun Flynn, director of the Governmental Affairs Department. She noted that it had taken eight years to win the landmark legislation, which goes into effect on July 1, 2009.
Flynn lauded the efforts of his department staff and hundreds of NYSNA members who have lobbied for the mandatory overtime bill. “I’m honored to work for this association on behalf of the nursing profession,” he said.
When it came time for attendees to come to the microphone, the UAN disaffiliation dominated the discussion. Several members said they believed they had not been fully informed about the decision before it was made and cited the results of an opinion poll of members conducted a year ago.
Board member Barbara Crane described the process that led to the departure from the UAN. Crane also serves as president of the Delegate Assembly, which advises the Board of Directors on collective bargaining activities. She stated that the opinion poll results were influenced by mailings funded by the UAN that some members believed were sent by NYSNA. She added that more than 3,000 members had signed petitions urging the association to leave the UAN and that polls taken within facilities had also supported the decision.
Gerardi announced that mediated talks with the UAN had ended in September, with both parties agreeing to work together on future projects. She said that the Board of Directors did not support rejoining the UAN in the foreseeable future.