NEW YORK NURSE: March/April 2012
by Mark Genovese
NYSNA is leaving the nursing federation it helped create—after an investigation found that the federation was working behind the scenes to divide NYSNA members.
On the recommendation of the Delegate Assembly, the Board of Directors voted to disaffiliate from the National Federation of Nurses for interfering in NYSNA members’ right to run their union.
“The NFN says their purpose is to unite nurses,” said Pat Kane, a member of the NYSNA Board of Directors. “Instead, NFN officials are trying to promote in-fighting among NYSNA members.”
It started when members received an anonymous mailing from a group called “Nurses4NYSNA.”
The mailing questioned the legitimacy of NYSNA’s elected leadership—right before the union was heading into bargaining for dozens of contracts.
A NYSNA investigation traced the anonymous mailing and list back to NFN officials.
Next, NFN officials tried to deny NYSNA representatives access to a meeting of its executive board, with the NFN officials starting a confrontation.
In a letter, NYSNA’s Board of Directors told NFN officials not to interfere with internal matters of NYSNA, nor prohibit NYSNA members and designated staff from participating to represent NYSNA at NFN meetings.
The Board further reminded the NFN that one of its founding tenets was that the autonomy of its member state nurses associations would be respected. The board added that the NFN must allow NYSNA to evaluate and determine its own best course.
“Members want to use the hundreds of thousands of dollars we send each year to the National Federation of Nurses,” according to the Delegate Assembly’s resolution, “to be spent on the needs and concerns of New York nurses for better contracts and stronger legislation.”
An earlier Delegate Assembly investigation found that NYSNA members were not consulted or involved in the decision to form and join the NFN.
“Everyone has the right to voice their opinion about our union elections,” said Pat Kane. “The NFN officials crossed the line when they used our own money to pick a side. That’s the opposite of their job.”