1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN, editorial director


Report from the 2008 ANA House of Delegates.


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More than 600 delegates from the 54 constituent member associations (CMAs) of the American Nurses Association (ANA) gathered in Washington, DC, June 25 to 28, for the ANA's annual House of Delegates meeting. As in prior years, delegates haggled over procedure (such as the motion to end the discussion and vote on the motion to decide if there should be an immediate vote), and familiar faces rose to speak at the microphones. But this year also included an appearance by former presidential candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), a telephoned greeting from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), and a walkout by members of the Michigan Nurses Association as it withdrew from the ANA.

Figure. Hillary Clin... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Hillary Clinton addressed the ANA in June: 'We need to do everything to elect Senator Barack Obama. We need not only to win the election, we need to turn around the country.'

The ANA had proposed changes to 14 bylaws. The changes that passed


* removed wording related to the former affiliate status of the United American Nurses (UAN) and the Center for American Nurses. The CMAs will now deal directly with such organizations.


* establish a member category for labor and workplace advocacy groups, making it possible for any organization representing nurses to seek affiliation with the ANA.


* allow nurses who band together in a multistate CMA to retain their state voting privilege, leaving their influence on a par with that of members of single-state CMAs.


* place on the board of directors a nurse who graduated within the previous five years.


* change how members are selected for the ANA's Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics.


* require that all CMAs' bylaws be "harmonious" with those of the ANA.



Bylaw changes that didn't pass would have given the ANA board greater input with and oversight of its subsidiaries; permitted LPNs, LVNs, and their associations to be ANA affiliates; removed the requirement for a contract between the CMA and the ANA to allow for ANA-only or CMA-only membership; and deleted language about the ANA's role as a labor organization.


In other actions, delegates resolved that the ANA will support legislation that requires nurses to earn baccalaureates within 10 years of licensure, address issues related to global climate change and human trafficking, work to eliminate the health care industry's use of dairy products containing artificial hormones, and urge the American Red Cross to reestablish the chief nurse position at that organization.


Show us the money. One contentious result of the ANA's disaffiliation with the UAN is that ANA dues from the CMAs will not be lowered, despite approximately 60% of the sum having previously gone to the UAN on behalf of the CMAs. The ANA maintains that its dues policy hasn't changed and that the 60% represented a "discount" for CMAs belonging to an affiliate. Since the UAN is no longer an affiliate, the discount ended. To pay dues to both the ANA and the UAN, the CMAs will either have to raise their members' dues or absorb the increase-tough propositions for the CMAs, especially small ones. Although the ANA says it will refund the CMAs up to half of the amount that previously was paid to the UAN, a member of the Illinois delegation still voiced concern about whether that organization would be able to afford its ANA membership. Some of the CMAs, such as the Minnesota Nurses Association, say the move is an antilabor tactic that penalizes the CMAs affiliated with the UAN. The ANA stated, in a letter to the delegates and CMAs, "If there was a dues increase imposed on UAN affiliates, it has been imposed by the UAN."


Delegates from the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA)-the third-largest CMA- walked out of the meeting after its president, Diane Goddeeris, submitted the association's official resignation from the ANA. Goddeeris cited concerns that the ANA's actions are "detrimental" to the MNA's 10,500 members.


Although ANA spokesman Richard Mullen said the ANA "continues to view the Michigan Nurses Association as a CMA," Tom Bissonnette, the MNA's executive director of nursing practice and operations, told AJN that the "MNA has resigned, but the ANA just hasn't accepted it." He added that the resignation is in keeping with the MNA bylaws, "although the ANA may not think so."


Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, editorial director