For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.649.3966
NIAGARA FALLS, Sept. 23, 2011 – Three NYSNA members have filed a lawsuit to prohibit NYSNA members from voting on an amendment to NYSNA’s bylaws during the Convention this Saturday.
The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Patricia Kane, Wendy Braithwaite, and Maureen Eisele.
The suit seeks to prevent a democratic vote on a proposed bylaw amendment that would reduce conflicts of interest and encourage broader participation in NYSNA governance.
In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs falsely contend that the amendment would prevent “collective bargaining leaders” from serving on the Board of Directors. In fact, the amendment would only prevent members from serving in more than one elective position of NYSNA at any one time. “Elective positions” are defined in the proposed amendment as positions on the Board of Directors; Nominating Committee; Election Committee; Executive Committees of Practice Focus Groups; Delegate Assembly; and Executive Committee of the Congress of Local Bargaining Units.
Plaintiffs’ thus apparently define “collective bargaining leader” to exclude all LBU officers, Congress members, and active rank-and-file members who are not in the Delegate Assembly or the Executive Committee of the Congress.
Though Plaintiff Kane, as a member of the Board of Directors, has been aware since June that the bylaw vote would occur, Plaintiffs have chosen to wait until the eve of the vote to launch their anti-democratic effort to stop it.
NYSNA has filed papers in response to the Plaintiffs’ attempt to get a court order that would prevent members from voting on the proposed bylaw amendment. The lawsuit also makes a potpourri of baseless claims. Among those claims are that the NYSNA Election Committee, a majority of whose members are elected, should be prevented from continuing to review members’ protests to the NYSNA election, and that the named individual Defendants, NYSNA CEO Tina Gerardi, and a majority of the members of the Board of Directors, have prevented the Plaintiffs from exercising their rights to participate in the affairs of NYSNA and have violated their fiduciary duty to NYSNA. NYSNA will continue to vigorously defend itself and the rights of its members from scurrilous accusations.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses. The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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