Question: Unions

  1. I need to know asap.
    If you're an RN in CA, how long does it take to get into the union?
    Is the entire state unionized?

    I am in KY, which is an "at-will" state.........which means you're expendable the first time you refuse to participate in inadeaquate care....
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   CA CoCoRN
    The "state" is not unionized. You need not be in a union to work as a Registered Nurse in California. Many facilities are unionized and to work THERE you MUST be in the union. In other words, in unionized facilities do not give you the option of working there and NOT participating.


    But there are many hospitals which do not have bargaining units. The trend of late has become to get unionized as pay is higher and benefits are generally better at union hospitals.

    There are several state "sponsered" professional organizations which are membership optional.
  4. by   Fairshare
    Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I don't think you have to join a union even in a unionized hospital. You will still have to pay part dues (with rare exception) but I don't think you can be compelled to belong to a union. I work in the public sector so my understanding may be skewed by my setting.
  5. by   bukko
    Quote from Shezam!
    I need to know asap.
    If you're an RN in CA, how long does it take to get into the union?
    Is the entire state unionized?
    Why would anyone not want to be in a union? My dues cost $52 a month, but that's a drop in the bucket (approx. 90 minutes' pay) compared to total salary. Because of the union, my hospital in S.F. got a good 3-year contract in 2003. The power of the California Nurses Association (union representing most RNs in the state -- no LVNs or CNAs) is why this state has a LAW specifying the maximum number of patients each hospital nurse can have. It's not because we're lazy -- it's to prevent management from overloading nurses so badly we can't give proper care.
    Joining the union doesn't mean getting the once-over from a goon sporting 5-o'clock shadow and suspicious bulges under his pin-striped suit. It's just another piece of paper you fill out, and the local rep (who's a nurse that works in the hospital) will give a short talk during orientation. They don't measure you for a picket sign.
    You can opt out of part of the dues payment that is used for political causes, if I remember my labor laws correctly. But again, why not stick together? I came from an at-will Southern state (Florida) and for the first time in my career, I feel like I'm part of something powerful!
  6. by   Fairshare
    You answer your first question in your last paragraph. Politics. While CNA has been a strong advocate for RNs in California I don't happen to agree with much of its politics.
    The only way to opt out of paying for the politics is not to be a member.
  7. by   Gomer
    [QUOTE=bukko]Why would anyone not want to be in a union? QUOTE]

    1. When one has a good administration like I'm lucky to work with.

    2. When the administration listens to the concerns of all employees, not just the special interest groups.

    3. When you have great benefits and a fair salary/hourly rate.

    4. When you have an employer and employees who listen and respect one another.

    My hospital is not unionized and I'm proud of it!
  8. by   teeituptom
    Unions are an excellent example of dictatorship by the mediocrity
  9. by   Sheri257
    Quote from bukko
    Why would anyone not want to be in a union? My dues cost $52 a month, but that's a drop in the bucket (approx. 90 minutes' pay) compared to total salary. Because of the union, my hospital in S.F. got a good 3-year contract in 2003. The power of the California Nurses Association (union representing most RNs in the state -- no LVNs or CNAs) is why this state has a LAW specifying the maximum number of patients each hospital nurse can have. It's not because we're lazy -- it's to prevent management from overloading nurses so badly we can't give proper care.

    Thanks for this info. I'm just a student, but yesterday I was talking a union critic who used to work at the CNA hospital in my area, and they were claiming that CNA dues were 7 percent of salary. I didn't actually believe it, because I've never heard of any union's dues being that high, but it's good to know for sure.

    I'm more pro-union than not, but I also have no delusions. I have to agree with Tom when he says that unions can sometimes be corrupt dictatorships. I've seen unions do both good and bad.

    However, I also know that salaries did not increase in this area until CNA came along. CNA not only increased the salaries for nurses but for other workers that the hospital feared would unionize.

    Unions definitely have their flaws. But critics seem to overlook the fact that there was no real wage progress until the union came along.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 27, '04
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    The CNA is a democratic professional association and labor union.

    NOT a dictatorship To has a point in that the majority prevails. Thus in the minority have to put up with the higher pay, improved working conditions, and the assistance of the union if you feel you have been wrongly disciplined.

    Down side? As Gomer said the only reason to have a union with such fine management would be to have the rules, rights, and responsibilities in a contract.

    Also there are written rules for pay, benefits, time off, and so on. The managements favorite still gets the same as everyone else. So if I want Christmas off every year and the contract says every other unless I can find someone to trade with me I have to work every other Christmas even though my manager would like to give me off.

    Additionally in the real world many do not participate until there is a problem affecting them. Thus the majority ruling is actually the majority who bother to vote.
  11. by   fergus51
    Does anyone know if there are links on the internet to CNA contracts?
  12. by   bluesky
    Quote from teeituptom
    Unions are an excellent example of dictatorship by the mediocrity
    Much like your statement is an excellent example of penmanship by the idiocy.
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://cna.igc.org/cna101/

    Top 5 Reasons RNs Vote for CNA

    1. lSalaries and Benefits That Recruit and Retain RNs
    2. New Standards for RNs And Patient Protection
    3. Dramatic Gains in Retirement
    4. Voice and Respect
    5. A Legally Binding Contract
  14. by   Sheri257
    Quote from bluesky
    Much like your statement is an excellent example of penmanship by the idiocy.
    I think it's wrong to call someone an idiot just because they don't like unions. I don't have direct experience with nursing unions, but I have been involved with other unions that were horribly corrupt i.e. union leadership taking payoffs from management in order to eliminate benefits for the workers.

    Let's face it. Unions can sometimes encourage mediocrity. If some people know they won't be fired because they have union protection, they won't work as hard. I've seen this first hand. This wasn't true of all union members, but it definitely was a problem with some of them.

    However, I also saw incredibly lazy incompetent non-union workers who kept their jobs because they were management favorites. There were just as many mediocre non-union workers as union workers.

    Despite all of the arguments from both sides, I came to the conclusion that the quality of workers didn't differ that much. It really boiled down to who had more leverage. In the end, I still prefer workers having some leverage with a union because without it, you're pretty much a slave to management.

    I'm hoping that CNA is not like other unions I've encountered, and I'll probably work for the CNA hospital in my area to find out first hand. I'm impressed with what they have done in this state i.e. the ratio law, among many other things.

    But I'm fully aware that unions can sometimes be just as corrupt as management. So if Tom is skeptical of unions, I certainly don't blame him. And I certainly don't think he's an idiot.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 28, '04

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