Any tips re: unions organizing RNs and MAs in New Mexico?

  1. Looking for any guidance anyone might offer me about starting a union presence in a nonprofit healthcare org in northern New Mexico. In the 8 months I've been at my current job (RN), we have seen some pretty astounding behavior from upper management including last-minute mandatory unpaid trainings, unannounced changes to duties and job descriptions without appropriate training, surprise cuts to PTO and benefits, and the like. I'm paid salary, but my hourly colleagues get a lot of pressure to work overtime without pay. Turnover is huge, which makes for patient safety issues, quality problems, and logistical/organizational headaches. Anyway. There is interest among clinical and non-clinical staff in collective bargaining, and I have no idea where to start. My last RN job (in another state) was in large federally qualified health center represented by AFSCME. I don't think that would be an option for my current workplace (not FQHC). It's a small organization with several clinics and <100 employees. I have definitely considered jumping ship but would strongly prefer not to, as I REALLY love this patient population and my coworkers. Even if I do leave soon, I would like to help get this ball rolling for the sake of said pts and coworkers.
    Any tips?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from bugg
    Looking for any guidance anyone might offer me about starting a union presence in a nonprofit healthcare org in northern New Mexico. In the 8 months I've been at my current job (RN), we have seen some pretty astounding behavior from upper management including last-minute mandatory unpaid trainings, unannounced changes to duties and job descriptions without appropriate training, surprise cuts to PTO and benefits, and the like. I'm paid salary, but my hourly colleagues get a lot of pressure to work overtime without pay. Turnover is huge, which makes for patient safety issues, quality problems, and logistical/organizational headaches. Anyway. There is interest among clinical and non-clinical staff in collective bargaining, and I have no idea where to start. My last RN job (in another state) was in large federally qualified health center represented by AFSCME. I don't think that would be an option for my current workplace (not FQHC). It's a small organization with several clinics and <100 employees. I have definitely considered jumping ship but would strongly prefer not to, as I REALLY love this patient population and my coworkers. Even if I do leave soon, I would like to help get this ball rolling for the sake of said pts and coworkers.
    Any tips?
    I'm no expert because I've never had to organize a union, but I would start close to home. Are there other hospitals in your geographic area? Any of them unionized? If so, I would talk with those union leaders.

    Does ANA have a member association in your state? Do they do collective bargaining? They do in other states. It also wouldn't hurt to contact your labour board. They can't help you unionize, but some of your employer's infractions sound like gross violations of labour laws. So even if it takes time to unionize, you might get some quicker relief from the more egregious practices.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by TriciaJ on Sep 11, '16 : Reason: misspelling
  4. by   Graduatenurse14
    I would not got with SEIU ever!! I am a very reluctant member of SEIU Healthcare and I could list 10 reasons why I would never tell nurses to contact them to represent them.

    I'll share a few: The organizers don't pay one penny towards their health insurance because our grossly overpriced dues pay for them. They think they are so much for the working man and keeping the middle class but they really are a typical Leftist/Marxist/Socialist group where the leaders live like kings, all paid for by the working man. The only part of that statement they'll be offended by is that 'they live like kings,' the leaders want to be recognized as Leftist/Marxist/Communist. Trust me.

    I highly doubt that SEIUs in other areas are much different and don't get me started on their penchant for rabble rousing and yes, even violence: UPDATED! Twenty eyewitness accounts of SEIU's violence at Labor Notes

    I believe in unions and would not want to work in healthcare today without one but I'm not an idiot either. Good luck to you and your fellow nurses!! Contact every single union out there and make sure that they understand healthcare and especially nursing before you all decide anything!!
    Last edit by Graduatenurse14 on Sep 11, '16
  5. by   herring_RN
    We began organizing my hospital with the California Nurses Association in late 1990. We filed for election in 1992 and won our election almost six months later. It took more than two years to negotiate our first contract.

    As soon as we filed some things got much better. Staffing improved and we began getting larger than usual pay increases bringing us closer to the pay at a nearby union hospital.
    Another nearby hospital increased their nurses pay too.

    Here are a couple links to information that may help:
    National Nurses United - CNA/NNU 11 216 edition
    About Us


    Contact information. I don't think NNU, represents nurses in New Mexico. They do in Texas and Nevada.
    Who We Are | National Nurses United
  6. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from Graduatenurse14
    I would not got with SEIU ever!! I am a very reluctant member of SEIU Healthcare and I could list 10 reasons why I would never tell nurses to contact them to represent them.

    I'll share a few: The organizers don't pay one penny towards their health insurance because our grossly overpriced dues pay for them. They think they are so much for the working man and keeping the middle class but they really are a typical Leftist/Marxist/Socialist group where the leaders live like kings, all paid for by the working man. The only part of that statement they'll be offended by is that 'they live like kings,' the leaders want to be recognized as Leftist/Marxist/Communist. Trust me.

    I highly doubt that SEIUs in other areas are much different and don't get me started on their penchant for rabble rousing and yes, even violence: UPDATED! Twenty eyewitness accounts of SEIU's violence at Labor Notes

    I believe in unions and would not want to work in healthcare today without one but I'm not an idiot either. Good luck to you and your fellow nurses!! Contact every single union out there and make sure that they understand healthcare and especially nursing before you all decide anything!!
    I fully agree with every single word of this post.
  7. by   herring_RN
    I think a nurses union is best for patient care issues.
  8. by   Here.I.Stand
    I know nothing about the organizing part, but I do believe the federal DOL would have some things to say about unpaid mandatory training and working OT without pay.
  9. by   JBudd
    I answered you over in the New Mexico post; reposting here.

    You can contact 1199, the NM Healthcare workers union. Taos, UNM, CSVRMC are all union. Started off very small, is now affiliated with AFSCME. Local officers are local coworkers.

    nmhospitalworkersunion.com/
  10. by   Graduatenurse14
    Quote from herring_RN
    I think a nurses union is best for patient care issues.
    A lot of nurses in my hospital keep talking about wanting to join PASNAP PASNAP | Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals

    It's run by nurses which is hugely important as SEIU Healthcare just doesn't get it and their dues are $20/month less than SEIU Healthcare. I don't know much else about them, though.

    I know that there is at least one nurse on here who belongs to them but there may be many more so I think I'll post something to see if anyone responds.

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