Can you tell me about starting a union? - page 2

by nrsjnet

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My hospital is going through some major changes to include a complete turnover of management. Nurses are leaving due to unhappiness and unsafe conditions. Would a union help if I could help start one and how can I get one started?... Read More


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    Question: I've seen 2 comments so far stating that Hospitals are anti-union, as they should be. Could someone explain to me why they should be? I know they are for their own good, but what other reasons do you know of. Does anyone think they should not become union and why?
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    Quote from KevinKares
    I have personal experience in meeting with a member of the California Nurses Association. This was a few years before the NNOC was started and I believe the AFL/CIO was joined with CNA to form the NNOC. This organizer was a former AFL/CIO organizer for 20 years. He was a nice guy and seemed sympathetic-but powerless.It was rather depressing talking to him because what he essentially said was "It is all up to you." He told us it was a word of mouth thing between nurses in a hospital. You talk secretly to your nurse friends and when you think you have 51% of the nurses in the hospital to vote yes to the union- you come out in the open and ask for a vote. It was all up to the nurses with no help whatsoever from the union. And yes, you will get fired and blacklisted. Happened to 3 of the people at the meeting with me about 3 months later. They were too vocal. Hospitals are very anti union, as they should be. I read in CNA literature that a hospital will spend 4 thousand dollars a nurse to stop the union. You can't get a nurse on a visa to even say the word union 'cause they don't want to be sent home. Of course, it is illegal to fire someone for organizing but you see what happens. The hospital will fire you for not checking one of the little boxes. Anyone out there feel free to correct any of this if I am wrong. It has been a few years. With so many dissatisfied nurses around the country, as perusing some of these forums on AllNurses will attest, it is strange that we can't get organized to help us get some say so in the decision making process for the nurse at the bedside. But, I am afraid that until we do get organized, we will continue to get pushed around. What is best for the patient is my focus. Just my 2 cents. k
    Every single word you say is true. I've seen it time and time again. They bring in "HR consultants" Union busters....for thousands upon thousands of dollars. The sit around in meetings (the administration) making lists of the "malcontents" and "Union leaders" and discuss ways to terminate them.......believe me HR is NOT your friend. They explain in detail how to terminate someone with the proper paper trail to keep you out of court.
    Management immediately started going floor to floor telling the nurses all the reasons a union would be so horrible for us. I was never told any positives, or handed a pamphlet to read or anything. Management was even somewhat threatening at times about it. Each floor voted, and in order to get the union to pass, every floor had to have a majority yes vote. Every floor voted no except the E.R. which is where the idea originated. I sometimes wonder if it would have made a difference if the union representative would have had a chance to talk to us and let us ask questions. We voted no because we were afraid we'd lose our job
    I agree that we need to organize like the police and firefighters have.....Nation wide. That is the NNU .....National Nurses United
    National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history.
    NNU was founded in 2009 unifying three of the most active, progressive organizations in the U.S.—and the major voices of unionized nurses—in the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association.

    Combining the unparalleled record of accomplishments for nurses and patients embodied in the proud history of those nurses associations, which for some span more than 100 years, the establishment of NNU brought to life the dream of a powerful, national movement of direct care RNs.

    At its founding convention in December, 2009, NNU adopted a call for action premised on the principles intended to counter the national assault by the healthcare industry on patient care conditions and standards for nurses, and to promote a unified vision of collective action for nurses
    But we as a profession cannot even agree on an entry level for education......how are we going to agree to organize nation wide. I was never a huge union fan.......until the last few years as the profession of nursing is slipping away and their treatment by hospitals deteriorates to what it is right now....and it will get worse.

    Just think........how many nurses in a non union facility have a pension (like police and firefighters) that allows you to retire at a decent age after humping your behind caring for every other person on the planet that includes benefits such as insurance...and I don't mean the 401K that the hospitals don't contribute to any more...or contributes such a small amount that it is negligible.

    How many of us are at the whim of the administrators that when we get sick we are dumped on the street with no disability insurance, no pension, no insurance and join the masses of the uninsured and the under insured that everyone complains is draining the system.....our employers are the biggest offenders of the problem they claim is driving the broke.......as they pay another bonus to the CEO...Disgusting.

    We should be mad.....we should be very mad.
    herring_RN, brandy1017, and lindarn like this.
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    Hey, Laborer, I meant that it will cost them money and they won't be able to buy more hospital chains. They warn the new employees at our hospital on their orientation. they tell them" If you don't like it here then go somewhere else" and the guy who gives the speech is or says he is an ex union dude for 20 years. No, I have no sympathy for hospitals. I worked at this particular hospital for the last ten years and was well liked and one of the senior nurses, did all the specialties, took the sickest. They need a wakeup call. We were told by the CNA that once we call for a union vote that the hospital was not allowed to change policy until it was over and if the union got in then no changes unless approved by the union board. The big cheese made a big show of coming around and jotting all of our wishes on her blackberry and all we got was ONE PCT for a 40 bed ICU!!!! And she, the PCT left 6 months later!!!! Now that I don't work there, I'd like to organize it. Can't fire me now. k
    lindarn likes this.
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    Nurses need to learn that they have the power. Nothing to fear but fear itself! Look at the Police, the Firemen, the teachers. Nurses are at least as important as those careers and anyone of them would agree. k
    lindarn likes this.
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    Don't worry! I am MAD! I gave my all to that place. I saved them from lawsuits all the time from disgruntled families by defusing the situation. I represented them in the best possible light-all of us did. I was so tired of there questionaires and Gallup crap and then nothing happened. My boss, who I liked was always begging us to fill out the polls and we were like,"why?" nothing ever changes, just increase the workload. They were having about 48 percent of staff doing the Gallup. And why not? Same poll for last 7 years and no changes. I'd love to see them bend to a union. Nothing has changed either in the 6 months since I left. I keep up with my friends. In fact getting ready to increase the pt ratio. The time is ripe, I'd say. k
    herring_RN and lindarn like this.
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    Quote from kmcguirern
    Question: I've seen 2 comments so far stating that Hospitals are anti-union, as they should be. Could someone explain to me why they should be? I know they are for their own good, but what other reasons do you know of. Does anyone think they should not become union and why?
    Hospitals are anti-union because it takes away some of their power. In non-union hospitals, what administration says goes. If administration decides that positions are being cut, that there won't be raises this year, that shift differentials are going away, etc. (and all of the above happened during the time I was at my former hospital), it just happens. In a union facility, those things don't just happen.
    herring_RN likes this.


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