Mar 23, '08 by Chico David RN
What has historically driven jobs out of this country more than anything else is the development of a piratical business ethic in which no amount of profit is ever "enough". And unfortunately, in a business model, profit driven healthcare system, even the non-profit hospitals tend to act like sharks, with little regard for either their patients or their workers.
Here's my basic take on unions in nursing:
The defining characteristic of a profession is that a profession sets its own standards for practice.
The defining characteristic of nursing as a profession is our obligation and calling to act as patient advocates.
Try doing either of those as a lone nurse when what you believe is right seriously conflicts with your employers imperative to make money. You'll get the opportunity to find a new job real soon.
We can only set our own practice standards and act as effective patient advocates when we do it in concert with other nurses. And the more nurses do it together, the better we are.
The most professional act a nurse can do is to join together with other nurses to assert their control of their profession.
The hospital you work for is almost certainly a member of both state and national hospital associations. Their dues to belong run to the tens or hundreds of thousands. They think it's a good investment because they know that there is power in numbers.
The CEO and other senior managers at your hospital almost certainly have written contracts setting the terms of their employment. Those contracts likely guarantee them generous severence if they are fired. But without a union, almost anywhere in the US you are an "at will" employee with no rights whatsoever except for a few forms of banned discrimination.
Most Americans suffer from the illusion that the law somehow protects them against gross unfairness at work. But it doesn't. You can't be fired because of your race or gender or age. But guess what: it's perfectly legal to fire you for absolutely no reason at all.
Whew. Once I get going, it's hard to stop. Enough for now.
Oh and one last thing: a union, at least a good union, is not "just another business" The union staff make decent salaries, but they work damn hard for it. The decisions are made by member leaders who mostly donate their time (I'm one of them in my union). Nobody makes a profit and the money all goes back to the cause of winning better contracts, organizing more nurses and building the power to make a better healthcare system where the needs of patients and those who care for them take precedence over the bottom line.
Last edit by Chico David RN on Mar 23, '08
Kindred Healthcare (Harborlights Nursing and Rehab Center) in South Boston is notorious for firing American Nurses and then replacing them with Foreign Contract Nurses who are de-facto slaves. The most obey their Kindred Masters less they lose their job, and work visa and be deported. American Nurses would never allow themselves to be abused by such a greedy and cruel Employer. Kindred Healthcare is about profits not people or patriotism.
Last edit by StopForeignNurses on Jul 9, '08