How powerful are hospital unions?

  1. 0
    Just curious....

    I start my first job as a GN at a large hospital that is unionized in August. During my interview, I was told that the staffing on the floor I will work on (telemetry) is 4:1.

    Based on your experiences, are unions strict on ratios and can I consider 4:1 a promise? I'm new to all this union stuff so I'd appreciate it if someone can explain to me and explain if the ratios are mandatory!

    Thanks!
  2. 37 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    If you're in California then you can pretty much count on that ratio since it's law.

    I'm not aware of any unions that have managed to get ratios established in their contract language, but if any were to achieve that it would most likely be the NNU (The NNU was formed by the California Nurses Union, and others, which established the Cal. ratios). In terms of power, it depends on the union. The ANA has been pretty weak on working towards mandated ratios; ANA backed state laws regarding ratios have had absolutely no purpose, and they haven't chosen to include safe ratios in their affiliated incentive programs such as Beacon and Magnet.
  4. 0
    It's very dependant on where you work. Some unions are fairly powerful, and the ratios are part of the contract as well as many other aspects of your job, and some are not very effective.

    I've worked at both types of places.

    Best wishes!!
  5. 1
    How powerful are hospital unions?

    Not nearly as powerful as my union of one, or at least that's what I tell myself.
    whatever... likes this.
  6. 0
    Some unions are strong and others are not. As for the staffing, look at the contract. If it's in there, then they cannot raise the ratio unless there is a clause to do so (in a disaster etc).

    I know of hospitals around me that won the 4:1 ratio. It's the same union that I'm currently under. Not NNU.

    We did try to get a 4:1 staffing ratio, but management refused to put it in the contract. However, they have kept it at 4:1.
  7. 0
    As a rule hospital/nursing unions ensure equal treatment- not good treatment. I work in one of the strongest nursing unions in the eastern USA and we have never been able to negotiate hard ratio numbers. That always falls under "management rights" and is non-negotiable. What you can expect from a union is backing and support if you have a manager or supervisor making unfair complaints about your care, or scheduling you in a manner that is inconsistant with established protocals. The union should be ensuring you are given a position for which you are qualified and have seniority. Usually unions establish wages, benefit costs, paid time off rules, anad job mobility rules. Anything beyond that is unusual.
  8. 1
    astral92 likes this.
  9. 0
    As far as it goes, like everyone says, it depends on your union plus the state you live in (weither your states likes or dislikes unions). But some people forget to remember that you are your best represenitive, not some political-minded yahoo. If you don't like the way management runs things, quit and go elsewhere. If you don't like the benefits offered, quit and go elsewhere. If you feel your voice is not heard or the standards not to your liking.....quit and go elsewhere. I am pretty sure if enough people did that on their own, management and hospitals would get the picture. Remember they DO need us in the long run, so they will listen and make change. But like most Americans, nurses think they are entitled to have everything go their way. The culture of me. But if you want to pay around a hundred dollars a paycheck, or monthly to go to someone who may not your best intrest at heart, go ahead!
  10. 2
    Don't run and hide, stay and work to improve! Organized labor is the best thing out there to help Nurses at this point, especially those that cut and run due to no represantation. Negative attitudes is not what we need, but those willing to work for the patient to nurse ratio, pay, benefits and maybe even a break. A sense of entitlement, YOU bet YA, we take care of HUMANS. Head out of sand please!
    KelRN215 and lindarn like this.
  11. 8
    And where exactly is everyone to go, when hospitals band together, and provide the same lousy pay, benefits, working conditions, there is an oversupply of nurses, so they can pick and choose who they want to hire?

    Right now, hospitals have the upper hand. The ONLY way we are going to win the battle, and ultimately, the war, is by coming together and unionize en masse.

    The NNOC is the only way to go. They have accomplished what no other nursing union has accomplished- staffing ratios, pay, benefits, workplace advocacy, POWER.

    Yes, it can be done.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Someplace in the PACNW


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