If no union in right-to-work state, then what?

  1. I live and work in Louisiana. Judging by our southern morals and being "set in our ways", we will probably never get a union or at least any time soon. Any suggestions to help increase NURSE safety, a safer nurse/patient ratio, nursing wages (baseline, we make $20/hr), and generally increase nurse well-being? REALLY wanting to make changes in my establishment....
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   calivianya
    I like your optimism! I don't really think there are ways to change anything at all right now in right to work states. If your employer doesn't like what you're saying, they can just fire you. I think nurses have to wait until there is an actual shortage of nurses to make a difference. Walking out of your job isn't going to do anything when there are probably hundreds of people willing to work in any condition ready to take your spot, but if there was a nursing shortage and staff walked out, that's how change could happen. Just my two cents.
  4. by   applewhitern
    I hear ya. I am in the south, too, and unions are few and far between down here, plus I live in a "right to work" state. I have worked at quite a few hospitals over the years, both full-time and prn, and none of them have had a union. TBH, none of the nurses I work with seem to be interested in a union. It seems the older nurses, like me, are more on board with wanting job security, better wages, etc., than the younger nurses are. I am curious to see other posters comments on this.
  5. by   ArtClassRN
    "I live and work in Louisiana."

    Stop that.
  6. by   Chisca
    You have to take a very long view and realise that until the groundwork is laid no union will ever form. That groundwork largely consists of educating fellow nurses to the issues and learning how to control the working environment. Know the federal and state laws that govern your practice and use them to your advantage. Educate families and patients to what is safe and what isn't. Most nurses think they are powerless but if you can start thinking of what you can accomplish as a group then you can begin to change things. Safety is a good start because the public will back you and nurses see first hand the dangers patients face. I would forget any talk of union and start by identifying what you want to change and what are the tools at your disposal.
  7. by   anonymurse
    There ARE unions for nurses in LA--at the VAMCs in Shreveport, Alexandria, and NO.
  8. by   sweetdreameRN
    I worked at a unionized hospital in Texas. It isn't everything its cracked up to be. I am pretty sure we were better off before they came around....Seriously. Before they came our raises were 3-5% yearly based on evaluations. Now they are <2% across the board no matter the performance. I paid one hour per pay period union dues...for what? A lower raise. I also found that the union often protected lazy nurses from disciplinary action. That plus the loss of raise incentive made for very poor work ethic among some of my colleagues.

    Good luck with your issues. I am so glad to hear your passion. But, there has to be another way!!!
  9. by   Chisca
    Quote from anonymurse
    There ARE unions for nurses in LA--at the VAMCs in Shreveport, Alexandria, and NO.
    Toothless tigers. Their contract forbids them from striking.
  10. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from sweetdreameRN
    I worked at a unionized hospital in Texas. It isn't everything its cracked up to be. I am pretty sure we were better off before they came around....Seriously. Before they came our raises were 3-5% yearly based on evaluations. Now they are <2% across the board no matter the performance. I paid one hour per pay period union dues...for what? A lower raise. I also found that the union often protected lazy nurses from disciplinary action. That plus the loss of raise incentive made for very poor work ethic among some of my colleagues.

    Good luck with your issues. I am so glad to hear your passion. But, there has to be another way!!!
    Some unions are better than others. Some actually cut backroom deals with management to give employees below-market wages. You might have one of those. Bad unions can be decertified. As for protecting the jobs of worthless employees - the union is not supposed to do that. Their job is to make sure the contract is applied fairly. A lot of managers will use unions as an excuse to avoid disciplining employees.

    I really think all nursing schools should provide a class on labour laws and collective bargaining. There is so much misinformation among nurses and feelings of powerlessness. It doesn't have to be this way.
  11. by   anonymurse
    Quote from Chisca
    Toothless tigers. Their contract forbids them from striking.
    RIGHT! Well get behind HR 4580 and give us a hand here! We gotta ditch this 2-year probation!
  12. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from Chisca
    Toothless tigers. Their contract forbids them from striking.
    Nurses at the Minneapolis VA, where I have worked, have a SWEET deal. Guaranteed hours, low nurse to patient ratios, decent benefits, decent pay, and protection from being fired in secret and without cause. Their union seems very effective to me.
  13. by   anonymurse
    Quote from Chisca
    Toothless tigers. Their contract forbids them from striking.
    Right! Support H.R. 4580! We need your help!
  14. by   PulselessNine
    Quote from Chisca
    Toothless tigers. Their contract forbids them from striking.
    Because an entire hospital full of nurses walking out and ignoring the care of their patients should be allowed? If you really want a union go find a unionized workplace. I have seen more people lose in the long run with unions than I have ever heard of gaining.

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