Nursing Unions

  1. 0
    I've seen plenty of you mention nursing unions. I live in DE but work in MD and have yet to hear anyone around my work or nursin school mention a nursing union. How do you find out if there is one? Is there supposed to be one for every state? Or is it something done by the place of employment? What kind of things can the nursing union do for you?
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I've heard Laurel Regional Hospital is unionized, but I can't swear to it. MD just doesn't have that many.
    lindarn likes this.
  5. 1
    Unions are done by individual employers and are not state wide. There are some state organization but each individual employers contracts will vary. The laws in each state greatly influence whether there is a large union membership or not.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 2
    Unions negotiate benefits, salaries and provide representation on your behalf for disciplinary action. Sometimes, that is a good thing, other times not. Personally, though, I would never work for a non-union hospital because I am too used to the 'due process' that unions provide. After the probationary period is over, the union bargains for disciplinary action as I mentioned earlier, so, that hopefully, the penalty is not as severe, but the negative side of it is that many unions also protect the dead weight, and allow this horrors to poison the workplace for years with complete job protection. During lay offs, should situations come to that point, the union ensures that the process is done the right way...usually by seniority and time/attendance compliance.

    There are pluses and minuses, but for me, I'd rather have them.
    lindarn and Blee O'Myacin like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from pagandeva2000
    Unions negotiate benefits, salaries and provide representation on your behalf for disciplinary action. Sometimes, that is a good thing, other times not. Personally, though, I would never work for a non-union hospital because I am too used to the 'due process' that unions provide. After the probationary period is over, the union bargains for disciplinary action as I mentioned earlier, so, that hopefully, the penalty is not as severe, but the negative side of it is that many unions also protect the dead weight, and allow this horrors to poison the workplace for years with complete job protection. During lay offs, should situations come to that point, the union ensures that the process is done the right way...usually by seniority and time/attendance compliance.

    There are pluses and minuses, but for me, I'd rather have them.

    I agree. I'm a union nurse and I feel at least some security with my job having a union in place. Some of the bad things include union dues every pay and it is MUCH harder to fire bad nurses. They are protected and you have to document, document, document their bad behavior in order to do anything about it. And even then it can take many months for anything to do done ie firing. We learned that the hard way and now we cut our losses during the probationary period.
    lindarn likes this.
  8. 0
    If you worked in a Union hospital you would have been told up front
  9. 2
    I live in Houston Texas, and I've never worked at a unionized hospital. There is only one hospital here that has a union and it was very recent. From what I've heard, I would like to work for one.
    jsrRN and lindarn like this.
  10. 1
    (If you worked in a Union hospital you would have been told up front)

    Yep, if you were in a union job in a hospital with a union, someone would have told you and got you to sign up!

    I have been in NYSNA for as long as I have been in nursing. I will probably have to leave it and take a management position soon, since I have been doing our computer system at work...and its not really a union job. I think I will miss the security blanket of the union.
    lindarn likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from Katnip
    I've heard Laurel Regional Hospital is unionized, but I can't swear to it. MD just doesn't have that many.
    I've never heard of Laurel Regional Hospital . I work in the eastern shore of MD, east of the bay bridge.
  12. 3
    I would add a note of mild disagreement with a couple of the prior posters on unions protecting bad nurses. I'm chief nurse rep - what many unions would call a shop steward - at my hospital in California. In effect that means I deal with a lot of the disciplinary issues from the union side. I don't believe it is all that hard to fire a nurse who genuinely needs to be fired. There is a requirement for due process and documentation, but due process is a pretty basic American value. A manager needs to document how the nurse is failing to meet expectations, give them clear notice of that, give them a reasonable amount of time to bring their performance up to par and if they are still unable to meet reasonable standards they can be terminated - assuming that their failure rises to the level of something a reasonable person would terminate them for.
    Of course if there is behavior that is really dangerous to patients, all the notice and time requirements go out the window.
    I'm convinced that what happens a lot is that managers just don't want to go to the trouble of doing a termination properly, so they blame "the union" for their own failure.
    When a termination seems to be genuinely unfair, the ultimate recourse in a union environment is to take it to arbitration. This is not done lightly, since arbs are expensive and most unions have mechanisms in place to prevent local reps from going to arbitration frivolously. When you do go to arbitration, an arbitrator looks at the question of "just cause" for a termination. The just cause standard rquires that the arbitrator look at issues like:
    Was the policy violated a reasonable policy, did the employee know about the policy, were they given an opportunity to correct their behavior, balancing the severity of the violation against the employees past record, etc. That last one means, for example that you might have two employees who committed the same offense. If one of them is a fairly new employee with a couple of other issues on their record, firing might be reasonable. but perhaps firing would not be considered reasonable for the same offense if there is a 20 year employee with an otherwise excellent record.
    My experience is that many American workers are under the false impression that they have some sort of legal right to basic fairness in their workplace. In the absence of a union, that is mostly not true. There is a short list of reasons for which you can't be fired - you can't be fired because of your age or gender or race, for example, (assuming you can find a lawyer to take your case and can prove that was the reason) but in most places, in the absence of a union you can be fired for no reason at all.

    Having said all that, I don't think that's the most important reason for unionizing by any means. Most nurses won't get in disciplinary trouble and most disciplinary actions are justified. Union workplaces generally do better on wages and a lot better on benefits than non-union. And the better nurses unions also provide an effective voice for nurses to protect the quality of practice both in the workplace and in the state legislatures - where all the laws that affect our practice our made. Examples of unions that do a pretty good job in those areas might be NYSNA, Massachusetts Nurses Assn., PASNAP in Pennsylvania and CNA/NNOC. In terms of professional voice, a lot of nurses are also represented by unions that are not mainly nurses' unions. Everyone from Steelworkers, Laborers, Teamsters, Teachers unions, etc represent a few nurses, but in my opinion they do much less well on the professional side, may or may not do OK on the bargaining side.
    Emma123, RN4MERCY, and jsrRN like this.


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