Nursing Unions: Pros and Cons - page 2

by lookup 53,897 Views | 34 Comments

Hello all, At my school I am currently involved in creating a presentation that will discuss the pros and cons of having a Nursing Union and the pros and cons of not having a Nursing Union. I have found some good (but not... Read More


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    Quote from lookup
    Hello all,

    At my school I am currently involved in creating a presentation that will discuss the pros and cons of having a Nursing Union and the pros and cons of not having a Nursing Union.

    I have found some good (but not particularly great) sources about the benefits of nursing unions but have not found much on the benefits of not having a union.

    One question I have is : Do nursing unions contribute to nursing complacency? I imagine this could be a problem but I have not found any literature to back this up. Of course that is just one concern I can think of. I need to present more on both sides of the issue. Does anyone know of some good articles or other resources that address this topic?

    Thanks.
    For resources ....check out the National Nurses United website at www.nationalnursesunited.org or go to their Facebook page www.facebook.com/nationalnurses It's the largest union for RNs.
    WIN007 and lindarn like this.
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    Quote from KDP07
    I work for a hospital that is union. One of the Con's is that there is lazy nurses, who make everyone miserable while doing absolutely minimal work and they cannot be fired. We have one nurse that is 15-30 minutes late every shift. Us night shift nurses pray we do not have to give report to her so we can get out in a decent time. We have a charge nurse who is a nightmare during the day, and says everything is night shifts fault and I do not know a nurse that wish she was not fired for her behavior. There have been numerous incident reports made because of her behavior. Since we are union we are stuck with her. Basically unless someone falls asleep at night, and gets caught no one gets fired. It is truly a bad thing. On the other hand there is a lot of job security.
    If you work with lazy nurses who are not fired, that's a problem of poor management. The union's legal obligation -- its contract with its members -- is to ensure that they are not fired without just cause. If you work with a nurse who is chronically late and never penalized, you need to ask why the manager who is responsible for him or her does not document and pursue progressive discipline, up to and including termination.
    Here.I.Stand, CrufflerJJ, IowaKaren, and 4 others like this.
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    Quote from classicdame
    Texas is a right-to-work state, which means even if my hospital goes union I do not have to join. Unions are limited legally by what they can accomplish for the worker, although a lot of people believe otherwise. It would be good research for you to determine what they can/cannot actually provide. A friend who used to work in CA said her major complaint was not being able to work things out between your supervisor and the staff. EVERYTHING had to be approved by the Union first. So if you are wanting off next week due to family event, you have to get it pre-approved as opposed to just asking a co-worker to switch days with you. Unions have decreased in size (all trades) because the benefits for workers that unions pushed for are mostly covered by law now. So there is little need for them.
    "The benefits for workers that unions pushed for are mostly covered by law now."

    Really? When did health insurance become guaranteed by law? Raises? Retirement plans? Paid vacation time, sick days, protection against being fired without just cause -- all on the law books? I missed it.
    Chico David RN, Zombi RN, laborer, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from classicdame
    Texas is a right-to-work state, which means even if my hospital goes union I do not have to join. Unions are limited legally by what they can accomplish for the worker, although a lot of people believe otherwise. It would be good research for you to determine what they can/cannot actually provide. A friend who used to work in CA said her major complaint was not being able to work things out between your supervisor and the staff. EVERYTHING had to be approved by the Union first. So if you are wanting off next week due to family event, you have to get it pre-approved as opposed to just asking a co-worker to switch days with you. Unions have decreased in size (all trades) because the benefits for workers that unions pushed for are mostly covered by law now. So there is little need for them.
    My experience with an RN union is different. I've traded days with no problem unless the other nurse wasn't able to take an IABP patient and I was the only one on who could.

    It is also OK to get a part time person to work for you. But not if it becomes overtime for the nurse working your shift. I'm sure it would be fine as far as the union is concerned but management understandably wants to avoid overtime.
    NRSKarenRN and laborer like this.
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    Being in a unionized hospital has not limited the swapping of shifts , it has the same restrictions as at any corporation ie. as long as skill mix of available staff remains ok and it doesn't place financial burden upon employer then it is OK .
    What is limited is that those who were managements pets and used that power to their benefit ( eg getting choice of shifts , overtime ,vacations ), cannot negotiate for themselves , obviously if you had that power you won't be happy at its loss.It is often this group that works ardently to keep unions out of the facility
    Sisyphus, lindarn, Chico David RN, and 2 others like this.
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    Good point.

    Thankfully, TX doesn't have nursing unions - however, that's also not a great thing either. Seems like nursing is the most back-stabbing profession I've ever witnessed. Get a complaint from someone, usually aides or someone who wants your shift/position, and it's bye-bye.

    Amazing but in 2012, ONLY 13% of American workers are union. You wouldn't think so by the pull they've got in the elections coming up.
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    Texas does have a union nurses.
    Perhaps more will organize. Perhaps not.

    Texas | National Nurses United
    lindarn likes this.
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    Here is my take on unions:

    Pros:
    • Allows the little guy to stick up for themselves against administration
    • A lot of unionized facilities I've seen actually have fairer patient ratios than non-unionized.
    • You can appeal a termination a lot easier.
    • In trouble? The existence of Weingarten Right's is at least on paper a huge pro labor provision.

    Cons:
    • I've noticed in all the places I work in/applied to it's basically mandatory to join the union.
    • Does protect a a noticable number of underdeserving folks that should have been canned.
    • Sometimes those union dues seem high and for what? Sometimes people feel their interests are not being served but a select few higher ups within the union themslves.
    • In America in general, Union membership is down and it seems they've lost a lot of pull.
    • Sometimes it's a little too focused on "seniority". But in the defense of the union, my work is non unionized a lot of things are based on seniority as well.
    • Internal job positions must stay within the union for x amount of months and if not filled they can be released to the public. Ok, this one is only in one facility I've been trying to apply for since I graduated so I'm biased on thsi one.

    All in all I think the existence of labor unions were partly responsible for the rise of the United States as an economic power almost a century ago and should continue to exist, but like big business if they become...well too big they come inefficient and corrupt as the corporations they are supposed to protect us from.
    anniv91106, laborer, IowaKaren, and 1 other like this.
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    As I read through this thread, one of the more hilarious observations that I've made over the years (having worked both union and non union sites) is that there is a general misconception that unions will somehow protect the lazy from being fired. So, let's turn the equation around and ask, has anyone ever seen lazy nurses or aides working in NON union jobs? I have; and plenty. IMHO, non union jobs probably have an equal number of non productive personnel; being in a union or not has nothing to do with their survival skills. The bottom line is, the ne'er do wells often know how to kiss the right booty and that's really why they stay in their positions. The fact is, that unions cannot ever protect or save a job for someone who violated company rules, that is, unless management allows it.

    Frankly, having a union is rather like being Mirandized, or getting due process. Or lets put it this way, just because someone has a defense attorney doesn't mean he'll get off scott free. It just means that he will have all of his legal rights observed. Thus, having a union participate in your employment is the best way to ensure that you get all the benefits and protections as afforded by labor law.

    Of course, there are corrupt organization and unions are no exception; even entire police departments have been put under federal oversight after compelling evidence that emerges of criminal wrongdoing. However, such should not be used to broad brush all police departments. Likewise, not every union is corrupt and the bulk of them are actually quite useful and helpful to their members.
    Chico David RN, laborer, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
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    The union may provide "job security" for all, but only until the money runs out. When that happens, something has to give, and the union leadership will be the last to concede anything. The union followers will suffer.

    Just plain math (and yes, I am a "free agent").
    Caribbean Character likes this.


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