Nursing Unions: Pros and Cons - page 3

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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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    I work in TN where nurses are not allowed to have a union. TN is a right to work state where you can be fired and the cause for your termination does not have to be disclosed. When labor laws are broken, it is justified by the labor board because facility policy supersedes the labor laws. High patient: low nurse ratios are the staffing norm. If someone is overheard discussing unionism or collective bargaining per policy administration/HR is to be informed immediately and the organizer will face disciplinary action/ termination. If you need to work, either shut-up and take it or look for work elsewhere. The good-ol-boy system is alive and well here. Would a union improve working conditions? I don't know but I would like the opportunity to find out.
    lindarn and laborer like this.
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    Quote from beeble
    We are union at my hospital, and they fire nurses easily, it seems to me. They (Mgrs/admin) pore over every days charting on that person, find the mistakes (as no one is perfect 100% of the time), buld a case, make multiple trips to HR, then, Bye! It is kind of scary. So I don't see the union as protecting me there, at least at my hospital.

    I am totally in favor of unions/labor rights, ect, but our union seems to be neglecting our hospital (out of the many area hospitals they represent) IMO. They rarely communicaete anything with us, even during the layoff threat period, ect I have been disappointed with this particular union. (But we will get emails about their State lobbying and how we should contact our representatives about this issue or that, and they seemed focused on the national climate-- like the recent strike in Chicago-- via email. But they can't seem to email us on OUR news.

    I have emailed the union about this lack of communication, and they emailed back, not a reply to my concerns, but 'do i want to be a representative'....Maybe I am just not getting it.
    Offering you a position as a "representative" is the first step... a great way to shut you up while the union still receives your money.
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    Since 1947 , the corporate mind set is to make american workers into slaves !
    lindarn likes this.
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    Asking someone to become a representative in the circumstances described above , is simply a response to someone who has shown enough initiative to at least interact with their union , they are saying if you are interested in change why not join us and try to make that change occur . Many nurses in unions seem to forget it is not a disembodied entity that comes in like a knight in shining armor 9 or if you are anti union , some bedraggled vagabond on a dying donkey :-) ), but that they are members and they are the union so if they were active it could better represent their wishes .
    Last edit by nicurn001 on Dec 9, '12 : Reason: for clarification
    Fiona59, NRSKarenRN, and laborer like this.
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    EVERY ONE is allowed to unionize. They cannot forbid anyone to unionize, just make it incredibly difficult to do. That is why, "Right to work", (for less), laws are so unfair.

    FEDERAL LABOR LAWS SUPERCEDE ANY AND ALL FACILITY POLICIES!! NOTHING can supercede federal laws. In fact, FEDERAL LAW supercedes all other laws/policies, public, private, facility, local, city and state. Period. That is why the US Supreme Court, (not State Supreme Courts), rules on all laws that are questioned for Constitutionallity. They are the last word.

    I am not sure who sold you that bag of goods, but they are mistaken.

    Go onto, "Findlaw", a free legal cite, and look up federal labor laws. They are in the 46 USC section of the federal labor laws.

    I believe that most nurses would benefit from a class on Labor and Employment Law. You can contact your local State Community College, and ask if you can take a course in Employment Law that is part of the Paralegal Program in the college. It is well worth the cost.

    I have been tossing the idea around in my head for awhile, to partner with an attorney, and offer a class on Labor and Employment Law for nurses. It is much needed. Knowledge is Power.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    noyesno, Fiona59, CrufflerJJ, and 2 others like this.
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    I am a recent graduate and have been at my first job for about 6 months. The hospital where I work is union so as a condition of employment I had to agree (forced) to join the nurses union. My state, Michigan just become the 24th state with a 'right to work' law prohibiting unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers. I worked my way through nursing school but have never worked in a unionized business, this is my first experience with unions.

    In my very short time as a union member I was asked (told) to write my state representatives and the Governor to not sign this legislation into law. I was given form letters and petitions to sign and mail, and asked to "donate" my time and money. We were told by the union if this legislation passed, management would roll back all the negotiated improvements in work rules, benefits, wages and retirement.

    A lot of time, money and energy was spent on fighting this legislation, but it became law anyway. What is the outcome for the local union? You guest it, a lot of union members are now quitting the union since membership is no longer a requirement. It's amazing how many die hard union members bailed on the union when they no longer had to pay union dues to keep their jobs.

    Don't get me wrong, the union is still alive and active, but at this point I'm not sure how effective they can be with it's membership dropping. I've no hard numbers but just talking to people here, anecdotally 30 to 50 percent say because union membership is no longer a requirement for employment they are out. As for me, I'm still undecided on what I'll do, stay a member or leave. I guess my decision will depend on what actually happens within the next 6 months. If the union basically becomes impotent and is on life support due to lack of membershp I see no reason to stay. At that point it just would be kinder to just admit there is nothing more to be done and the union cannot recover; so go ahead an just pull the plug, employees vote to decertify.
    Last edit by Anthony330 on Dec 9, '12 : Reason: typo's
    CrufflerJJ likes this.
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    Hello, I moved from Houston TX, to Seattle WA. In Houston we did not have unions and everything in my opinion was just fine. In Seattle, unions set wages/ yearly pay increases and there in no incentive to do more than the bare minimum. I've have never worked with so many lazy nurses in my life since working in Washington State. Unions are useless in my book, and all they do is take your money. In Houston pay increases are based on job performance not a union wage scale! A nurse with 15yrs experience that gives 100% will receive the same raise as a nurse that does the bare minimal. Ridiculous! Nurses run to the union for every little thing. Unions just harbor lazy nurses.
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    ... why are you still there working ?
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    What about the boss who doesn't like you, and inspite of, "giving 100%", the boss fires you on some trumped up charges, or worse, reports you to the BON. And blacklists you. Then you can't get a job. What was the name of that agency in the DFW area of Texas? Group One? You have little or no recourse, besides paying for a lawyer at top dollar. Which most nurses cannot afford, unless the attorney takes the case on a contingency basis.

    What about the hospital who decides not to give raises to anyone, except the administrators, and head honchos. Happens more often than we like to admit.

    The moral of the story is, you have NO RIGHTS without a contract. They can change working conditions, stop the pension plans, or anything they want, and you cannot stop them.

    THEY all have employment contracts, why shouldn't the work bee, who is actually doing all the work, not be protected by a contract? If any profession needs 100% union protection, it is the nursing profession. There are stil too many, "Martry Marys", who believe that nursing is a religious calling, and conduct themselves in labor issues as such. This attitude has hampered nursing in actually demanding the pay, benefits, and respect (or lack thereof), that we deserve.

    We are now witnessing a systemic dismantling of the nursing profession by the PTB. They are flooding the profession with new grads, and disempowering us by the sheer numbers of nurses who are entering the profession. We are a dime a dozen, and that is the way they want it.

    THAT is why unions are needed in the nursing profession. If you don't like it, leave.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    tewdles, Fiona59, Sisyphus, and 1 other like this.
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    I am so on board with organizing a nurse union I am salivating :b
    I don't know where management is but too many nurse managers sold there soul to money, greed and power. Luckily there a lot more of us than there are of them. I'm in CT and I'm ready


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