Nursing Unions...what are the downsides?

  1. 1
    The hospital that I am interested in working at after graduation has a nurse's union. When I happened to mention it to a friend of mine who is currently an RN at a different hospital, she said she would never work where there is a union. She wouldn't really elaborate on why she felt unions were bad and I really can't see too many negatives myself. What are your opinions on unionized hospitals?
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 21 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    Rewards are by seniority, not merit.
    Dues.
    Protection of bad employees.
    PNP1965, Pepper The Cat, nursejoed, and 3 others like this.
  5. 11
    I'm strongly pro-union so take this with that in mind. Most Americans today have experienced a life time of anti-union propaganda, so many people have negative opinions but don't really know why. It's clearly true that some unions are better than others. I'm a fan of nurse-run unions for nurses.
    When people ask what the negative is my best answer is that to make a union work, the members have to get involved. If everyone just sits back the union won't be successful or serve you well.
    Jarnaes, lindarn, matt2401, and 8 others like this.
  6. 6
    If you research who has gotten significant raises in this economy you will find it's mostly union nurses. Who has had pay cuts and lay offs? Non union facilities.
    lmferrrentino, lindarn, ohcomeon, and 3 others like this.
  7. 3
    A union is composed of people with all the strengths and weaknesses of people. Just because they speak of fairness toward all, does not mean that fairness exists. There is a sense of politics and its negatives all connected to the union and the people in the union who wield power. Instead of having one political "system" to deal with, the employee has two.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, ohcomeon, and wtbcrna like this.
  8. 5
    While I am not a nurse at my last job we did have a union and thank goodnesses we did because the Texas-based company was breaking all kinds of California laws and we were powerless to stop them until we voted in the union. I do agree there are bad ones and good ones.
    Jarnaes, lindarn, ohcomeon, and 2 others like this.
  9. 5
    I wouldn't work at a place that wasn't protected by a union.
    Jarnaes, lindarn, ohcomeon, and 2 others like this.
  10. 2
    I have 3 thoughts on the topic. IMHO:
    In principal, I think unions have their place, and nursing sorely needs to be united and better represented which only a union seems able. Professional nursing organizations have failed miserably in this way.
    Unionization seems to create a game between unions and management. For every action there's a counter action.
    I worked in a non nursing union for several years. I got called on the carpet by the union because I was making my job look too easy, and therefore making other (dues paying) union members look bad. Seemed like mediocrity was favored.
    PNP1965 and ohcomeon like this.
  11. 5
    Downside: 1. dues 2. politics 3. seniority rules which are unfair to the lower senior people

    Upside: 1. Better staff/patient ratios 2. Higher wages 3. better benefits 4. administration can't just make stupid and arbitrary rules that jeopardize patient care and safety 5. defined pension plans 6. NLRB rules

    Of course I am a strong union supporter!
    Jarnaes, lindarn, ohcomeon, and 2 others like this.
  12. 6
    union dues is one downside -- other than that, i see mostly positives.

    and for those who mentioned getting vacations, etc. by seniority -- you may not like it if you're low senior, but at least it's fair. it's measurable and it's objective. everyone knows what the decisions are based on, so the manager cannot arbitrarily give summer vacation to her friends and make someone else take theirs in march.

    i had a much better salary when i was working for a union hospital, and the working conditions were better as well.
    Jarnaes, lindarn, tyvin, and 3 others like this.


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