striking nurses - page 4

by amandasdad 14,921 Views | 41 Comments

my 2 yo daughter was severely "damaged" because of a nursing strike. We were 2 weeks post op from open heart surgery. She went downhill fast one day. At hospital, we crossed the line to get her cared for. We ended up in ped.... Read More


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    I have to agree with Stanley. Our union was instrumental in changing job descriptions to more closely follow actual work done. This increased our pay and resulted in better working conditions by decease in mand. OT. They have also prevented many of the rollbacks in insurance coverage and retirement benefits.

    Strikes are never pleasant. They cause poor working relationships between middle management and labor but it really is the last resort. No one wants to go without paychecks. Usually management staff cannot step into the workers shoes as they have become too far removed from the work that needs to be done.

    One of the fallacies of unions is that they represent the bad workers and ignore the good ones. While every employee is entitled to union rep. It is the good worker that gains the most from unionization. They are protected from arbitrary changes in employment/conditions.

    I am very outspoken and am not personally male dominated, I recognize I live in a society that is male dominated and in need of reformation. We have come some distance since Lillian Wald, Dorothea Dix, and Lavinia Dock but have a long way to go.
    Even Clara Barton said " I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay".

    I enjoy the gains brought about by union activists and support nurses continuing to achieve better working conditions.
    herring_RN and lindarn like this.
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    In August of 1966 about 3,000 registered nurses at many hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area turned in their resignation. One nurse said on TV, "The hospital pays the gardener more than it pays the nurses. Do they value the plants more than the patients?"

    The nurses won a living wage. This brought their yearly pay to about the same as public school teachers. Teachers were off for two weeks at Christmas, one at Easter week, and three months in the summer.

    Later that month public sector nurses held the first ever nurses strike in the United States.

    The real beginning of nurses being treated as people and professionals was in 1943 when the California Nurses voted for collective bargaining.
    Registered nurses were not allowed to smoke or wear nail polish on their day off. Pay was $4.00 a day. A bit less than 50 cents an hour due to time for report. 8 hour shifts were standard. Often with mandated rotating shifts.
    Minimum wage in 1946 was 40 cents an hour so RNs were paid more than the minimum.

    Factory workers were paid more than nurses and had no restrictions on their activities or attire when not working.
    Last edit by herring_RN on Feb 15, '09
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    Quote from Iam46yearsold
    You keep talking history. Unions have really lost the largest amount of their influence 50 years ago. Back when they were all allied with criminal organizations. Is that the history you keep referring to.
    I am sorry; but after reading your statement, I just have to butt in here. What I learned in history and saw pieces of it myself, was that the true downfall of the Union power was related to the act by Reagan regarding the Air Traffic Controllers. He essentially started the concept that union contracts and negotiations are meaningless since you can just turn around and fire those who strike.

    Don't know if you grew up in one of the union rich states because a lot of how unions contributed to safe working environments could only be seen first hand and through stories told to us by our parents and grandparents. You just cannot get a true taste for them (pro and con) being exposed only to right-to-work states.
    Last edit by loricatus on Sep 30, '08 : Reason: correction of typos
    lindarn, aknottedyarn, and herring_RN like this.
  4. 1
    Quote from loricatus
    I am sorry; but after reading your statement, I just have to butt in here. What I learned in history and saw pieces of it myself, was that the true downfall of the Union power was related to the act by Reagan regarding the Air Traffic Controllers. He essentially started the concept that union contracts and negotiations are meaningless since you can just turn around and fire those who strike.

    Don't know if you grew up in one of the union rich states because a lot of how unions contributed to safe working environments could only be seen first hand and through stories told to us by our parents and grandparents. You just cannot get a true taste for them (pro and con) being exposed only to right-to-work states.

    Yes, that is true. Our parents and our grandparents, can tell us the way it was. In the way that they saw it. Not in the way it actually was. Again their is no proof, objective proof, that the unions did all this for nursing. outside of reading prounion rhetoric. And reading studies bought and paid for by the unions, themselves. These changes in nursing, are directly attributable to changes in technology, changes in society, changes in economics.
    If unions were more effective in anyway, then teachers would truly be paid more than what they are.And rightfully so.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Quote from Iam46yearsold
    Yes, that is true. Our parents and our grandparents, can tell us the way it was. In the way that they saw it. Not in the way it actually was. Again their is no proof, objective proof, that the unions did all this for nursing. outside of reading prounion rhetoric. And reading studies bought and paid for by the unions, themselves. These changes in nursing, are directly attributable to changes in technology, changes in society, changes in economics.
    If unions were more effective in anyway, then teachers would truly be paid more than what they are.And rightfully so.
    What is the objective proof that the memories of old nurses like me, the history books, and news accounts are untrue?

    Please provide objective proof that the unified actions of organized nurses is not instrumental in the changes in society that contribute to inprovements in nursing.

    The fact is that nurses win improvements in patient care, salaries, and benefits in union contracts.
    Then non union hospitals must make similar improvements to retain and recruit nurses.

    I know WE stopped the restructuring and replacement of registered nurses by unlicensed personnel in California by writing and working for the Safe Staffing Law that makes it a crime to allow non nurses to practice nursing.

    ...A health facility licensed pursuant to subdivision (a),
    (b), or (f), of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code shall not
    assign unlicensed personnel to perform nursing functions in lieu of
    a registered nurse and may not allow unlicensed personnel to
    perform functions under the direct clinical supervision of a
    registered nurse that require a substantial amount of scientific
    knowledge and technical skills, including, but not limited to, any of
    the following:


    (1) Administration of medication.
    (2) Venipuncture or intravenous therapy.
    (3) Parenteral or tube feedings.
    (4) Invasive procedures including inserting nasogastric tubes,
    inserting catheters, or tracheal suctioning.
    (5) Assessment of patient condition.
    (6) Educating patients and their families concerning the patientís
    health care problems, including postdischarge care.
    (7) Moderate complexity laboratory tests....

    http://www.calnurses.org/assets/pdf/...b_394_text.pdf
    RN4MERCY, Atheos, and lindarn like this.
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    This conversation got way sidelined!
    The point is that the current system is broken and no one person by themselves can fix it. Everyone loses; the family, the patient, the nurses who carry the guilt of being put in the awful situation of put up or shut up, the other nurses who sell their souls for a few dollars, and ultimately society. We all need to work together and that means using all our resources.
    Really IMHO unions are all about organizing workers to deal with management. Plain & simple. Like any community organization, it becomes what you make it.
    Nurses are a different breed of unionist. We look to working with each other as a way to not only advocate, but to have some power to make those changes that are important. it's easy to ignore one person, but not 50 or even 25. And yes we really are new to the self empowerment only because we now have more professional level wages.
    Besides if it was so easy for nurses to stand up for themselves without a union, then we would see a healthcare system based on prevention, where anyone was covered regardless of their financial or other status. That was the way Florence designed it.
    Don't be ignorant to the fact that nurses are changing the labor movement , not the other way around.
    Teachers also have similar problems, and I don't think it's a coincidence they are both female dominated professions.
    lindarn, RN4MERCY, laborer, and 2 others like this.
  7. 0
    After reading this post, I am overtly ashamed of the unionzed nurses on this forum. I am especially sad that I am lumped in with them as a RN. The strike DID effect the outcome of this child and for you all to blame it on the hospital management is awful. The fact is that nurses should not be walking out on patients, regardless. This is just another strike in the book against unions. I am very sad for the loss of this child and there is no excuse.
  8. 0
    Quote from picupnp
    after reading this post, i am overtly ashamed of the unionzed nurses on this forum. i am especially sad that i am lumped in with them as a rn . the strike did effect the outcome of this child and for you all to blame it on the hospital management is awful ( why ? , management played a part in the strike , so they can share the blame you place wholly on the union , it takes two to tango ). the fact is that nurses should not be walking out on patients, regardless. this is just another strike in the book against unions. i am very sad for the loss of this child ( are we even reading the same thread ?,the child in this case did not die , we are only told "my 2 yo daughter was severely "damaged" " ) , and there is no excuse.
    picupnp you espouse your anti union views freely ( which is wholly acceptable in our society , but it would be nice if you would make accurate reference to what you read in a thread , reread the op).

    are you this outspoken when a hospital chooses to withdraw care ( by closing a unit )from patients ( in some cases this has been done without any forwarning of staff and patients ) , or is it only a problem when staff withdraw their labor ? ( which , by law they can only do after giving prior notice of a forthcoming strike ) .

    i , like you am unhappy about the outcome for this patient , but when the nurses went on strike i am sure the management , told the community that they had adequate coverage , that nobody would be placed at risk , the hospital will remain open , so come on down . obviously they were wrong , they did not insure adequate coverage , so in your opinion it's the unions fault , not managements ?!
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    Quote from PICUPNP
    The fact is that nurses should not be walking out on patients, regardless.
    That's not a fact... that's your opinion.

    Really? Regardless? Of anything? The nurses should just take it and take it, regardless of whatever it is, because of a responsibility that's not shared by anybody else?

    Talk about being a doormat.
    Nurse_Diane and morte like this.
  10. 1
    I have never had to strike.
    I have supported colleagues when they did.
    They were striking over unsafe assignments and being floated to units where they were nor competent.
    Since the ratio law was implemented I haven't attended a strike.
    But have read about one called because the hospital system was not complying with regulations of the Department of Public Health and thus endangering patients. The nurses wanted contract language stating that the hospital would comply with the law.
    When CNA/NNOC RNs strike the nurses scheduled to work and most of the others are outside in uniform ready to work if needed.
    Nursing management is given cell phone numbers of "picket captain RNs" to call if there is any concern that patient care may be affected. Then on or more nurse(s) from the affected unit(s) will go in to provide care.

    The strikes I attended this century staffed replacement RNs at nearly 1:1. The LVNs and secretaries told their RN co-workers that they and the managers helped with orientation and such.

    Of course management could have prevented the strike by agreeing to continue bargaining in good faith.
    RN4MERCY likes this.


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