Survey: Would you cross a picket line when RNs were striking? - page 4

This months survey question: Would you cross a picket line when RNs were striking (at your own hospital or another)? Yes or No? FYI: Here are the results from this survey: Q: Would you... Read More

  1. by   cinny071
    I am not a nurse. I'm a Unit Clerk but I would not cross a picket line of any kind!!

    Eight yrs. ago my mother was having treatment for ca and the hospital was talking strike, A few of the staff told her it would be okay to come for her treatments and guess what Mom told them? I will not be here if they strike,because I will not cross the line. I will support the staff who walk the lines to better themselves and the Healthcare System.

    I was so very proud of the stand she took for all the healthcare workers in that setting.

    And by the way she is fine.
  2. by   Jenny P
    Nurse1975, remember that unions are formed for nurses in hospitals when the hospital is no longer listening to the nurses. If the lines of communication are open and freeflowing, there is no need for a nurses' union. I work in a unionized hospital, but that union has been in place since the 1970's. I haven't heard of a unionized hospital no longer needing its' union once a union has been voted in. The nurses prefer it as a means of preventing problems again. Strikes occur because of a breakdown in communication between the nurses (who are represented by the union) and the hospital and there is no other possible way to resolve the conflicts. Nurses do not want to strike unless there is no other way to solve the problems, and the decision to strike is extremely painful to everyone. The discussions (and arguements) are very heated at the time of the vote, and when the strike vote has been decided, there are still many nurses who may disagree. It isn't something that is taken lightly or done without a lot of pain. I think we, as nurses, keep trying to deal with rough situations until it becomes intolerable; and then the vote to strike occurs. No one really "wins" at that point. It is only when the strike is over and the healing process has occured (which may take years!), can one say that someone "won" from the strike.
  3. by   nursejanedough
    I would NEVER cross a picket line. It's wrong. Especially regarding nurses striking, when management has a 10 day notice and we are dealing with human lives! Our family couldn't have Coke (the beverage) in our house for years because my dad got spit on by management when he was trying to help organize a union. (Anyone see the movie Norma Rae?) And can you imagine a white man trying to organize unions (mostly minority workers) in Mississippi after Martin Luther King was shot? He had to report every hour to his bosses to let them know he was still alive and kicking. I admire my dad's bravery, so NO I would never cross a picket line.
  4. by   fergus51
    No....no.....no! I swear we are our own worst enemies. There has to be a good reason why the nurses went on strike in the first place. Even if I do believe the lie about them NEEDING nurses to care for their patients why would I want to work in a place that's so bad they can't even keep their staff at work?

    Doctors went on strike up North this winter (of course they said it was just "withdrawing their services") and the public supported them. Why isn't it the same for nurses? Why are we greedy and uncaring when we want an improvement in working conditions and wages?
  5. by   -jt
    Not too long ago, RNs in upstate Nyack, NY went on strike for safe staffing ratios, restrictions on mandatory overtime, improved working conditions, improved salaries and benefits to attract more nurses to their facility and they also wanted to keep a PTO system and a merit raise system from replacing the more fair systems we always used in this state.

    Their previous contract had expired & they had been negotiating with the hospital for about 2 years, I think, trying everything to avoid having to strike but getting no where.

    When they did finally go on strike, they didnt cross their strike line, they held together, and although the hospital tried everything it could to break them down, they stood strong for 151 days - demanding that the hospital recognize that working conditions and nurse/pt safety come before their profit. And also that in order to attract more Rns so that it could have those safer pt loads, it had to improve benefits & increase salaries.

    The hospital refused for 6 months & tried every union-busting tactic in the book - & it has just been reported in the newspapers that to do that, this rural community hospital spent $19 million on scabs & union-busting! $19 million thrown away just to avoid paying the regular Rns a decent wage & to avoid making improvements that would help nurses, pts, & bring more nurses to work there. $19 million on scabs & union-busting! I still cant get over it. The changes the nurses needed would have cost only a fraction of that.

    When the hospital finally agreed with the nurses, they ended their strike & came away with those workplace, salary, & benefit improvements as well as safe staffing guidelines, restrictions on mandatory ot, kept out the merit raise system, etc etc.
    They got what they were demanding from the beginning anyway so there was no need for the hospital to waste $19 million trying to avoid it.

    If the hospital had just agreed from the beginning, instead of forcing them to strike Christmas Week and keeping them out there till May/June, how much more could have been done for that community with that $19 million?

    Its a fallacy that "crossing a strike line helps the strike end sooner because the hospital doesnt want to pay the high price". The whole point for the hospital IS to keep the strike going long enough until the RNs back down on their demands & they'll pay whatever they have to to do it for as long as it takes. If there were no scabs crossing the line, the hospital would have had to bargain with its own nurses or shut down. THAT would have ended the strike in minutes. In fact, if the hospital couldnt get "replacements" to cross the line, there would have been no strike in the first place.

    Need proof?....

    3 yrs ago, our hospital tried to walk away from negotiations & force us out on strike. we served the 10 day notice for them to start moving the pts elswhere. (no pt is abandoned for a strike - the hospital has 10 days to transfer them to other facilities). Instead it decided to bring in scabs & made no other arrangements. It just planned to continue "business as usual" & wait for us to give in out of necessity. On day 7, the State ordered that the scabs could not work there because the agency did not have a license to do business in NY state. Rather than try to fairly reach an agreement with its own nurses, our hospital administrators had hired an agency that did not even have a license to work there! (how much concern for the pts does that show??) So with 3 days left to go before the strike, no pts moved out & no "replacement nurses" coming in, our hospital frantically called our union & said hey wait a minute, lets sit down & talk!! The strike was postponed, they started negotiating fairly, we came away with a decent contract that we could accept & we never had the strike at all.
    And the CEO along with his henchmen were "allowed to resign".

    When it came to negotiate the next contract after that, the hospital & new CEO kept saying "we dont want a repeat of last time"
    and they had a new attitude towards the nurses & our union.
  6. by   dawngloves
    Originally posted by ceworden:
    YES I WOULD CROSS PICKET LINES!!!! I am an LPN with some college added to help get my RN. However, either way I believe that my duty is to my patients. I can understand that low pay, excessive patient load, downsizing, and working conditions are a major problem. However, why put the patients at risk by not taking care of them. To me this is Patient Abandament and very unethical. My first priority is to my patients, not my salary. I did not go into this field for the money. I went into it for the love of the job and the rewards you recieve everyday from patients.

    Generally, strikes by nurses are not about pay, but improving quality of care. (staffing ratios, mandation). That is called being a patient advocate. I doubt anyone became a nurse for the pay.(Ha Ha).
    Another reason I've seen nurses strike is for benefits. Yes, I am a nurse and I love what I do, but my job is not my first priority and it is not all that I am.
    I am a mother, a wife, a daughter. If I cannot take care of me and my family first, than I cannot put my heart and mind into my work.
    As an agency nurse, I would not accept an assignment at a hospital with an RN strike and would not cross one where I was on staff.
    Solidarity Forever!
  7. by   dawngloves
    Originally posted by shodobe:
    No problem. Someone has to take care of the patients left behind. Does the striking nurses think the patient's family will come in and care for them?I think not.Now if this was a bunch of striking truckers and there was a chance I might get my butt kicked, I might think twice. There has not been a nurse yet that scared me. I can take care of myself and the patients they leave behind.
    I don't know. I know a lot of big mean nurses. Ex police officers and Marines even! LOL!
  8. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by -jt:
    [B]Not too long ago, RNs in upstate Nyack, NY went on strike for safe staffing ratios, restrictions on mandatory overtime, improved working conditions, improved salaries and benefits to attract more nurses to their facility and they also wanted to keep a PTO system and a merit raise system from replacing the more fair systems we always used in this state.

    The hospital refused for 6 months & tried every union-busting tactic in the book - & it has just been reported in the newspapers that to do that, this rural community hospital spent $19 million on scabs & union-busting! $19 million thrown away just to avoid paying the regular Rns a decent wage & to avoid making improvements that would help nurses, pts, & bring more nurses to work there. $19 million on scabs & union-busting! I still cant get over it.[Q]


    Interestingly, after that strike ended, the RNs went back to their jobs but all the heads of administration were let go. The CFO responsible for the mess is now some hot-shot at the scab agency he kept in business all those months & gave a fortune to.
    Nice reward, isnt it.

  9. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]I can understand that low pay, excessive patient load, downsizing, and working conditions are a major problem. However, why put the patients at risk by not taking care of them. To me this is Patient Abandament and very unethical. [Q]

    How can nurses utter that first sentence up there & then say the second & third?

    why not ask the hospitals "why put the pts at risk" everyday with their abusive, cost-cutting policies??? A strike situation is the hospital's doing. They are to blame. Let them answer that question. And while theyre at it, why not ask them how they can inconvenience their pts with a strike in the first place. Ask how much do they care about their pts & why they would rather transfer them to other facilities, or have limited numbers of scabs caring for them instead of just sitting down with their own staff, negotiating fairly, & reaching an agreement both sides can live with?

    Ask them how ethical it is to be forcing their own nurses out the door. Is it the pts who they are putting first & foremost or is the dollar$$$?

    When your hospital is compromising pt care & safety as well as your own health, & refuses to do anything about it no matter how long you talk, beg, plead, what do you, as a patient advocate suggest doing about it? If not to walk out in protest, AFTER giving the hospital 10 days to make other arrangements to take care of those pts, & actually scheduling the start of the strike, what do you suggest should be done to correct the conditions that are presently putting you & the pts at risk? The pts are now at risk everyday by the daily conditions in which you work, not by you taking a stand to improve those conditions.

    With the procedure that nurses unions follow for a strike, No pt is abandoned. I cant understand why that point does not get thru to the people who use the inaccurate statement about abandoning pts as an excuse to be a scab. Maybe its denial to justify the fact that they are a scab - something most working people look down on. Pts would only be abandoned if you took report & walked out in the middle of your shift. Thats not how its done in healthcare.

    As far as ethics, how ethical is it for the hospital to keep you & the pts in the current dismal unsafe conditions all so that they can make another dollar in profit?? While the Nyack, NY hospital told its nurse it could not make the improvements they needed because they couldnt afford it & therefore refused to negotiate, it has just been reported in the news that they actually spent $19 MILLION $$$ on scabs & union-busting. If they were willing to spend that kind of money to keep their nurses out for 6 months & had that kind of money to spend, they certainly could well have afforded to make the workplace improvements needed to attract more Rns, & provide a safer environment for both pts & Rns. There is no excuse for crossing a strike line.

    If anyone is "abandoning" the pts in this situation, it is the hospital they are paying for services.
  10. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]. I can understand that low pay, excessive patient load, downsizing, and working conditions are a major problem..... I went into it for the love of the job and the rewards you recieve everyday... [QUOTE]


    those are some wonderful rewards you just listed. No wonder we have so many people just jumping at the chance to become nurses & have those rewards bestowed upon themselves too.
  11. by   tangrene
    Yes, I would cross picket line. As long as our unions are lumped into the "service" catagory with cashiers and wait persons...then why would I strike for a union like that? (I realize maybe all nursing unions aren't that way)

    This is a profession, not a job. How many "professional" level job markets have members in a union and going on strikes?

  12. by   fergus51
    How many "professions" deal with the working conditions we do? How many professions have allowed their situation to get so bad that they can no longer perform their duties properly. To me staying and allowing unsafe staffing levels, mandatory OT, low wages, etc. is what is really unprofessional.

    By the way, doctors who are probably the most reveered professionals in existance went on strike in my province a few months ago. No one questionned their professionalism.
  13. by   Brenda Braun
    no way.

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