To unionize or not... - page 2

by TravelinCEN 4,986 Views | 31 Comments

I started this thread simply because it was a very hot topic on another thread where someone wanted some advice... I hope to generate some friendly discussions regarding experiences and opinions. I don't want to get blasted for... Read More


  1. 2
    I'm so uninformed that I did not realize that there was an official part of this site dedicated to union/collective bargaining. Sorry I started the thread in the wrong place.

    Here I thought no one else was wondering about any of this except me.
    herring_RN and lindarn like this.
  2. 3
    I have on a number of previous threads asked those opposed to unions to give a viable / effective alternative to get an intransigent / bad employer to change there relationship towards there employees . The only responses have been either to move onto another employer or shut up .
    While unions that are too powerful , may abuse their power , it is the case that employers who have unfettered power also abuse their power ( simply look at some of the other threads , you will find many examples of effects of poor management ).
    wooh, CCL RN, and lindarn like this.
  3. 2
    Quote from BabyLady
    The unions are who votes in their high offices...and people forget that.

    The auto-workers union is a good example of where they ruined their own profession...they got so many benefits that it priced cars to where nobody would buy them.
    I beg to differ. I was the, "proud owner", of two of GMs biggest "Gems"- The Chevy Vega, and the Chevy Chevette. I have never owned more poorly designed cars in my life!! The Ford Pinto is another example of the poor quality cars then Detroit sold in the 70's and 80's.

    THAT is the reason for the American automakers demise. They just turned out poory designed cars, that got lousy gas mileage, broke down for no reason and couln't be fixed, the list goes on.

    I know that Auto workers were overpaid, and that did not help the matter, but ultimately, Detroit did itself in with the crap that they sold to the American public.

    They lost and entire generation of car customers, when the public figured out that foreign cars might cost a little more up front, but they were by far much better quality cars, that ran better, with less things going wrong with them, and the public was hooked. The rest is history.

    A foreign car that was not very good, was an Italian car, the Fiat- or as the guy in the gas station referred to it, "Fix It Again Tony"! Or for Fords, "Found On Road Dead", or Figure On Repairs Daily".

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    Last edit by lindarn on Feb 28, '11
    wooh and OC_An Khe like this.
  4. 1
    Quote from lindarn
    Well, if you don' believe in having nursing unions, what do you suggest that nurses do to protect themselves, and ultimately, their patients? Say,"pretty please may I use the Bathroom, because I have to pee"? Beg for more help because you have been assigned 10 patients to care for, and you cannot be in 10 places at once?

    Do you think that management is going to improve staffing, pay and benefits, out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts?

    If Nurses have to go on strike to get what they need to improve staffing, working condition, better pay and benefits for nurses, so be it. The PTB caused the disatisfaction in nurses by their management actions, and THEY are responsible for staffing the hospital. They have had plenty of time to work out the problems, and their arrogance is what causes nurses to make the decision to go on strike.

    As you fight nurses having a union, which means that nurses have a contract that management has to abide by, do you realize that ALL MANAGERS, AND CEOs, ADMINISTRATION, have contracts, that ensure their pay, benefits, working conditions, etc, to protect them? Why shouldn't nurses have the same protection? It will never happen until we demand it, and join unions. Then National Nurses United, is a good start.


    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    Sorry I do not need a Union to let me pee at work. If you do not get what you want and they decide to strike, do you walk out on your patients? If you do, then you are breaking what you pledged to do for your patients. Research the hopsital you want to work at and see what their benefits are before you agree to work with them. I worked at a wonderful hospital that increased nursing pay so that they did not lose nurses to bigger markets. Schedules were fair and assignments were safe. I would never walk out and abandon my patients, then I would be a scab. Join a union if you desire but not everyone agrees with them.
    rudeRN likes this.
  5. 4
    Quote from manusko
    Sorry I do not need a Union to let me pee at work. If you do not get what you want and they decide to strike, do you walk out on your patients? If you do, then you are breaking what you pledged to do for your patients. Research the hopsital you want to work at and see what their benefits are before you agree to work with them. I worked at a wonderful hospital that increased nursing pay so that they did not lose nurses to bigger markets. Schedules were fair and assignments were safe. I would never walk out and abandon my patients, then I would be a scab. Join a union if you desire but not everyone agrees with them.
    Lol!
    Where, or where, would I find out about pay, benefits, (only during an interview) ratios, pt loads (they lied about that in my interview), future raises (it's been 3 years now without raises) overbearing, unrelenting, unfeeling, management (hid that in my interview)?

    So do tell, where can I find all this information out? and what happens when management changes? or when the economy takes a dump?

    I'll tell you what happens. We suffer.

    And I'm happy that your hospitals treats you right. You have past union members, who have walked out, to thank for that.

    Next time you go to your wonderful workplace, say a little thank-you to them for the sacrifices they made for you...
    Zombi RN, taalyn_1, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from CCL RN
    Lol!
    Where, or where, would I find out about pay, benefits, (only during an interview) ratios, pt loads (they lied about that in my interview), future raises (it's been 3 years now without raises) overbearing, unrelenting, unfeeling, management (hid that in my interview)?

    So do tell, where can I find all this information out? and what happens when management changes? or when the economy takes a dump?

    I'll tell you what happens. We suffer.

    And I'm happy that your hospitals treats you right. You have past union members, who have walked out, to thank for that.

    Next time you go to your wonderful workplace, say a little thank-you to them for the sacrifices they made for you...
    The employee hand book lays out evaluations and how pay raises work at my hospital. There has not been a union at my hospital so I do not how that has helped me. All employees have an annual evaluation and recieve a raise annually based off of that evaluation. You obviously have been burnt by your work places, but I am not convinced that a union would make my workplace better. The studies I have read stated that the pay and benefits are better at unionized hospitals but their morale is worse. Before you ask, it has been 2 years since I read that study and would have to find it. I would rather make a little less and enjoy my job, than to make good money and hate going to work everyday.

    Again. How do you walk out on those paitents who need your care?
  7. 7
    Quote from newway
    Agreed unions can get big headed and greedy if not kept in check by their own members. The auto industry is a good example of that, but they are not the only downfall of U.S. auto makers. There was plenty being siphoned off the top as well. To be fair as well even non union manufacturing can't compete with chinas cheap labor and manipulation of its currency.


    There are lazy workers in both union and non union roles. I worked union and non union in a past job (construction). The union guys worked just as hard, they just weren’t in a position to be exploited. I think healthcare needs a union otherwise hospitals will treat and pay their workers at the minimum required to keep it staffed, which leaves more money for the top.


    If you belong to a union, you HAVE to be an active member. You have to go to meetings, you have to make sure you know what is going on and be an active participant. Damand action from your union representative and if you are not getting results, vote them OUT.

    Unions are only as strong as their members...just everyone remember this:

    Companies did not stop child labor, offer overtime, workman's compensation, health insurance, vacation/personal/sick time and a safe working environment because they wanted to.

    They did it because unions were formed that DEMANDED IT!!!
    eagle78, Zombi RN, taalyn_1, and 4 others like this.
  8. 8
    Quote from manusko
    The employee hand book lays out evaluations and how pay raises work at my hospital. There has not been a union at my hospital so I do not how that has helped me. All employees have an annual evaluation and recieve a raise annually based off of that evaluation. You obviously have been burnt by your work places, but I am not convinced that a union would make my workplace better. The studies I have read stated that the pay and benefits are better at unionized hospitals but their morale is worse. Before you ask, it has been 2 years since I read that study and would have to find it. I would rather make a little less and enjoy my job, than to make good money and hate going to work everyday.

    Again. How do you walk out on those paitents who need your care?
    Oh please. TPTB get PLENTY of notice of an upcoming strike, and they actually don scrubs (gasp) and work themselves! Plus, plenty of scabs lie in wait to fill the temp positions.

    Btw, my employee handbook states we get yearly raises too. It's states a lot of things that aren't true.

    You are lucky in that your workplace hasn't screwed you. Hope you stay lucky.



    And let me answer your question. How would I walk out on pts who need me?

    My pts need a nurse who isn't worried about rogue management
    My pts need a nurse who can eat freely and take safe breaks
    My pts need a nurse who isn't overwhelmed with too many patients.
    My pts need a nurse is isn't being forced to work straight through breaks, lunches,and past her scheduled shift.

    How could I walk out? Easily. The pts will get a Scab replacement right away, elective cases get cancelled, Hospitals go on divert. Somehow, they all survive.

    And if it weren't for all the nurses in the past who had made the same decision, then you wouldnt have the great workplace that you have now.
  9. 2
    It only takes a change in management, or hospital ownership, to take things from great, and go "to hell in a handbasket". It will be that quick.

    With how managements and hospital takeovers, managers coming and going, I would not be so quick to criticize those of us who have been to hell and back due to poor, greedy management. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair, and so can hundreds of other nurses on this listserve.

    I am glad that you are happy where you work, but if I were you, I would watch my back.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    CCL RN and wooh like this.
  10. 9
    The single most professional thing a nurse can do is to band together with others to control their professional life. You could get a lot of argument and different opinions about what makes a "profession" as opposed to just an occupation. But one thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that a profession sets its own standards of what is acceptable: an acceptable level of compensation, an acceptable workload, acceptable working conditions, acceptable standard of training, acceptable level of performance. As a single nurse, you can only do what management tells you or go elsewhere. But there are only a limited number of "elsewheres". And in the community where I live, there are none unless you want a long commute.
    We had a hospital with an excellent standard of care, a decent concern for the employee and a great reputation in the community. Then our long-time CEO retired and we got new management with a very corporate oriented, bottom line approach. They told us that the nurses and the community were used to care that was "too good". Our CEO told us in exactly these words that we were used to giving "Cadillac care" but that we were going to have to get used to giving "Volkswagon care". They increased workloads, took away support staff, took away our pension and cut our health benefits. And they told us over and over that if we didn't like it we could go elsewhere. But most of us were rooted in the community, so we decided not to go elsewhere and unionized instead.
    Now all that management is long gone and we're still here, with health benefits protected and a predictable salary scale and we are slowly rebuilding the trust of our community that was lost by the previous administration.
    Some people think they don't need a union because they have a decent manager, but that management can change at any minute. I'd rather depend on the certainty of a contract than the goodwill of a manager.
    eagle78, Zombi RN, TravelinCEN, and 6 others like this.


Top