To Unionize or Not To Unionize: Questions that every nurse should ask themselves | allnurses

To Unionize or Not To Unionize: Questions that every nurse should ask themselves

  1. 0 came across this while link hopping tonight...

    thought provoking article...

    to unionize or not to unionize:
    questions that every nurse should ask themselves
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 18, '08
  2. Visit  NRSKarenRN profile page

    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

    NRSKarenRN has '35+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Home Care, VentsTelemetry, Home infusion'. From 'RN Spirit from Philly Burb'; Joined Oct '00; Posts: 26,784; Likes: 12,738.

    133 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  ZASHAGALKA profile page
    0
    Well, I will say that the article is decidedly anti-union, for all her assurances to the contrary.

    Unions have their place. But, they are an additional layer of management. Sometimes, nurses need that filter. Other times, that filter is just another layer of management.

    I still believe that a strong professional organization is the way to go. Not all nurses need to sell some of their real freedoms for unions. Some do.

    But, all nurses need a national voice. Even if all nurses were unionized this year, it would still only result in a conglomeration of voices, each with their own separate agendas, and many of them in direct competition and contention with each other.

    Investing our 'voice' in a professional organzation would avoid some of those pitfalls.

    Wish we had one. Beginning to get the ideas in my head to gauge the cost of spearheading one.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  4. Visit  pickledpepperRN profile page
    1
    It certainly is. The author wrote for this site:
    http://www.notinourhouse.org/

    Scroll down for the Genevive M. Clavreul, RN, Ph.D anti union nurses writing.

    She also writes for "Working Nurse"
    In this article her observations are accurate.
    But I disagree with the solution to an unsafe hospital with management that punishes nurses for patient advocacy and trying to improve patient care.
    She advocates documentation (good), quiting, and still doing nothing unless the hospital gets caught due to a publicised tragedy.
    Why not work together with colleagues in collective action to stop unsafe, immoral, illegal practices?
    http://www.workingworld.com/magazine...cleno=333&wn=1
    HM2VikingRN likes this.
  5. Visit  steelydanfan profile page
    6
    I have always been and continue to be pro-union.
    The threats, unsubstanstiated rumors and coercion I and others experienced at the 1 non-union hospital I worked at will forever haunt me.
    Not to mention the inability towards advancement despite qualifications based upon a managers paranoia. (And I can cite case upon case).

    Basically, this hospital could not improve because any suggestion for improvement was seen as the managers failing to do the job in the first place.
    So managers were loathe to report any failings.

    So, reporters were seen as threatening troublemakers, and either demoted or fired.

    Unions are not perfect, but I'll take them over the alternative...
    KelRN215, OC_An Khe, Ludlow, and 3 others like this.
  6. Visit  ZASHAGALKA profile page
    1
    Quote from cateccrn
    I have always been and continue to be pro-union.
    The threats, unsubstanstiated rumors and coercion I and others experienced at the 1 non-union hospital I worked at will forever haunt me.
    Not to mention the inability towards advancement despite qualifications based upon a managers paranoia. (And I can cite case upon case).

    Basically, this hospital could not improve because any suggestion for improvement was seen as the managers failing to do the job in the first place.
    So managers were loathe to report any failings.

    So, reporters were seen as threatening troublemakers, and either demoted or fired.

    Unions are not perfect, but I'll take them over the alternative...
    Unions are a better alternative to bad management. But not all management is bad.

    You cite an extreme example and, while your answer fits to THAT example, it simply doesn't apply to EVERY situation.

    There are some distinct advantages to being in a union. But, there are also some distinct advantages in NOT being in a union. Each is a trade-off. Which trade-offs work best depends upon the situation.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    herring_RN likes this.
  7. Visit  steelydanfan profile page
    2
    And I would like to know exactly what "Real Freedoms" I am selling out for uinion membership? A "Strong Professional Voice" is what we have been asking for the ANA for 25 years; yet all we keep hearing about is "Professional Licensure Status"
    ANA has'nt done a darn thing to better your status in decades.
    It is useless.
    Since CNA has severed it's ties with ANA, it has come to the forefront in the fight for patient/nurse ratios; including the break/coverage regulations.
    Notice you have a manager "out of care" lately?
    Well thank CNA.
    Ludlow and CMCRN like this.
  8. Visit  steelydanfan profile page
    1
    Timothy:
    The question simply begs; what distinct advantages lie in NOT being union?
    My situation was extreme, but given the fact that it was the ONLY hospital in the area that was NOT union, I believe it was a showplace for abuse.
    This was the only hospital in the area to turn down 7 CCRN credentialed nurses (who were subsequently hires by 2 other area hospitals) without review. If this can hapen to a candidate, what do you think the annual review of competency of staff is like?
    Ludlow likes this.
  9. Visit  burn out profile page
    0
    I am basically anti-union. I see unions as more middle management trying to secure their jobs and livilihood in the union. So far I doubt that a meat packers union or an electricaians union know a rats a## about nursing and therefore could not properly represent nurses. Having said that, I am not opposed to a professional nurses union for nurses only with only a nursing
    agenda. I have not been impressed with ANA to join and am kind of ticked off having gone for a BS degree because I was lied to years ago by being told that in a few years there would not be any AD nurses. Maybe something new and fresh with a goal and plan and leadership by people with a vision on where nursing could and should be going would be worth a union.
  10. Visit  ZASHAGALKA profile page
    1
    Quote from cateccrn
    Timothy:
    The question simply begs; what distinct advantages lie in NOT being union?
    My situation was extreme, but given the fact that it was the ONLY hospital in the area that was NOT union, I believe it was a showplace for abuse.
    This was the only hospital in the area to turn down 7 CCRN credentialed nurses (who were subsequently hires by 2 other area hospitals) without review. If this can hapen to a candidate, what do you think the annual review of competency of staff is like?
    1. The freedom to work directly w/ supervisors on issues such as scheduling WITHOUT being pigeon-holed by contractual rules.

    2. The ability to advance on merit, to 'shine', as opposed to advancement by seniorty.

    3. Unions entrench seniority. As a junior employee, you 'sell' some of your rights to more 'senior' employees. Even if you are the 'best fit' for a job, that's not relevant to seniority. Being off on holidays, weekends, first crack at the schedule: in order to get the maximum benefit of a union, I have to bed myself with the management - through the union - for more than a decade.

    One of nursing's greatest assets is mobility: I can work anywhere. You have to trade that mobility for seniority in order for unions to be a distinct advantage.

    4. Unions promote a confrontational atmosphere towards management. That makes 'working relationships' more rare.

    5. Unions, just like hospitals, are subject to 'bad' management.

    6. Unions use dues for political purposes. You have to 'sell' your political freedom. EVEN IF YOU OPT OUT of that portion of your dues going to a specific candidate, the union uses your mere membership as the collective means to gain influence. If that influence is against your individual desires, you've given something up.

    7. The greatest gains in nursing over the last decade is NOT from unions; it's from individual nurses 'voting with their feet' en masse. The greatest issue facing hospitals is 'recruitment and retention'. Unions stiffle the real incentives and ground being made in this area BECAUSE a contract prevents such innovation.

    8. Dues themselves deflate nursing salaries. If the union gets 80 bucks/month, that is an 80 dollar deflation in real wages.

    9. Unions represent another layer of management with all the bureaucracy that entails.

    'Begs the question' refers to the logical fallacy of a circular argument. I made no such circular argument. Your question didn't 'beg'.

    I made no attack on unions. Don't bother to point out that NOT being in a union can have disadvantages. I never denied that. I SAID both unions and non-union environments involve trade-offs. EACH have their advantages, AND disadvantages.

    As such, the chief test of the necessity of a union is IF the advantages of being in one OUTWEIGHS the disadvantages. And, vice-versa.

    Your post points outs out a SPECIFIC circumstance where the advantages of unionizing would outweigh the disadvantages. I believe I said that. That is not always the case.

    It's simply biased propaganda to suggest that unions are an all-encompassing panacea with NO downsides. OF COURSE THE SAME WOULD BE TRUE IF THAT ARGUMENT WERE MADE FOR NON-UNION ENVIRONMENTS. I never said otherwide.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Jul 9, '06
    wtbcrna likes this.
  11. Visit  pickledpepperRN profile page
    0
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    It's simply biased propaganda to suggest that unions are an all-encompassing panacea with NO downsides. OF COURSE THE SAME WOULD BE TRUE IF THAT ARGUMENT WERE MADE FOR NON-UNION ENVIRONMENTS. I never said otherwide.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Yup!
  12. Visit  wjf00 profile page
    10
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    1. The freedom to work directly w/ supervisors on issues such as scheduling WITHOUT being pigeon-holed by contractual rules.

    2. The ability to advance on merit, to 'shine', as opposed to advancement by seniorty.

    3. Unions entrench seniority. As a junior employee, you 'sell' some of your rights to more 'senior' employees. Even if you are the 'best fit' for a job, that's not relevant to seniority. Being off on holidays, weekends, first crack at the schedule: in order to get the maximum benefit of a union, I have to bed myself with the management - through the union - for more than a decade.

    One of nursing's greatest assets is mobility: I can work anywhere. You have to trade that mobility for seniority in order for unions to be a distinct advantage.

    4. Unions promote a confrontational atmosphere towards management. That makes 'working relationships' more rare.

    5. Unions, just like hospitals, are subject to 'bad' management.

    6. Unions use dues for political purposes. You have to 'sell' your political freedom. EVEN IF YOU OPT OUT of that portion of your dues going to a specific candidate, the union uses your mere membership as the collective means to gain influence. If that influence is against your individual desires, you've given something up.

    7. The greatest gains in nursing over the last decade is NOT from unions; it's from individual nurses 'voting with their feet' en masse. The greatest issue facing hospitals is 'recruitment and retention'. Unions stiffle the real incentives and ground being made in this area BECAUSE a contract prevents such innovation.

    8. Dues themselves deflate nursing salaries. If the union gets 80 bucks/month, that is an 80 dollar deflation in real wages.

    9. Unions represent another layer of management with all the bureaucracy that entails.

    'Begs the question' refers to the logical fallacy of a circular argument. I made no such circular argument. Your question didn't 'beg'.

    I made no attack on unions. Don't bother to point out that NOT being in a union can have disadvantages. I never denied that. I SAID both unions and non-union environments involve trade-offs. EACH have their advantages, AND disadvantages.

    As such, the chief test of the necessity of a union is IF the advantages of being in one OUTWEIGHS the disadvantages. And, vice-versa.

    Your post points outs out a SPECIFIC circumstance where the advantages of unionizing would outweigh the disadvantages. I believe I said that. That is not always the case.

    It's simply biased propaganda to suggest that unions are an all-encompassing panacea with NO downsides. OF COURSE THE SAME WOULD BE TRUE IF THAT ARGUMENT WERE MADE FOR NON-UNION ENVIRONMENTS. I never said otherwide.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    I am sorry you are so misinformed of the facts. I will be happy to add some facts to your listing.
    1. I can work very directly with my manager, and have on many occassions. But what I can't do is make a sweetheart deal for myself at the expense of a co-worker.
    2.I can under my current CNA contract advance to staff Nurse III or Staff Nurse IV. I do this by submitting my request and qualifications to a committee of peers. Peer review determines the merit of my request, not doing personal favors for my supervisor.
    3. Seniority rules benefit the Hospitals as well. It prevents costly turnover. The last nonunion hospital I was at in Phoenix kept raising the pay for new grads. For three years in a row they paid more and more for new grads, all the while the RN's hired the year before were now paid less than the new grads. The turn-over was tremendous, requiring ever more new grads. At the same time the seasoned nurses who had homes or families that prevented them from leaving the area, were very resentful, and did little to help the new grads.
    4. In fact the union contracts I have seen, provide multiple avenues for conflict resoloution. From PPC to Quality Forum and unit based committees, to arbitration and ADO forms. What will not happen is the "My way or the Highway" approach, which resolves nothing and promotes lingering discontent.
    5. But unlike the 'bad management' you may work for. The 'bad apples' in unions are voted in, and if they fail to perform they are 'kicked to the curb'.
    6. You can 'opt out', but be aware that the government has a profound impact on your practice. If you go your own way you have no chance against united hospital groups. Ratio's, lift teams and protection from mandated overtime will never happen if the hospital industry has the only political voice.
    7. You need to read a contract. The whole idea is to improve retention. A contract is an 'agreement between the parties'. It is negotiated, not imposed unilaterally. The hospitals insist on incentives to retain nurses, and all the contracts I have seen reflect this. I have been in my currnet position 3 years. In that time not one nurse (in a unit with 130+ RN's) has left our hospital, that did not move out of the city or state. Some have moved to other specialties, but all those RN's saw the strong incentives in the contract to stay with the Hospital, and opted to do so.
    8. I left a nonunion hospital in Phoenix, to move to Sacramento. I recieved a $30.00/hr + wage increase ( sorry, but no way that the cost of living is any where near that much higher here, in fact it is very similar). I could not care less about the dues... best bargain I ever got. Those dues monies and a whole lot more money are being used by my old hospital to replace me with a new grad.. and another... and another... I am sure the money that Phoenix hospital pays to retain all those recruiting agencies eats up far more than our union dues money.
    9. If you are unhappy.. vote them out. But don't try that with your hospitals management.
    calliesue, SEIU PSYCH RN, dzd&cnfsd, and 7 others like this.
  13. Visit  Cyberglen profile page
    5
    ...and hope for the good graces of a benevolent leader. Without unions, working people in this country wouldn't have a little something called "the weekend" (which has been eroded somewhat!). Unions are the reason we had a middle class, which is rapidly eroding. Without unions, no healthcare and no pensions.

    Absent the collective power of the worker, you are entirely at the mercy of management.

    Pensions, healthcare, and basic perks --brought to you care of the blood, sweat and tears of union members before you--- are under attack by multinationalist corporations that could care less about you. They will do everything within their power to deprive you of a living wage, whittle your benefits to nothing, and then, hand your job to foreign workers (god bless them) who will gladly do it cheaper.

    I believe in the power of unions. It is the only power that you have, really. Declare yourself "anti-union" for some vague, politically correct reason, and watch how fast you put every American on this forum out of a job.
  14. Visit  JessicRN profile page
    6
    If is because of the MNA (MA UNion)
    we are making $50/hr base pay with a $7.00 shift diff.
    We have a pension instead of paying social security after 30 years and working to decrease it to 20 years like law enforcement
    We have full health coverage after 10 years of employement
    We are working under the same safe staffing as California
    We are working 36 hours full time and 12 hour shifts
    We are not being forced to use our own hospitals MD's or pay a very high price for our insurance
    Nurses with 15 years+ only have to work every third W/e and those with 20+ do not have to work w/e at all
    We are not employees at will in otherwords management cannot fire us on a whim
    I have been a nurse for 30 years and I have worked in hospitals that were and were not unionized and believe me I vote for the union. It is true though that the union does have negatives in that it favors longevity instead of skill and qualification and education and seniority. But the pros have it
    KelRN215, SEIU PSYCH RN, Ludlow, and 3 others like this.


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