U is For Union - page 3

Hey everyone - When I was hired then almost instantly promoted to LVN at my SNF, I was asked if I wanted to join the union. The administrator told me all but one LVN was NOT in the union. And the... Read More

  1. Visit  JacknSweetpea profile page
    1
    I wish we had a union or at least some way to negotiate with administration without fear of being retaliated against. I wonder if it's the same all over....administration does whatever the heck they want with us.
    Bella'sMyBaby likes this.
  2. Visit  tntrn profile page
    8
    I am not only a union member, but have been part of our negotiating team for new contracts many times. No way would I trust the PTB of our Hospital and the parent company to look out for my best interests.

    Only this morning I am filing a grievance over a contract violation. It's nothing that will net any kind of monetary fix. I was floated last night and by contract we are to be given a one hour notice of that. I didn't find out until I arrived on my usual unit. And the nurse who replaced me wasn't notified either. It took 45 minutes after I was to be relieved for her to arrive because it wasn't her turn to float. We have very specific language in our contract about who floats and when. Therefore, I am writing a grievance. If you just whine about something, anything, to your co-workers, nothing ever changes. With a filed grievance, however, the people up the chain must respond to you in 2 weeks, and if you are not satisfied with the response, you can go further up the chain.

    About 2 years ago, one of my co-workers was terminated over what was termed at the time "bad charting." She was targeted, pure and simple and had felt like the target was on her back for months prior to that. The union participartion in what went to arbitration (and that was not honored by the administration) and after that to whatever comes next netted her a large settlement, removal of the crap from her personnel file, and reinstated her, although at that point, she had relocated to another city and had a new job. Think any of that would have happened without the union?

    Nope.
    Nurse_Diane, NRSKarenRN, nicurn001, and 5 others like this.
  3. Visit  deemalt profile page
    4
    I agree with tyvin. Divided we fall. Unions are our way of speaking up as nurses and making changes that not only effect our pay but patient safety.

    Non union nurses are a hospital's dream come true. They can flex the rules as they please and if you don't like it, they can just hire someone else. I work in a non union hospital. The wage is less than most hospitals in the area and they always seem to find ways to nickel and dime you like pressuring you to work off the clock, etc.

    These days with the tough job market people just want to work. These are the times when people are willing to give up some of their rights as workers. Given the choice, I would work in a union hospital. We need to stick together and not be taken advantage of.
    herring_RN, Bella'sMyBaby, actioncat, and 1 other like this.
  4. Visit  Chico David RN profile page
    9
    Quote from deemalt
    I agree with tyvin. Divided we fall. Unions are our way of speaking up as nurses and making changes that not only effect our pay but patient safety.

    Non union nurses are a hospital's dream come true. They can flex the rules as they please and if you don't like it, they can just hire someone else. I work in a non union hospital. The wage is less than most hospitals in the area and they always seem to find ways to nickel and dime you like pressuring you to work off the clock, etc.

    These days with the tough job market people just want to work. These are the times when people are willing to give up some of their rights as workers. Given the choice, I would work in a union hospital. We need to stick together and not be taken advantage of.
    I will also emphasize that just being in a union, or just having a contract don't settle things by themselves. You also have to have nurses who will stand together to enforce the contract and who know what their rights are.
    Simple example: Our hospital uses permanent charge nurses on most of the units - nurses who are considered the lowest level of management and therefor not in the union. But on several units, they have three of them on days and three on nights, which means that about 2 times per week there are two charges scheduled. So they typically assign one of them to patient care. In our last contract negotiation, we won language that says they can't call off a regular staff nurse on low-census while a charge nurse is doing the work of a staff nurse - they either have to call off the charge nurse or find some administrative work for them to do. But despite the language, management still tries to sneak it by. We call them on it and file grievances as needed. And I have won a day's pay for nurses who were called off improperly. Management wants you to obey all the rules, but they sure don't like having to follow them themselves.
    Oh and one more thing:
    I've seen in this thread the silly old line about unions protecting "bad" nurses. I have two responses to that:
    1. If you work in a non-union facility now, do you have any nurses working there who don't really measure up, who don't work as hard as others? Of course you do. Why is that? Without a contract, you are all "at will" employees. You can be fired for no reason at all. Why hasn't management gotten rid of those who aren't pulling their weight? Answer: Either the manager is too lazy to follow through and do their job, or the less-than-excellent nurse is a pal of her manager (or someone higher up).
    2. All a union contract does is guarantee someone due process before they can be disciplined or fired. Due process is an important value in this country. It's in our constitution. You wouldn't want to be punished without it. If a nurse is not doing their job, management has to let them know what is expected of them, let them know how they are failing, give them a reasonable chance to improve and document having done all that. That's all they have to do. Any manager who says they can't fire a bad nurse "because of the union" is just too lazy to do their job properly.
  5. Visit  Not_A_Hat_Person profile page
    2
    I'm of 2 minds about unions. All of the bad things I've heard about unions has come from union members. My mother belonged to 2 unions that left their members high and dry after a contract negotiation. In one case, the union wanted a 12% pay hike. The company (an airline) laid off 12% of the employees and gave the remaining employees a raise. The union was silent.

    In Boston, the MBTA banned cell phone usage by drivers system-wide 2 years ago after a near-fatal accident on the Green Line. The Carman's union supported it, then changed their mind the next day. Suddenly, there were slowdowns and "schedule adjustments" every rush hour, culminating in a mysterious rush-hour power outage that brought 2 subway lines to a standstill for 2 hours. Thousands of people were inconvenienced because unionized bus and subway drivers wanted to talk on the phone while driving (which is illegal in Massachusetts).

    My biggest beef with unions is that they're all about protecting workers from mistreatment by management, but turn a blind eye to workers mistreating other workers. When my mother worked for Amtrak, sexual harassment was a huge problem at the crew base. The union refused to get involved because the perpetrators weren't managers.

    I think nursing needs unions, but the unions need to be run by nurses for nurses, and they should work hard to combat workplace bullying.
    NRSKarenRN and herring_RN like this.
  6. Visit  newhospicern profile page
    4
    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    I don't think good nurses need to be in a union..
    And good drivers don't need car insurance..

    From the endless threads of mistreatment and misconduct that goes on in this field, I'd join a union in a heartbeat. You will be a lot less likely to get taken advantage of if you joined. JMO
  7. Visit  newhospicern profile page
    0
    Quote from Not_A_Hat_Person

    My biggest beef with unions is that they're all about protecting workers from mistreatment by management, but turn a blind eye to workers mistreating other workers. When my mother worked for Amtrak, sexual harassment was a huge problem at the crew base. The union refused to get involved because the perpetrators weren't managers.
    Shouldn't worker to worker issues (especially sexual harassment) be addressed by the employer?
  8. Visit  king_of_the_hill_fan profile page
    1
    CapeCod - I don't think I overreacted at all. I am entitled to feel the way I feel and when I read that from comfieshoes, I thought it came across as accusatory - "something is missing here". It's hard to convey tone in text/written word. If she/he wasn't being accusatory or catty, and was simply just inquiring, then maybe a better choice of words or re-phrasing could have helped.

    Besides, the point of my OP is to get feedback about unions. I suppose I should have just said when I was hired as a nurse, instead of the way I phrased it. I find it strange that comfieshoes picked that one sentence to focus on.
    lindarn likes this.
  9. Visit  deemalt profile page
    3
    I think nursing needs unions, but the unions need to be run by nurses for nurses, and they should work hard to combat workplace bullying.

    Not_A_Hat_Person - Thank you for your post. I have struggled with this too.

    If anyone out there would like to read a great book about the way things were before unions in the US "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair is a great one.
    Bella'sMyBaby, lindarn, and laborer like this.
  10. Visit  laborer profile page
    2
    Good Read..........
    Last edit by laborer on Jan 4, '11
    Bella'sMyBaby and lindarn like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and find your dream job.

Top
close
close