Unionized? Night Shift? I need your input!

  1. 0
    If you are a unionized night shift nurse, would you please respond to this question?

    What policies specific to being unionized, impact you as a night shift nurse?


    In other words- are there specific things in your bargaining agreement that perhaps a nurse in a non-unionized position would not have? This can relate to scheduling, meetings and education, breaks - anything at all that your union status provided that a non-union nurse / non-night shift nurse may not have.

    Thanks so much!!!

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 4
    I think each collective bargaining agreement is specific to the benefits, but over all while some workplaces may have one or two things, in a unionized workplace you will see a broader range of benefits. So, that being said, my CBA covers differential for all meetings, so essential every nurse is kept "whole". No mandatory overtime, especially to cover days. No alternate staffing patterns, so same number of nurses day & night based on acuity. In California we get a 10 minute break for every 4 hours of work and then 30 minutes for a lunch after 5 hours. We have negotiated 15 minutes for breaks, and can option taking 15 minutes to eat and then an hour "combination" break, but this was bargained locally so not every hospital in our system has it. I'll try to think of more, but that is some benefits.
    jadelpn, laborer, Frank31, and 1 other like this.
  4. 0
    Thanks for your response.
    Anyone else? I'm specifically looking for things like - are the mandatory things (staff meetings, education) at a convenient time for night shift? Or is everything during the day? Has a union addressed this issue?
  5. 1
    Every Union contract is negotiated individually with the management. Each facility has their own contracts. I have never seen the times of mandatory meetings negotiated.......but the requirement to excuse night staff from attendance if they work the night before and of the meeting. Education is usually daytime with day off requirements negotiated into the contract. The educators are union as well at the facilities that I worked at and do have education "coverage" 24/7.....well at least til 3 am.

    Things heavily negotiated are low census days or no cancel policies and very strict float policies and of course benefits and pay are the high ticket items as well as staffing requirements for patients and acuity.

    What are you looking for?
    laborer likes this.
  6. 5
    I can tell you of something that happened at my non-union hospital that would never happen at a union hospital. The vast majority of our staff were rotaters. Night shift was the preferred shift with all of our most senior nurses (who'd been at the hospital for 20+ years) being on that shift. Very few people worked permanent days and many rotaters tried to work more nights than days. After a large number of staff left in a short amount of time, our manager had a meeting one day to announce that all permanent night staff (including people who'd been exclusively on nights for 9 years or so) now had to rotate and work days. The only people exempt from this requirement were the 2 most senior nurses who'd been on the floor for over 20 years. There was no discussion and no involvement of hospital leadership. Our manager made the decision and the staff were told "you have to do this." When the staff who were present at this meeting communicated this with their fellow night shift workers, the manager's spy found out and they were berated and yelled at in the middle of the floor for sharing this information. To the point where she actually made several of them cry.

    If this were a union hospital, a manager could not just abruptly decide that permanent night staff have to work days and they would have had an outlet to grieve her for her behavior towards them.
    CrufflerJJ, jadelpn, lilsuzylpn, and 2 others like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from KelRN215
    If this were a union hospital, a manager could not just abruptly decide that permanent night staff have to work days and they would have had an outlet to grieve her for her behavior towards them.
    I worked at a unionized hospital, but the hospital could still make that change if they wanted to. Union contracts only cover what's in the contract, which can often be pretty minimal. For instance, we have a contracted pay rate scale, but that doesn't mean they cant' cut our pay, they just shifted about half of their employer contribution to us for our health plans, everybody got a $4,000 per year pay cut, and there's nothing the union can do about it.

    What the contract does cover in terms of night shift is pay differential; about $4.50 more an hour compared to day shift. We also get a rest-less-than-10 rule that includes meetings.
  8. 0
    I appreciate all of your responses. I am conducting a research study on the topic: What Characteristics Define a Night Shift Friendly Hospital?
    I am primarily looking for policies/ processes that impact a night shift workers sleep/wake cycle (caused by the organization if you will)
    Things like:
    Are staff meetings mandatory (you get dinged if you don't attend) AND held at 2pm?
    Is all mandatory education (the face-to-face kind) held during the day?
    Does your employer call you on the phone during the day, or do they email or text to protect your sleep time?
    When your hospital has an event (picnic / nurses week) is an equal event held at night - or do you get leftovers?

    Thoughts???
  9. 0
    One big difference, to me, between my last job (union) and my current job (non-union) is the differentials. At my last job, if you worked night shift, you made night shift diff for all 12 hours (we had a few 8 hrs people left, and they made evening or night diff, based on the shift they worked). Right now, even though we don't have 8 hr RNs, we make evening diff from 1900-2300 and night diff from 2300-0700. I know they used to do it like this at the union hospital, as well, but when the hospital made a push to switch the majority of RNs to 12 hr shifts and all new hires to 12s, the union pushed to have the differentials reflect appropriately.
    As much as I would love for things to happen on a night shift schedule, like meetings and classes, I don't see it happening. Our hospital does do a night shift session for things like forums with the CNO or if the unit wins/ earns pizza, they do it separately for day and night shift, but otherwise, they don't do a ton for night shift, specifically.
  10. 0
    Can you explain the 'less rest than 10 rule'? I am not familiar with this term.

    Thanks!
  11. 0
    Quote from marycarney
    I appreciate all of your responses. I am conducting a research study on the topic: What Characteristics Define a Night Shift Friendly Hospital?
    I am primarily looking for policies/ processes that impact a night shift workers sleep/wake cycle (caused by the organization if you will)
    Things like:
    Are staff meetings mandatory (you get dinged if you don't attend) AND held at 2pm?
    Is all mandatory education (the face-to-face kind) held during the day?
    Does your employer call you on the phone during the day, or do they email or text to protect your sleep time?
    When your hospital has an event (picnic / nurses week) is an equal event held at night - or do you get leftovers?

    Thoughts???
    We don't have mandatory meetings so it's not an issue. Any mandatory education days we are not booked to attend directly after a night shift but rather on a more appropriate day. Scheduling will call during the day so you have to shut the phone off just in case.If there is a food oriented event we get stuff ordered at night ( e.g. fresh pizza, sandwiches etc when we come on). Staff appreciation day admin threw a BBQ at 2 am for the night shifters.


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