Unions - page 6

I was just wondering peoples views on Unions, from reading other posts I got the inpression that unions are not a standard thing. One of my lectures this semester was two of the big nursing unions... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    RNPD,
    It's my right as an American citizen to form ANY opinion I wish. It's also my right to post it on this bb. It's ALWAYS obvious here that the expressed is the opinion of the writer, unless there is UNBIASED data presented to back the opinion. So, do NOT try to tell me what and how to conduct myself. I know you're in the same ana/union as jt, and I apologize if I'm stepping on some toes, that's NOT my goal. My goal is to be educated by discussion that is honest and straightforward. I'll do whatever it takes to gain this information.

    Jt,
    You feel personally attacked ANYTIME someone questions the activity of the ANA and it's union. That's not something I can change. All I have asked for is objective data, and you are unable to give it. YOU twist information to your benefit and post it here. You attack me for being honest enough to admit I do not know things, yet you aren't honest enough to admit the downfalls of the ANA and it's union. I ain't going away, nor will my opinions


    I still believe that a union has no more bargaining power than a group of nurses. In case anyone has missed the news, [SIZE=2THERE IS A NURSING SHORTAGE[/SIZE]. What employer in his right mind would fire a GROUP of nurses? Where on earth would he find replacements??? Why do you act as if the bargaining power is greater for a union? Yes, by law, an employer is forced to negotiate with a union, but all the employer has to do is not meet your demands. That leaves the union no stronger than a group of nurses. If he doesn't meet your demands, that leaves you two options: 1. work under the previous conditions. or 2. walk. A group of nurses has the same options. Only difference, the group of nurses have not poured their hard-earned money into a union.
  2. by   fergus51
    LOL! I am with you on the teacher's salaries point! I do agree unions are more often associated with trades than professions, but I think that'll change. Doctors here have bargained collectively, even "withdrawn their services". To me that's the same as a union strike, but they choose to be called a group or association and use euphamisms like withrawing services in order to sound more professional. A rose by any other name....
  3. by   wildtime88
    Finally someone brought forth the power of a non-union group. Physician's groups are becoming quite common especially in emergency medicine and cardiology services in the U.S. Both of these groups have the power to dictate how they practice and the conditions they practice under. In many hospitals they set the rules in contrast to what the individual hospital actually tries to impose. These physicians simply say as a group without a formal union affiliation we will not work under these conditions and if they are not changed we will no longer provide our services. The conditions are quickly changed to meet their demands. There is no reason why nurses can not do the same thing as a non-unionized entity and achieve the same results. It is also ludicrous to believe that a hospital would fire 200 or 300 nurses simultaneously who stood united in a non-unionized group.

    When everything is said and done it all falls down to the cohesiveness and the resolved and thought process of the group it's self.

    This is all going to be a mute point though if the ANA has it's way and the present proposed legislation is passed to replace nurses who say "I will not work under the present conditions", as well as the one's who have already left for the same reason.
  4. by   fergus51
    I TOTALLY agree wild that it is all about the cohesiveness of a group. The only real difference between the doctors group is that there isn't anyone to replace them if they go so they tend to get an easier time barganing than nurses do. Look how many hospitals in the states bring in scab nurses to try to work without their whole staff. I do believe a hospital is willing to eventually fire all its nurses, or we wouldn't have strikebreakers.

    The way our system is set up, the unionization gives us job security and a forum for voicing concerns and engaging in collective action. The other benefit is that members have to abide by whatever job action the majority decide on. We voted 96 or 97% in favor of a job action in the spring and EVERY nurse in the province has to abide by it whether they voted against it or not, thereby guaranteeing that cohesiveness we both value. It isn't a perfect system by any means, and I would love to see nurses get together as a group or union or whatever to demand change, but I am pretty satisfied with my union and how it serves my interests. The problem I see with a large group of nurses would be guaranteeing cohesiveness. If everyone isn't willing to put things on the line then the group is powerless.
  5. by   wildtime88
    Replacement nurses or scab nurses as you call them are only temporary and are not permanent replacements. These nurses would not accept a permanent position. It has also been stated in the past that replacement nurses are covered under some kind of strike insurance. I do not believe the insurance companies would pay out for a hospitals cost of actually firing it's nurses.

    So this part of your argument does not hold water. This is also more of a union scare tactic used to recruit new membership that has been used for decades.

    Nurses are not easily replaceable as are production workers, farm laborers, and other generalized laborers. You can not hang a sign out side the door and hire right off the street. You also can not provide on the job training of these individuals off the street to replace nurses. This very concept of being easily replaced is where unions in general have gained their power and a toe hold in the U.S. work force. They have gained strength off the basic fears of their membership. A profession who realizes they have nothing to fear and the strength to conquer does not need a formal union in the first place. A profession who is actually in control of their practices dictate rather than bargain or compromise.

    The hospitals dictate and mandate to nurses how to practice our profession as due many other employers. This is evident in the U.S. by just switching from one hospital to the next and the difference in policies and procedures that a nurse practices under. In other words, what a nurse can do at one place they might not be allowed to do across town or the staffing levels might be very different. This even varies from one unionized hospital to the next with the same union in place.

    As for the solidarity, let us not forget what happened in Minnesota this last spring. One union strike after another caved in without regard for the nurses at the other hospitals. I can still remember JennyP and others posting "next time we will........". So where is the true solidarity that you speak of? If this had been one large single group of nurses with the same demands and not willing to back down until all their demands were reached by all the hospitals in question, then things would have been far different. It would not have made one difference if they did not belong to a formal labor union. In fact, if the hospital could not count on reimbursement for the cost of temporary replacement nurses then they might have agreed with the demands much faster.

    I do agree with you about this. "If everyone isn't willing to put things on the line then the group is powerless." This holds true for non-unionized and unionized alike.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 18, '01
  6. by   december
    Interesting topic and I'd like to make a few points.

    Average wages for teachers (k-12) is around $40,000.00/year.
    Average wages for nurses is $44,000.00/year. This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 1999
    http://stats.bls.gov/oes/1999/oes_nat.htm

    But a few points are to be remembered. These are wages for teachers that are working less than 9 months a year versus nurses slaving away 52 weeks a year. Also, a small item. THEY HAVE PENSIONS.

    Nursing is in an abysmal state and carries a long history to get to this point. I'm always surprised that those that bemoan our history somehow feel the ANA is responsible. Considering the very very small role unions have played in nursing's history, I would think that any blame placed for our present state of affairs should be directed to the over 90% of nurses in our country that have been unorganized, union or not. Logically, this is where the "action" (or rather, inaction) is at. Is there, in fact, any hospital group of nurses around that manages to unite without a union?
  7. by   fergus51
    I actually didn't keep up on the Minnesota situation. Here the union didn't cave at all and members were remarkably united, but we were legislated back to work so the outcome wasn't ideal for me, but a lot of others are very happy with the gains made.

    I agree that nurses aren't as easily replaceable as other workers, my only issue is that a hospital usually doesn't have to replace ALL its nurses, just some of them and the rest cave. I am certainly not trying to use this as a scare tactic, because I don't care if nurses are unionized or not. I think other nurses can make their own decisions, I was just explaining why I like the union that I belong to here. I don't think unions only gained strength with fear tactics, I think they have done some good too.

    Wild, if all the other nurses had your gumption I am sure a nurses' "group" would be enough. The only problem is getting them to ALL stand up for themselves! I have no idea how to get a group of nurses to agree on a date for the Xmas party let alone what our demands should be and how we should go about getting them!!! Some are in favor of more radical action, others are just concerned with their jobs, others are willing to stab their colleagues in the back for cash. A thread should be started to answer this question : How do you motivate a bunch of nurses to stand up for themselves and support eachother in order to effect change? Then we could take over the world....
    Last edit by fergus51 on Dec 17, '01
  8. by   shanzah
    I am truly shocked.... I am also a nurse in texas.... and when I graduated 10+ years ago they told us there will never be unions in the state of texas because they are illegal according to our nurse practice act....... All things considered... unionization would be a good idea.... maybe then the management would stop recycling the same old "game plans" under new titles... you know the "new idea that's going to make life a whole lot easier for everyone"... yeah right Now, if you know of an area in texas that has unionized nurses... please tell me where.. I am looking into making a change in the near future... that might be the place to go
  9. by   wildtime88
    December, can you say "poor or lack of leadership" on the part of the ANA. This will answer much of what you have stated.

    Have you read my post about the pending legislation that the ANA is strongly pushing for? It is titled "What do you think a CEO or AHA think about pending legislation?".
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...threadid=12422
    Here are a couple more posts for you to look at as well. "Double Talk" http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...threadid=12321
    And "non-union, union, and a national nursing organization, does this make sense?"
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...threadid=12130

    The reality of poor or lack of leadership is what has led nurses to look to alternatives such as unions in the first place. It is also one of the main reasons why the overwhelming majority (92 -93%) of nurses in the U.S. do not belong to the ANA. Strong leadership with a logical and focused direction dedicated solely to the people it claims to represent will promote fellowship in and of it's self. The ANA has a long history of falling to focus on the needs of the biggest majority of nurses in the profession. That would be nurses working at the bedside. If you read the posts I included, then you will see that it continues.



    fergus51, one of the things I remember that happened in a province of Canada this last year was the government not working with the union and how when nurses suddenly began turning in individual resignations in mass that things changed. This is the power of a group in action and not under a formal union versus management action. These nurses had by the government backed up into a corner and could have demanded anything they wanted. I do not know how it has all played out though. My guess is that these nurses settled for a lot less than what they could have actually received. Maybe you can fill us in as to how it all ended and if they are still using the leverage to change things.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 18, '01
  10. by   vablueyes
    I must say that the threat of a union coming into our facility prompted our 19% payraise!! Two days before we voted in the union the administrators presented us with this fantastic raise and "bought" enough NO votes to keep the union out. We cancelled the vote, and can bring it back in six months. Believe me, it isn't just about the money for most of us. Fair and adequate staffing, being able to use our sick leave from the first day, inproved environment and working conditions are all a part of what we needed to improve upon. During the union campaining we saw our administrators in our ER at least 2 times a day, checking in with us, smiling, asking if everything was OK. We see them now about twice a month, and the smiles have all but stopped. We are once again just "staff", not worthy of their time. So, when the six month lapse is up, we will begin our efforts to get the union in. The union is ONLY as good as it's members. It won't "fix" the problems, only give you a louder voice, and better options. I have seen the goods and bads of a union..we must think.."are we better off WITH or WITHOUT it", and give honest answers. Emotions shouldn't play into it.
  11. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by wildtime88

    fergus51, one of the things I remember that happened in a province of Canada this last year was the government not working with the union and how when nurses suddenly began turning in individual resignations in mass that things changed. This is the power of a group in action and not under a formal union versus management action. These nurses had by the government backed up into a corner and could have demanded anything they wanted. I do not know how it has all played out though. My guess is that these nurses settled for a lot less than what they could have actually received. Maybe you can fill us in as to how it all ended and if they are still using the leverage to change things.
    You've been misinformed. That was in my province (British Columbia) and the mass resignation campaign was organised by the union not by individual nurses. Individual nurses were given the choice of giving their resignation or not TO THE UNION, and they were never handed in as the government termed that an illegal strike, although they did make sure to let individual nurses they were within their rights to quit. It was the same when the gov't outlawed our OT refusal. The union informed individual nurses they could still refuse OT and most did. We DID make a lot of demands. But in the end we were legislated back to work. I do not consider it settling when the gov't makes our acceptance of the contract irrelevant. It's one of the main reasons I am considering going back to the States to work. I am sick of politicians telling nurses that we need to tighten our belts when they keep giving themselves raises (apparently money is needed to attract good people to politics, but not to nursing). I believe in voting with my feet.

    We have the same contract that we voted 96% against accepting. It has a lot of gains including upping the top nurses' salaries to 30$ an hour CDN by the end of the contract, which would make us the highest paid nurses in Canada, except for the fact that Alberta and Ontario's contracts will come up before ours so they'll get the bigger bucks. It also changed our seniority pay scale so it now takes 9 years to get the top wage instead of six. On the up side hospitals now take into account years worked in other facilities so some nurses moved up in the pay scale. We did not have to deal with mandatory OT as it doesn't exist here. Designated days off for part-timers have been changed. This was a big issue because they used to have to pay part-timers a lot of OT, but now they don't so they can keep hiring nurses as PT, work them as FT but give them no benefits. The contract changes are all available at the unions website, www.bcnu.org . Despite my bitterness a lot of nurses are quite happy with the contract and the union has had a lot of inquiries from nurses wanting to come back to work in the province. We even got 2 Americans to come here!!! Will wonders never cease.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Dec 18, '01
  12. by   fergus51
    Oh and the union is still working to bring about change. They even had to take legal action to force a few employers to pay their nurses what they were owed. There are newslinks on the website. The big issue right now is the restructuring of the health boards accross the province.
  13. by   wildtime88
    fergus51, you can correct me if I am wrong, but in your case if the individual nurses would have went through with handing in their resignations in mass as a non-union group, then you would have actually seen results. These nurses would not have been guilty of breaking any laws either. In fact, nurses acting independently of a formal labor union could have brought about more changes in one week then the union will bring about in the next 5 years to come.

    As you said earlier, any group non-union or union has to stick together and be willing to go through with what it says in order to accomplish something. In the end, your government/employer won due to an empty treat on the nurses' part.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 18, '01

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