Unite nurses, don't divide us

  1. 0 during national nurses week and throughout the year, seiu nurses feel we should be united, not divided --with other nurses, with other healthcare workers, with patient care advocates--to work for quality care. why then, is the california nurses association declaring war on nurses?

    we're renewing our call for an end to cna's divisive actions as the outcome of a union representation election remains in balance for 1,000 of our nurse colleagues at three las vegas hospitals. despite months of cna's lies and false promises the cna failed to capture enough votes to lure nurses away from seiu.

    cna's raiding in las vegas is yet another move aimed to divide nurses at a critical time when patients need us most. cna is also actively trying to decertify seiu nurses throughout california and other states. in march, the cna waged an aggressive "vote no" campaign in ohio, forcing the cancellation of union elections for 8,300 nurses and hospital workers in nine hospitals. in recent years the cna also has raided other unions or intervened in other unions' organizing drives in hawaii, illinois, missouri, tennessee, texas, and other states.

    this nurses week, rather than dividing the too-few nurses who already have a union voice, let's unite the 85% who don't--for our patients and our profession.

    for more information on cna's divisive actions, go to www.shameoncna.com.

    posted on behalf of my nurse colleagues in seiu
  2. Visit  klbackus profile page

    About klbackus

    klbackus has '13' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Health Policy, Cardiac Intensive Care'. Joined Mar '08; Posts: 18; Likes: 8.

    42 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Julia RN profile page
    5
    "during national nurses week and throughout the year, seiu nurses feel we should be united, not divided --with other nurses, with other healthcare workers, with patient care advocates--to work for quality care....
    this nurses week, rather than dividing the too-few nurses who already have a union voice, let’s unite the 85% who don’t—for our patients and our profession."


    your words seem very insincere as seiu is busy raiding ny as you write this.

    what's up with that???

    http://readme.readmedia.com/news/sho...na-unit/129519
    Last edit by Julia RN on May 8, '08 : Reason: link
    Sterren, RN4MERCY, RN1989, and 2 others like this.
  4. Visit  Chico David RN profile page
    5
    A review of the facts on the Las Vegas election:
    shortly after the CNA win in Reno, our organizers were contacted by nurses there not happy with their current union.(SEIU).
    After a ten week campaign, the vote was held over two days and the votes counted last night.
    400 nurses voted for CNA
    377 for SEIU
    26 for no union
    6 ballots were challenged, with the challenges yet to be resolved.

    In this type of election, with three options on the ballot, one side must win a majority to prevail. With the small number for "no union", CNA/NNOC fell 3 votes short of the required majority. Unless the challenged ballots resolve the issue, a run-off will be held, with the option of "no union" not on the ballot.

    It is also a fact that SEIU has active "raid" campaigns in progress against NYSNA at several hospitals, at one of which it has filed for election. An observer might be inclined to conclude that SEIU's attitude to "raids" is situational, depending on who is doing the raiding.
    CMCRN, Ludlow, RN4MERCY, and 2 others like this.
  5. Visit  RN1989 profile page
    1
    klbackus - exactly what is your role in the SEIU? How much are you getting paid to spread your propaganda on this forum?

    Being that you have only posted pro-SEIU and anti-CNA/NNOC posts, I don't feel that I can trust you as you do not seem to have any other nursing interest except bashing another union.

    Are you the one responsible for pulling my email info off this forum and sending me the latest SEIU propaganda about Healthcare United? I don't use that email address for anything but this forum so I am curious as to how the SEIU obtained my information and felt comfortable soliciting me without permission.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. Visit  klbackus profile page
    0
    not so fast, chico david rn. the overwhelming majority of rns didn't buy what the cna was peddling. they could see through the false promises of california wages and pensions that cna/nnoc has never been able to deliver outside of california.

    not only was the vote close among the rns who voted, but the nearly 300 rns who didn't vote at all clearly were not unhappy with their seiu representation. the only thing cna achieved was to effectively divide the nurses at the worst possible time--in the middle of contract negotiations to raise standards for nurses and patient care.

    in the end, there really are no winners here. no matter what the final outcome is, not a single nurse who is currently caring for patients without a union voice has one.

    and yes, i am an employee of seiu, but i am also a nurse. i would much rather us focus on improving staffing levels, giving more healthcare workers a voice in their hospitals, and ensuring every man, woman and child has access to quality care. don't you?

    as far as who got your e-mail, rn1989, i can't help you there. when you figure out how to keep e-mail addresses private let me know.
  7. Visit  Julia RN profile page
    3
    I thought this thread might be a good place to attempt to have a discussion about broader principles, but it is turning into the same old story. The numbers fight- the quest to be top dog. The belief that it is neccessary to eliminate the other because they have different beliefs. How anti-progressive and harmful to the movement is that?

    This post might get too "polly anna" for many of you from here, but here it is....

    CNA- I love your politics and your ability to bring important issues to the forefront among nurses and the public. You have accomplished great things.
    SEIU- I love how you have elevated millions of workers especially in healthcare and know your programs/services have helped many. You have accomplished great things.

    Both organizations have excellent organizing abilities that make other unions envious and make management take notice. And both have wonderful members and leaders who are committed to changing things for the better. Of course, both also disagree on what better is and what democracy in an organization looks like, but this is not unusual and a desired characteristic in a free thinking society.

    Many are disappointed by the behavior of both, including your own respective members. Count me, a union supporter, among the disappointed.

    Divison among and within existing structures has held staff nurses back for so long. This is such a critical time for us if we have the strength to stand together. There is common ground among you, basic principles you both believe in. That should mean something.

    I hope you both will take advantage of ANY opportunity to come together, before you do more harm to staff nurses than the good you seek to do.

    klbackus,
    You started this thread and titled it, "Unite nurses, don't divide us". I know you read my post- you were listed in the "currently viewing" box when my message was the only response. Yet you do not respond to my question- if you really believe unions should not be dividing nurses at this critical time, why is SEIU raiding units in NY?
    RN1989, lindarn, and showbizrn like this.
  8. Visit  klbackus profile page
    0
    Julia, I appreciate your comments. I agree with you in many ways and I hope there is a resolution to the SEIU/CNA debate soon.

    My apologies for not responding to you earlier about the New York hospital. Here is what I was able to find out:

    For years we've ignored the pleas from registered nurses at Peninsula who wanted the wages, premium benefits and representation that SEIU members in New York have. But we've been working collaboratively with the UAN and never wanted to be in a situation where nurse organizations were fighting each other over already-organized nurses.

    But then CNA began to ramp up their already-aggressive efforts to undermine any and all of SEIU's efforts to unite nurses. In the last few months, they've mailed decertification cards to union nurses in a large number of states and even sabotaged the union elections for 8,300 nurses and hospital workers in Ohio.

    When NYSNA (now no longer affiliated with the UAN) enthusiastically jumped on board the CNA's union busting campaign in Ohio--and urged its members in New York to support the CNA's efforts--we finally woke up. We couldn't just sit back and sacrifice the standards our members have won in their hospitals, at their state capitols, and in their communities.

    Let me be clear. We did not create this situation and would prefer to use our resources to build strength to make real gains for nurses and patients. Again, SEIU President Stern has offered to sign a mutual no-raid agreement with the CNA and its allied organizations (including NYSNA) at any time, any place.

    We want the war to stop. Unfortunately, Rose Ann DeMoro and CNA's allies have made it clear that they don't.
  9. Visit  RN1989 profile page
    0
    Quote from klbackus
    and yes, i am an employee of seiu, but i am also a nurse. i would much rather us focus on improving staffing levels, giving more healthcare workers a voice in their hospitals, and ensuring every man, woman and child has access to quality care. don't you?
    a focus on improving healthcare is a noble endeavor. however i have not found your postings to be helpful to that cause. your postings are only dealing with the fact that there is conflict between your own union and others with you obviously being biased. at times you seem to be quite hostile against those who do not share your views.

    you are the one that started this thread with the title of "unite nurses, don't divide us". this title is misleading as your posts are meant to denounce cna/nnoc instead of discussing the healthcare issues with other nurses and coming up with solutions.

    if you really want people on this forum to listen to what you have to say you must gain their trust. your current anti-cna postings do not help you to gain respectability on a forum where we do not know each personally and therefore can only judge the integrity of a person by looking at the patterns of their postings.

    i am not a union member and thus have no real quarrel with any union. i now have less respect for the seiu after having seen the way you, one of their employees has chosen to extol the virtues of this union by openly bashing others. dirty politics does not win over people with integrity and values.
  10. Visit  Julia RN profile page
    1
    Quote from klbackus
    Let me be clear. We did not create this situation and would prefer to use our resources to build strength to make real gains for nurses and patients. Again, SEIU President Stern has offered to sign a mutual no-raid agreement with the CNA and its allied organizations (including NYSNA) at any time, any place.

    We want the war to stop. Unfortunately, Rose Ann DeMoro and CNA's allies have made it clear that they don't.
    Nothing is clear, and none of us are privy to all the discussions.

    I received a copy of a letter in an email from a listserv I subscribe to dated May 7, from John Sweeney to Andy Stern. The letter was asking SEIU to participate in a mediation process with CNA to resolve this dispute. Sweeney writes that CNA is willing to do this.

    So, if the offer of President Stern is sincere, perhaps there can be a truce- both on this board and in our hospitals.

    Lets stand together in the hope that some resolution is possible, and get back to our important work.
    RN1989 likes this.
  11. Visit  klbackus profile page
    0
    I admit, I'm fairly new at the blogoshere. I get frustrated with typing in tiny windows and deciphering emotions via smileys and not-so-smileys :angryfire. I'd much rather talk to someone face to face.
    If I am hostile to anyone, I truly don't mean to be. It's really not my nature. But in this thread alone I've been accused of trolling for e-mails and asked how much I'm being paid. I've been transparent about who I work for--which is more than I know about anybody here, frankly. I guess with that transparancy I've lost the ability to say things that I (nurse, woman, mother, voter, etc.) truly feel, like "unite nurses, don't divide us."
    I'd love to share my personal thoughts on the ups and downs of nursing, how I got into the labor movement, and why I've been a die-hard supporter of Barack Obama long before it became the popular thing to do or before SEIU endorsed him. Maybe when I can voice something without being personally attacked I'll do that.
  12. Visit  Chico David RN profile page
    4
    Since a couple of thoughtful participants in this thread have stated a desire for a deeper and perhaps cooler discussion, I decided I'll give it a try.

    Trying to step back a bit to the underlying principles at work and away from the heat of particular events. It's clear, that every event looks very different from different angles.

    There is a general prejudice in the labor movement against "raiding". There is a commonly held belief - or at least lip service to a belief - that once a given union has organized a group of workers, it is beyond the pale for another union to interfere in that relationship. It is also a fact that nearly every union in existance has raided at some time in their history. And, since we are all supposed to believe that raids are bad, every union that raids feels the need to justify it in various ways. Presumably, some of the justifications are more sincere than others, but that is also in the eye of the beholder.

    There is an alternate belief here and there ( more people will say this privately than publicly): that prohibitions on raids serve the needs of unions as institutions, but not necessarily those of workers. This school of thought would say that workers are not property and that a group of workers who desire to leave their union for one that serves their needs better should be free to do so and that no-raid agreements limit their freedom to do so. I am not speaking here for either point of view - merely pointing out that both points of view exist.

    The minority who don't think raids are so bad would tend to feel that the competition among unions would improve the breed in a sense - keep unions from becoming complacent, force them to better serve their members.

    The majority, who feel that raids are bad, would say that raiding makes it impossible for unions to work together in the larger interest of workers and that the raiding takes up energy that should be used for the common good.

    Each of these point of view has some value.

    Now, cutting a little bit closer to home, where it is harder to be truly objective, but I'll try:
    CNA and SEIU have philosophies that diverge on two main points, aside from any personality or numbers issues.
    those points are basically:
    1. RN vs all workers.
    2. standards vs numbers.

    I understand one point of view from the inside out and the other only as an observer, so it's hard to do equal justice to both, but let's see if I can try.

    On the first point, CNA belives that, while all workers are valued and all workers should be in unions, the Registered Nurse has a unique role in the system and should speak with a unique voice. We are the only members of the team that are commanded, both by the traditions of our profession and by our nurse practice act (in California at least) to act as patient advocates. We also have a role in the public trust that is unique. Being able to speak with the undiluted voice of the registered nurse, unmixed with other points of view, gives us an authority that has served us and the public very well in a series of political fights. We have been able, in many places, to work in close concert with other unions, including SEIU's California locals, to organize other workers and to support each other. But by being separate, we can go the way that our professional duty demands, without some of the political considerations we would have if we represented many different job descriptions.

    SEIU, on the other hand, believes in the strength of numbers and believes that having all the workers in a facility under the same union umbrella is the best way.

    One could no doubt cite examples to support both viewpoints.

    On standards, SEIU leaders have generally stated something like this point of view:
    That union density - numbers - both within an area and within an industry are the key to strength. They have also stated that it is worth it to give up some traditional standards and ideals in order to achieve growth, with the hope/belief that once the growth/numbers have been achieved the strength that comes with the numbers will bring back some of what was sacrificed in the short term. This has taken the form, for example, of giving up various aspects of worker/union rights in exchange for organizing agreements with employers: the right to strike, the right to bargain over wage rates in at least one instance, the right to bargain for improved health benfits or retirement benefits in others. In some instances, partnerships are formed in which the union agrees to support the employer's legislative agenda or use its political power to help relieve regulatory "burdens" on the employer. What the union asks in return, is an easier path to organizing, leading to greater growth, ultimately, in theory, leading to greater union power, and eventually, in theory, to a better life for the workers. SEIU leaders, notably international president Andrew Stern, have stated that unions need to align their interest with that of employers, show employers how the union can "add value" and abandon the old model of the boss as the enemy of the worker.

    CNA/NNOC, by contrast, tends to believe that standards, once surrendered, do not usually come back. While we have grown quite fast, we have generally done it without the need to sacrifice standards. In particular, we believe that the RN role as patient advocate and public advocate can never be sacrificed to make agreements in the name of growth. We have certainly made use of neutrality agreements with employers, but generally have won those agreements at the bargaining table, rather than giving up things we think are important to win them. We think that long term strength, and even long term growth, come from: winning good enough contracts to give employees a reason to organize, giving workers the greatest possible role and the truest possible union democracy, and aligning our interest with the interest of the public believing, as we do, that what is good for the patient and the public and what is good for the nurse are nearly always the same. CNA leaders believe that, while the interest of the employer and the interest of the worker can sometimes run together, they more often are different and a union - especially a union representing nurses - can never subordinate the nurses obligation to the patient to the interest of the employer.

    that's my best effort for the moment. I am leaving for 3 week vacation out of the US in a couple days, so I won't be able to stick around for an extended exchange, which I rather regret. Not enough to stay home, though. Hopefully others will pick up the thread.
    mdfog10, Julia RN, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
  13. Visit  lucretiamott profile page
    7
    Dear all,

    If you have read anything about the woman whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow, she was a radical, a revolutionary, a bit of a trouble maker and above all an idealist who felt that it was her vocation in life to not only improve the lot of the sick, but open doors and windows to women who were not allowed to have a voice, let alone a position of authority and responsibility in English society. She fought many battles with doctors who viewed nurses as servants with no brains, government officials in the military and in public health who viewed dainty women like her like pests and lastly, her own family and a society who believed women should restrict their activities to the parlor when it came to political or religious thoughts. She wrote a small novel, "Cassandra" that would have scandalized British strait-laced society had it been published in her lifetime, intimating that Christ, upon returning for his second try, would come back as a women, fight for the poor and not be recognized as significant because he chose to return in the form of a woman whose significance in society has already been discussed. The best work so far about her, "The Making of A Radical Theologian" by British historian, Val Webb, is a testimony to her fighting spirit and her determination to change herself and better the lot of the common man in her day.

    I am new to "allnurses" but I am not new to nursing. I have been an RN for 17 years and thing as an NP (13 years now) have gone from good, to bad to ugly when it comes to my practice in public health and health care in general. It is becomig more difficult to care for patients given our current system that asks for the cash, the credit card and insurance number first before we find out why our patients are sick. If you do manage to get through the door you will be billed, co-payed and deductibled to death. The system is currently on life-support supported by the largest, meanest and lastly, socio-pathic group of corporations, insurance companies and hospital chains, who like the oil companies gouge us to death, literally, to make money off our patient's pain and suffering and our naivete over our ethical duty to fight this system on behalf the woman who struggled to build for us.

    I have read the comments about the need for "unity" for all nurses. But unity at the expense of what?? I have followed the arguments carefully, and as an SEIU nurse who has seen my local change from a small, fighting local into a large conglomerate who is currently, capitulating to the downtown interests, I yearn for a return to our days when we challenged vocally and militantly and won back our services with our patients at our side. Now, we sit and watch as 14 critical care PHN's are lost, our workman's comp clinic out-sourced, nursing home units closed and nurses re-assigned and credit card readers in my clinic and even in homeless clinics up and ready to go to charge my patients for the services I know many cannot afford. There has not be a mailer, a flyer
    or a fax to organize or inform of planned rallies or efforts to fight this time. But there have been many flyers, mailers and pizza meeting to bash CNA/NNOC over the past few weeks. Mr. Stern's letter rings hollow, when there are many nurses like the 400 in Reno, who long for a change out of SEIU. The head of that local even intimated that the 400 who voted were ill-informed and plain stupid and didn't quite understand what they were signing even though the card clearly stated the obvious. SEIU-I is dumbing down the process itself. That is why there is a reform movement within SEIU-I, ltself to take back the locals and return member-driven priorities back to the local level.

    In conclusion, the issues for the registered nurse in this debate, have gone beyond just what union will represent us in collective bargaining. It is fundamentally, about who will control our practice, our voice as advocates for our patients and who has the will, the spirit, the determination to fight a system that doesn't respect that practice nor our judgement. Unity is a comforting concept but unity at the expense of silencing the voice of the RN as a patient advocate or allowing that practice to be controlled by a system bent on placing us between good nursing judgement and our employers will to save or make money isn't ethical. As Florence would say, "All the results of good nursing, can be undone by one thing and one thing alone, petty management". She understood that concept even in the mid 1800's that management, in what ever form it took, would try and undermine that judgement when allowed too.

    Therefore, I would invite, those who want unity above all to read the life and work, of the woman we celebrate tomorrow. She has been in the shadows of history far too long. She was a radical, a mystic, an innovator and a militant who fought long and hard to give us the profession we have today. In my opinion, she would relish the debate going on in nursing but in the end support those who would challenge the system itself, the thinkers and the visionaries who want to change our system before it radically, changes us.

    I thank my colleagues at CNA/NNOC who speak for me and my patients.
    Julia RN, lindarn, Chico David RN, and 4 others like this.
  14. Visit  lucretiamott profile page
    4
    Dear all,

    If you have read anything about the woman whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow, she was a radical, a revolutionary, a bit of a trouble maker and above all an idealist who felt that it was her vocation in life to not only improve the lot of the sick, but open doors and windows to women who were not allowed to have a voice, let alone a position of authority and responsibility in English society. She fought many battles with doctors who viewed nurses as servants with no brains, government officials in the military and in public health who viewed dainty women like her like pests and lastly, her own family and a society who believed women should restrict their activities to the parlor when it came to political or religious thoughts. She wrote a small novel, "Cassandra" that would have scandalized British strait-laced society had it been published in her lifetime, intimating that Christ, upon returning for his second try, would come back as a women, fight for the poor and not be recognized as significant because he chose to return in the form of a woman whose significance in society has already been discussed. The best work so far about her, "The Making of A Radical Theologian" by British historian, Val Webb, is a tehttp://allnurses.com/forums/images/smilies/added/cry.gifstimony to her fighting spirit and her determination to change herself and better the lot of the common man in her day.

    I am new to "allnurses" but I am not new to nursing. I have been an RN for 17 years and thing as an NP (13 years now) have gone from good, to bad to ugly when it comes to my practice in public health and health care in general. It is becomig more difficult to care for patients given our current system that asks for the cash, the credit card and insurance number first before we find out why our patients are sick. If you do manage to get through the door you will be billed, co-payed and deductibled to death. The system is currently on life-support supported by the largest, meanest and lastly, socio-pathic group of corporations, insurance companies and hospital chains, who like the oil companies gouge us to death, literally, to make money off our patient's pain and suffering and our naivete over our ethical duty to fight this system on behalf the woman who struggled to build for us.

    I have read the comments about the need for "unity" for all nurses. But unity at the expense of what?? I have followed the arguments carefully, and as an SEIU nurse who has seen my local change from a small, fighting local into a large conglomerate who is currently, capitulating to the downtown interests, I yearn for a return to our days when we challenged vocally and militantly and won back our services with our patients at our side. Now, we sit and watch as 14 critical care PHN's are lost, our workman's comp clinic out-sourced, nursing home units closed and nurses re-assigned and credit card readers in my clinic and even in homeless clinics up and ready to go to charge my patients for the services I know many cannot afford. There has not be a mailer, a flyer
    or a fax to organize or inform of planned rallies or efforts to fight this time. But there have been many flyers, mailers and pizza meeting to bash CNA/NNOC over the past few weeks. Mr. Stern's letter rings hollow, when there are many nurses like the 400 in Reno, who long for a change out of SEIU. The head of that local even intimated that the 400 who voted were ill-informed and plain stupid and didn't quite understand what they were signing even though the card clearly stated the obvious. SEIU-I is dumbing down the process itself. That is why there is a reform movement within SEIU-I, ltself to take back the locals and return member-driven priorities back to the local level.

    In conclusion, the issues for the registered nurse in this debate, have gone beyond just what union will represent us in collective bargaining. It is fundamentally, about who will control our practice, our voice as advocates for our patients and who has the will, the spirit, the determination to fight a system that doesn't respect that practice nor our judgement. Unity is a comforting concept but unity at the expense of silencing the voice of the RN as a patient advocate or allowing that practice to be controlled by a system bent on placing us between good nursing judgement and our employers will to save or make money isn't ethical. As Florence would say, "All the results of good nursing, can be undone by one thing and one thing alone, petty management". She understood that concept even in the mid 1800's that management, in what ever form it took, would try and undermine that judgement when allowed too.

    Therefore, I would invite, those who want unity above all to read the life and work, of the woman we celebrate tomorrow. She has been in the shadows of history far too long. She was a radical, a mystic, an innovator and a militant who fought long and hard to give us the profession we have today. In my opinion, she would relish the debate going on in nursing but in the end support those who would challenge the system itself, the thinkers and the visionaries who want to change our system before it radically, changes us.

    I thank my colleagues at CNA/NNOC who speak for me and my patients.
    mdfog10, lindarn, RN4MERCY, and 1 other like this.


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