Volunteer to be a union rep or not?

  1. 1
    Heres my situation....

    My facility just got our union contract signed in october after 2012 three plus years after being voted in. Not a lot of support from colleagues less than a dozen people at each meeting 130+ yes votes >10 no votes at the time of signing ( I did not cast my vote). I was critical of the union because of the insurance we got everyone I've ever spoken too that has had the union in other facilities has always told me that the insurance we didnt get is really only the best part of being in the union. So I was outspoken not necessarily against the union but about the health insurance, and I told my fellow coworkers when they would complain "its too late now babies on the way no abortion, they're in they're in."

    Now my situation is its getting close to time were we are going to pick/vote on our reps for the building...needless to say not many takers, we had had one but they were just fired. Some of the other people I fear will emerge as reps are the backstabbing shady pieces of trash that set people up you know the kind one may have had a hand in getting the person who was fired canned!

    I really don't want to be a rep but I cant work under cut throats either no one wants to be a rep, I'm kind of on the fence?

    Any input from some who has been or is now a rep. Id appreciate it.
    herring_RN likes this.

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  2. 2
    If you think you can promote patient advocacy and fairness for nurses you meet the qualifications I would vote for.
    The wrong rep could make it difficult for everyone.

    I represented my unit for years. Regarding discipline all I did was attend meetings and take notes. Some reps do more, but i only attended first step meetings. My role
    I was much more active on the union PPC, the nursing care committee.

    It takes nurses communicating and uniting for the union to really help patients and nurses.
    NRSKarenRN and canoehead like this.
  3. 1
    Quote from herring_RN
    If you think you can promote patient advocacy and fairness for nurses you meet the qualifications I would vote for.
    The wrong rep could make it difficult for everyone.

    I represented my unit for years. Regarding discipline all I did was attend meetings and take notes. Some reps do more, but i only attended first step meetings. My role
    I was much more active on the union PPC, the nursing care committee.

    It takes nurses communicating and uniting for the union to really help patients and nurses.
    Sounds impossible in my facility! Workers will do wrong and expect you to back them. I fear my facility which is one of the better facilities in my area for Workers and Pt.s alike will go down hill fast, this is just the start. Sigh
    herring_RN likes this.
  4. 3
    union members deserve fair representation. Just cause discipline.

    People who break rules, don't do their job have to be represented. management can make their case.

    I just told of my part. There is a process and I just did step one. I was there when the nurse was first called in. My notes were to ensure no one misstated what the other said.
    Then an experienced nurse representative or union staff would do the step 2 and 3 meetings with management.

    There is a committee of statewide elected direct care RNs who listen to the accused nurse and the representative to decide whether to go to arbitration. The committee has to agree there was no "just cause' for the discipline.

    Once a nurse was on call during bad weather. She was called in. Her car wouldn't start so she used a taxi. She was disciplined for not getting to the hospital in 20 minutes or less.
    The arbitrator agreed with the union that there were mitigating circumstances and the discipline was removed.

    I don't want to post the worst actions of nurses who actually asked for arbitration. Management was right to discipline some nurses and they proved it. All accused deserve fair representation.
    OC_An Khe, NRSKarenRN, and canoehead like this.
  5. 3
    I would voulunteer for it if I were you just because you are not " a backstabbing shady piece of trash". Your role will be to serve as a point of contact for union members and to provide representation to those members who need a witness in disciplinarian actions by management. You do not have to agree with what a fellow employee did or did not do, rather you are there to ensure due process. To make sure that an employees rights are not being violated. It does mean you will have to know the contract your union has negotiated and be able to explain it to those who can't. But it also means you will be part of the process and able to influence it in a way that improves working conditions for your fellow nurses. I have been a rep twice and would do it again if offered the chance.
    herring_RN, IowaKaren, and tokmom like this.
  6. 0
    I'd say go for it. Mainly because either way they will have a union rep and a crappy one will just make life miserable for the rest and you want an objective rep not one whose in management's pocket. If you dont like the selectoin you make your own pick even if its yourself. You want to make things better for the nurses so thats what unions are for. sure some people abuse the system and hide behind it so they can slack off, but that's not what having a union means. zaa this reminds me of my time as student leader .. similar of didn't like the choices, read up on the process and decided i could do it better, convince people of that and voila got it. So go get out there and take the job good luck
  7. 2
    There is good and bad in having union representation; the good is obvious, but one of the downsides is the laziest & complainingest employees are usually those who want to use the the union to take on every single grudge they carry...also as an excuse to work less and create more animosity in the workplace.
    You don't sound very enthusiastic, but you may find you enjoy the responsibility. You're right that many times it's the backbiters and malcontents who most want to be union reps, but you'll get much better feedback and probably more enthusiasm from the co-workers you represent if they have a rep they know is a hard worker and understand what they need to make for a safer, happier workplace.
    laborer and herring_RN like this.
  8. 1
    Maybe better to go back to school and grab a JD; law firms pay defense attorneys much more for doing the same thing and rarely lay people off.
    laborer likes this.
  9. 1
    I was a union representatives at my last place of employment. The job was stressful but was rewarding also. MONA was the union in the state of Missouri. I along with the union lawyers develop a contract with policies and procedure. Also that would be mandated for five Yeats. My duties were to have quarterly meeting with the nurses ans bring their concerns to administration and to recruit more nurses to join the union. I also had to record the meetings and do follow up to resolve problems. Acting as a mediator was also one of my duties when nurses were being discipline. Most of these NURSE fail to join the union but always wanted help. No one would take over the duties and a lot of the senior nurse have been fired or have had to hire an attorney to keep their job.
    herring_RN likes this.


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