Why is unionization a subject of taboo??

  1. 20 Hey everybody,
    I work on a busy telemetry floor in Florida. Most days/nights (I work both) I am running around like crazy trying to get everything done with minimal time to take a break, go to lunch, or go to the bathroom. Pay is not that great and I feel as if upper mgmt continuously send patients that are not appropriate acuity for our floor. We are staffed 5:1 and have rapid responses/codes daily and are always shipping people off to the ICU for higher level of care. Also, our charge nurse usually takes patients and we are usually also short staffed a tech leaving the individual RN to fend for ourselves.

    I know it is like this everywhere (at least on telemetry units)....sooooo why aren't nurses banding together to stop this? Why is it such taboo to talk about starting a nursing union in Florida (or in other states for that matter)?

    In a private conversation with my ANM (who I have grown close with through the ups and downs of our crazy floor), I asked her this same question. She totally freaked out on me and refused to even say the word "union" out loud suggesting that if someone overheard us, we could be fired on the spot. What? Seriously? I'm not saying that unionization is the absolute answer but maybe blending some of their ideas with our own to make for a better workplace for all. Why are we not allowed to even talk about it out loud? This isn't a dictatorship. And nurses continue to put up with this. They say things like, "It is what it is." Actually, usually, it is what it shouldn't be.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. As a disclaimer, I am very thankful to have a job and I do enjoy taking care of my patients. Have a great day!
  2. Visit  wanderlustRN24 profile page

    About wanderlustRN24

    wanderlustRN24 has '2' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Telemetry'. From 'North Florida'; Joined Oct '11; Posts: 36; Likes: 52.

    159 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  roser13 profile page
    5
    Good question. All I know is that union talk is just about as polarizing as religion, politics and abortion. Strong, strong emotion no matter which side you support.

    Historically, it has always been union vs. employer. Any employee who so much as showed an interest in listening to a union organizer was considered traitorous. Apparently, times have not changed very much.

    I can somewhat understand the reasoning behind the paranoia of employers. No matter what the circumstances, a union will always be viewed as setting up an adversarial relationship between employee and employer.
    Last edit by roser13 on Oct 13, '11
    talaxandra, wowensue, Jarnaes, and 2 others like this.
  4. Visit  KimICURN profile page
    17
    I don't understand what the problems with unions are either. I went to school in California where the ratio is 4:1 on med/surg floors and 2:1 ICU ALWAYS! I had to move to Texas to find a job after graduation where the ratios are often 6:1 on med/surg floors and sometimes 3:1 in ICU, CRAZY!!! I feel bad for those nurses, really that is just unsafe. Personally, once I get my experience I will ship on back out West because of that and the horrible pay here. I could make 2.5 times the pay and better benefits. I don't understand why the subject is taboo, maybe someone will enlighten us.
    megannicky, MsLVN-BSN2009, kalevra, and 14 others like this.
  5. Visit  Ruthfarmer profile page
    24
    The reason it's taboo is that our society is often driven by fear and ignorance. Often people feel powerless and hopeless, and this feeds right into the fear. Often people are ignorant regarding options & solutions. Fear often furthers ignorance.
  6. Visit  kakamegamama profile page
    6
    I don't know about Florida, but Texas is a right to work state. That means that unions are typically not supported in any fashion.....by anyone, employees, employers, etc. Typically, if there is reason to believe that staffing patterns in a right to work state are unsafe, it is good to invoke "safe harbor" and to keep good documentation, and to join the state nursing association. However, if one invokes "safe harbor", one must be ready to take flack for doing so. I worked in Texas, and have even refused to care for patients when I knew to do so would be beyond my ability to safely do so. This was done BEFORE accepting an assignment. The charge nurse wasn't happy with me, but the patient was better off without me. Anyway just my 2 cents worth.
    HazelLPN, kcmylorn, MissPiggy, and 3 others like this.
  7. Visit  lindarn profile page
    30
    Hospitals consider unions to be taboo, because, if their workers unionze, they lose their legal "slaves", which is what workers in right to work (mostly the south), have become.

    They have merely exchanged their "slaves", for employees. They no longer can control and terrorize their employees when there is a union who has made the employer sign a contract with their employees, so they can no longer fire workers at will, change working conditions, pay, etc. They have lost the abilty to control their employees. And they are not happy about their loss of control. They want to have total control over their employees.

    THAT is what the union debate is all about. Workers who are tired of being treated like dirt, compensated like dirt, while the employer has top of the line pay, benefits, "perks", while the peons are doing the work.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN,BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
  8. Visit  Illinurse2010 profile page
    19
    We would be one step closer to ending this problem is the government would pass the "Employee Free Choice Act" which gives workers the right to organize into unions w/o fear of retaliation from employers.
    IowaKaren, tyvin, TheSquire, and 16 others like this.
  9. Visit  MN-Nurse profile page
    25
    Because neoconservatives have convinced millions of workers that unions are evil and socialist.

    The main strength of the conservative movement has been using religion and "red scare" tactics to get middle class people to vote against their own interests. They have absolutely excelled at this.
    amautmb, Merlyn, makawiliwili, and 22 others like this.
  10. Visit  DizzyLizzyNurse profile page
    7
    In the LTC place I used to work for there were a bunch of different facilities. A couple were union, most weren't. I worked at one that wasn't. I was going to transfer to one that was but the job was PT. I asked if I could work PT in each place so I could have FT and was told no because the other place is union and "we don't like to mix union with non union."

    Interesting. Obviously it's because it's easier to make money off of trying to get away with short staffing then making sure they have to follow union rules.
  11. Visit  wanderlustRN24 profile page
    10
    Craziness! Btw the "slave" analogy is so true!

    And the sheep continue to follow...
    Merlyn, BigBee48, Lovely_RN, and 7 others like this.
  12. Visit  Rodoon profile page
    7
    I lived and worked in a right to work state. Unions did try to organize and every single RN that went to the meetings were fired. All of them had to move out of the area in a greater than 200 mile radius to get a job. We worked low pay and higher patient loads as the norm and basically had no voice. If it ever got to a vote, I still don't think it would fly. Another poster suggested neocons would fight if from pulpits-true, but RN's somehow believe being in a union is UNPROFESSIONAL. I can't tell you the number of talks we had about it. (Notice I said talks not arguments) The number one thing I heard was--I went to college--or I'm not a blue collar worker, or if nurses were suppossed to be unionized the JCAHO would mandate it. Seriously, I envied the unionized nurses.
    megannicky, TheSquire, kalevra, and 4 others like this.
  13. Visit  lindarn profile page
    16
    Quote from Rodoon
    I lived and worked in a right to work state. Unions did try to organize and every single RN that went to the meetings were fired. All of them had to move out of the area in a greater than 200 mile radius to get a job. We worked low pay and higher patient loads as the norm and basically had no voice. If it ever got to a vote, I still don't think it would fly. Another poster suggested neocons would fight if from pulpits-true, but RN's somehow believe being in a union is UNPROFESSIONAL. I can't tell you the number of talks we had about it. (Notice I said talks not arguments) The number one thing I heard was--I went to college--or I'm not a blue collar worker, or if nurses were suppossed to be unionized the JCAHO would mandate it. Seriously, I envied the unionized nurses.
    Teachers are almost 100% unionized. They ALL have at LEAST a Bachelors Degree, if not a Masters. If it is not professional for teachers to be unionized, and they amost are, why would it not be professional for nurses to be unionzed?

    The diference is in the individuals who are attracted to teaching, and the individuals who are attracted to nursing. Potential nurses seem to have a universal, pathological, need to be needed. The difference is also is the philosphy between nursing and teaching.

    Teachers are supported by each other and their governing bodies, and union organizers. New teachers are supported and nurtured in their early years. Nurses are thrown under the bus when they are beginning practitioners, and if they exhibit qualities of questioning authority, feelings of self worth, and the belief of self worth and of not allowing others to stamp all over them. That is the difference

    Nurses are also fed the anti union nonsense from the get go. And they buy it hook line and sinker.
    JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN,CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    CCL RN, megannicky, kalevra, and 13 others like this.
  14. Visit  TriciaJ profile page
    6
    I don't have anything to add, but this is a subject dear to my heart. I used to belong to an "open shop" meaning nurses didn't have to pay union dues, but still were represented. I call them "freeloaders". In my years there, I encountered incredible ignorance and misperception in otherwise intelligent people.

    Professional vs blue collar? That is a ridiculous distinction when you're being treated with the utmost disrespect. And instead of presenting a united voice, too many nurses resort to fighting among themselves when the workloads are unmanageable.

    This forum is a wonderful thing. Is there a way to bring more nurses on board and help them to see where their bread is really buttered?
    TheSquire, Sisyphus, RNLaborNurse4U, and 3 others like this.

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