Why is unionization a subject of taboo?? - page 12

by wanderlustRN24

23,664 Views | 159 Comments

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... Read More


  1. 4
    Quote from talaxandra
    I don't think you're a sheep for having concerns about unions, and I'm pretty sure I haven't ever used the argument that "I'm right because I'm right". I absolutely object to the idea that nurses who are unionised are somehow less skilled, able or professioanl than their non-unionised counterparts.

    I know full well that my government doesn't give a damn how skilled I am - they care about how much I cost, not how much I save the system by providing expert, proficient, educated, experienced care. Being good at my job isn't enough to get me the staffing I need to do my job, or the pay that I'm worth. I belong to the Federation because it means I have the support of the majority of my work force, access to experts in their fields, representation when things go wrong, and because I can't stand back and let other fight for conditions I get to enjoy.
    Well said!
    laborer, herring_RN, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
  2. 0
    Fair enough. I am really frightened by the NNU. I am probably not thinking clearly. Is it true that the entire leadership of the NNU is composed of RN's? If it's true, are they clinicians? The leadership positions in nursing at my magnet hospital are all RN's, but would not be safe nurses at the bedside without significant reorientation. Having the license is not really enough to understand the clinician. How are people selected for leadership positions in the NNU? I have more questions and it's O.K. to talk about unions at my workplace, they defeated a unionization attempt a few years ago. I still am opposed to unions but my mind is opening up by a tiny little crack. These threads with less rhetoric are helping.
  3. 3
    Quote from Woodenpug
    Fair enough. I am really frightened by the NNU. I am probably not thinking clearly. Is it true that the entire leadership of the NNU is composed of RN's? If it's true, are they clinicians? The leadership positions in nursing at my magnet hospital are all RN's, but would not be safe nurses at the bedside without significant reorientation. Having the license is not really enough to understand the clinician. How are people selected for leadership positions in the NNU? I have more questions and it's O.K. to talk about unions at my workplace, they defeated a unionization attempt a few years ago. I still am opposed to unions but my mind is opening up by a tiny little crack. These threads with less rhetoric are helping.
    I was a delegate to the founding convention of NNU, but I'm not directly involved in its governance right now - so this is coming from memory and might be off just a tiny bit - but it's pretty close: The NNU is governed by 3 co-presidents and an executive board that, if my memory is correct - I might be off by a couple - has about 15 members, including the presidents. All 15 are Registered Nurses, and most of those are working bedside nurses. NNU came together as an amalgam of existing unions, so each of those unions was able to appoint members to the exec board in proportion to their size. Only the treasurer (incidentally, a pediatric oncology nurse) was elected at large to the first board. Now, as part of the ongoing evolution into a more integrated organization I believe the next board and officers will all be elected at large. The reason for the idea of "co-presidents" is because it was felt important for the top officers to be actual working nurses and the demands of the job were too large to make that possible if only one person did it. Plus the idea of shared leadership, rather than focusing on a single individual seemed more in keeping with our values.
    herring_RN, lindarn, and Woodenpug like this.
  4. 2
    Quote from Woodenpug
    I have only had negative experiences with unions. The three different union hospitals where I worked were the worst three hospitals in my career.

    My experiences may have been atypical. Most of what I get from the union threads, though, is that to be anti-union is bad, "cuz I says u a sheep and dumb," or some "facts" which are really the union equivalent to the corporate "propaganda." This thread has offered some food for thought, thank you.
    Your experience is not atypical.

    I, also, have worked at numerous union facilities, and the facility as well as the(predominantly union) staff were such that I never want to work a lifetime in a union facility. By the same token, my experience currently in Magnet facilities has been superior. My current employer, has some staff (support staff/nonnursing) that are unionized, and many are, to put it diplomatically, less than optimal employees.

    I, too, am tired of the idea put out by many union supporters, that the union is all important, and that we who do not support unions, because we find them wrong or misguided in some of their stands, are evil minions of management. Or that Magnet is a problem, when it all depends on the facility, NOT the Magnet status.

    We should be supportive of each other and our individual experiences, union and not union. Many of us will never support unions because of much of the baggage they carry (deadwood employees that can never be fired), and many others will never work a nonunion job (the union has my back, and protects me).

    We need to stop slinging recriminations at each other, and work on cleaning up each of our houses, before expecting others to change to our ideas of right.

    (though I suspect that will be like snow in Miami in July.
    herring_RN and Woodenpug like this.
  5. 1
    @ Chico David RN Thank you for a straight forward answer.


    @ caroladybelle Thank you for understanding. Even at my hospital, where we defeated unionization a few years ago, I find little support. I agree, let's fix ourselves. Magnet status needs improvement, we should not "throw the baby out with the bathwater," as the unionist seem to suggest. BTW, I know of several Magnet hospitals that are unionized. Why not lobby to improve Magnet status, that would seem more relevant to nursing as a profession than some of the other union causes. I feel as if I'm hijacking this thread. Sorry, when I have a little more time I'll attempt to start a new one. Back to this thread.


    People at my hospital have no problem discussing unions, few if any are afraid of management disapproval.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 7
    Nurses aren't people, we are 'Servants of the Sick, Angles of Mercy and all the other stuff people call us. We do it for the 'Love of Mankind'. We care not for pay, we are above that. We are called by the gods. we have been to the Holy Mountain, put our hands on the Sacred Rock, as a lighting bolt comes down from the heavens, hits us right in the hind quarters, we shout "I AM A NURSE!" I better stop. I'm getting myself sick. No institution wants to deal with a union. Because they would loose their slaves. In spite of the 14th amendment, Master don't want to free us. They would have to hire more staff, pay overtime, give more benefits, descent working conditions, and treat us like Human Beings. That damn old German Karl Marx with his, "Workers of the World, Unite!" Now if you pardon me, I have to grab my cotton bag and head for the Ol' Plantation.
  7. 1
    Quote from Merlyn
    Nurses aren't people, we are 'Servants of the Sick, Angles of Mercy and all the other stuff people call us. We do it for the 'Love of Mankind'. We care not for pay, we are above that. We are called by the gods. we have been to the Holy Mountain, put our hands on the Sacred Rock, as a lighting bolt comes down from the heavens, hits us right in the hind quarters, we shout "I AM A NURSE!" I better stop. I'm getting myself sick. No institution wants to deal with a union. Because they would loose their slaves. In spite of the 14th amendment, Master don't want to free us. They would have to hire more staff, pay overtime, give more benefits, descent working conditions, and treat us like Human Beings. That damn old German Karl Marx with his, "Workers of the World, Unite!" Now if you pardon me, I have to grab my cotton bag and head for the Ol' Plantation.
    While cute, I find that to be less than informative.
    fuzzywuzzy likes this.
  8. 3
    You have to admit though, it was pretty darn cute! Especially the part about the lightning bolt to the butt!

    Someone a few posts up mentioned deadwood employees that can't be fired because of a union. In my limited experience, a deadwood employee doesn't need a union to keep his or her job! Kissing the right butts is just as effective. Seriously. That's why I'm so burnt out at my non-union job. I go above and beyond on a daily basis, only to get hammered for everything, while brown-nosing employees who are clearly NOT doing their jobs get patted on the back for the little work they actually do. Meanwhile when something doesn't get done because the hard workers don't have time to pick up ALL the slack, the butt kissers will turn around and throw us under the bus!

    I know I should just pucker up, but I can't bring myself to do it.

    At my union job, there's a lot less of that. No one feels the need to try and claw their way into the boss's lap at the expense of others because everything goes according to seniority, not who makes the most snotty comments about everyone else's work.
    Sisyphus, lindarn, and Merlyn like this.
  9. 4
    Quote from Woodenpug
    While cute, I find that to be less than informative.
    OK how about this. Nurses by and large are more timid, they think of the patient before themselves. You see it on this board yourself. " my supervisor had me in tears, I fail my RN boards, the patients family reported me...what should I do" while these are real concerns, it shows loving people in crises. It doesn't show the mind set of truck drivers, steel workers, construction workers, Dock workers- people that are use to a ruff life. We,as nurses, are taught that we are professionals we don't do things that might put the patients in jeopardy like form unions and strike.
    makawiliwili, Woodenpug, KelRN215, and 1 other like this.
  10. 5
    That is a mindset that starts and is reinforced in nursing school. You don't see PTs, OTs, STs, Pharmacists, with this demeaning mindset.

    Nursing schools have let nurses down, and are more concerned about the PTB, that allow them to teach nurses, that the nurses that they are supposed to be teaching.

    PTs, OTs, are taught business concepts in school, taught how to start a business, charge for their services, while nursings' professional practice is rolled into the room rate, housekeeping, and the complimentary roll of toilet paper.

    Until nursing unionzes en masse, with the NNOC, and takes control of our profession, we will always be at the mercy of the, "Massas". I am sorry but that is what it is.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN,BSN,CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    Sisyphus, fuzzywuzzy, Ruthfarmer, and 2 others like this.


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