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!
    BabyRN2Be, Merlyn, TheSquire, and 17 others like this.

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  2. 159 Comments...

  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 10
    Craziness! Btw the "slave" analogy is so true!

    And the sheep continue to follow...
    Merlyn, BigBee48, Lovely_RN, and 7 others like this.

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