A CALL FOR A NATIONAL NURSING UNION

  1. The time is now. The crises has begun. We have the power. This is the time where we as fellow nurses can fully unite and be not only a tremendous force of change in the working conditions and salaries of health care professionals, but also a powerful reformatory political presence within our own government, with regard to what qualities of caring human beings are entitled to within this country. I call for a National Movement of Zero Tolerance. ZERO TOLERANCE to less than ideal care of human beings, whether they be beings recieving care or giving it. We as Nurses must unite and categorically REJECT base salaries less than 75,000.00 per year, mandatory overtime, patient ratios >2/1 in the ICU's, >4/1 on TELE, and >5/1 on MED/SURG. We must REFUSE vacation time less than 1 month per year. We must REFUSE to be Phlebotomists, R.T.s, EKG techs, etc. while simultaneously having the responsibility of being an RN. We must DEMAND pension plans AND 401k plans (with solid matching). We must DEMAND exceptional differentials and benefits. We are CARING FOR THE LIVES OF SENTIENT BEINGS, not slinging pizzas and burgers. It is time we recognize that the dangerous job we do calls for OUTSTANDING compensation and RESPECT! We must form a NATIONAL UNION!!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   nursedude
    We don't need a union... Just another nursing shortage.

    History is repeating itself again. Just like it did back in the 80's. There was a nursing shortage then. Nurses could name their hours, unit and there were sign-on bonus' etc.


    As far as rejecting base salaries of less than 75k... Although that kind of money sounds great, I doubt that if the base salary for all nurses was 75k, there would be any hospitals left.

    How realistic is it to expect the majority of nurses in this nation to agree on anything?

    Personally, I think a "national sick day" (or two or three) would cause the same effect...
  4. by   fiestynurse
    Back in the nursing shortage of the 80s, hospitals had to close entire units because of the lack of nurses. You won't have any hospitals if that happens either. We are the hospital's greatest asset! We are the revenue producers! They have to stop thinking of us as an economic burden.
    I also think that this present nursing shortage is different from past shortages. It's going to last a lot longer. And it's only in it's early stages. In addition, doctors are leaving,too. Medical school enrollment dropped for the first time in 40 years. I envision a collapse of the entire health care system within the next 2-5 years.
    Brace yourselves!!

    [ May 23, 2001: Message edited by: feistynurse ]
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    Current national nursing union with nursing leadership:
    United American Nurses http://www.nursingworld.org/uan/index.htm

    CNA, PASNAP and MNA all working to create a national group nursing led by nurses.

    SEIU/1199P another union with nursing members but not entirely nurse controlled.

    Agree healthcare in for a very bummpy ride over the next 5 years and maybe beyond.
  6. by   StaceRacer1
    WHY do we have to result to a a union to get what we want!!!! We have the most voices in the health care field!!!!


    We know want we want!!!! Better patient ratio's, higher pay, better Health insurance, better vacation time, matching retirement, etc.

    HOW many NURSES are there in the USA alone?

    Over 2 million!!!! Atleast!!!!!!!

    That is 2 million voices STRONG!!!!!!!!

    I learned in high school that to get what you want, we have to fight!!! Writing TONS of letters or e-mailing our politicians is one way that can help!!!!!

    Have we really done our part????? I have written my State Senator and my State representative to tell them WHAT I want to change in nursing!!! In fact, I plan to do this once a week, until something is done.

    I urge all NURSES to write to ateast one politician!!!! Usually all politicians respond back.
  7. by   LoisJean
    By chance are you including Licensed Nurses as participants with you regarding this particular topic?
  8. by   -jt
    we ALREADY have a national nurses union. Its in its infancy and was started last yr with 100,000 direct-care RNs (bedside, dialyisis, homecare, clinic, etc) who are ANA members:

    "The United American Nurses - the union for RNs by RNs" http://www.UANnurse.org

    Some people dont like that idea either.
  9. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by -jt:
    <STRONG>we ALREADY have a national nurses union. Its in its infancy and was started last yr with 100,000 direct-care RNs (bedside, dialyisis, homecare, clinic, etc) who are ANA members:

    "The United American Nurses - the union for RNs by RNs" http://www.UANnurse.org

    Some people dont like that idea either.</STRONG>

    How about a union for NURSES (yes, this includes LPN's) and not affiliated with the ANA. Bedside nurses need a voice of their own.
  10. by   Q.
    I agree with StaceRacer. We have power in numbers alone. We don't need a union. We all need to stay home one day.
  11. by   night owl
    Agree with you get more response with numbers, and a day or two home for all nurses would certainly do SOMETHING to jar their fool minds! All hospitals, and LTC facilities just to name a couple would absolutely sink without nurses as their backbones. What would they do if nurses didn't show up for work one day for all three shifts? What would happen to the pts? and who would take care of them??? Agency? Or would they start grabbing people off the streets??? I could just hear the BIG HEADS, "Hey, wanna be a nurse for 8-12 hours today? We could certainly use you!"
  12. by   NRSKarenRN
    How about a union for NURSES (yes, this includes LPN's) and not affiliated with the ANA. Bedside nurses need a voice of their own.
    Why do bedside nurses need a voice of their own? This would only serve to be more devisive. Concerns of bedside nurses expressed above
    We know want we want!!!! Better patient ratio's, higher pay, better Health insurance, better vacation time, matching retirement, etc
    are the same things nurses need who work in other areas like homecare, clinics, nursing educators, etc.

    Involved in the nursing profession 24 years now, the major problem is that bedside nurses have not spoken-up for themselves during unit meetings, hospital general meetings, when work restructuring occured, nor became members of RN or LPN professional associations or if they are members, participate at meetings or attend annual meetings.

    Licensed professionals ...
    Less than 10% of RN's are members of ANA and about 1% of LPNs of members of NFLPN.
    Attending my ANA districts meeting and
    state convention almost yearly that is the same amount of total members I see participating in the organization

    My district has 100 members...5-7 show up at meetings. In PA in the year 2000, We had approximately 1500 members--less than 80 attended our convention, the lowest amount I have seen..
    10 years ago when we had collective bargaining members, we had 1000 district members and 35-60 would attend meetings; 10,000 state members of PNA and 200 attended convention.

    Recently, I attended SEIU/PSNAP rally at PA state capital ( even though I am not a union member) to get legislators attention re introduction of mandatory overtime legislation introduced. The bigest union local in PASNAP is Crozer Chester with over 750 members, five rode on the bus with me to Harrisburg. Three of the nurses were active with me in PNA in the 80's and early 90's.
    Most attending the rally were middleaged.
    Where are the 20 and 30 year olds who wil be resposible when we retire in the next 10-15 years???

    How many bedside nurses do you know that fulfill hospitsl/SNf/Agency requirements re inservces, unit activities, licensure requirements willingly and independently without 50 prompts to get completed.

    Apathy and non-participation is what has led us to the current bedside crisis in my view.
    An organization is only strong if its members participate.

    [ May 24, 2001: Message edited by: NRSKarenRN ]
  13. by   nurs4kids
    OHHHHHH, i get it..it's okay for the LPN/RN to be divided..they NEED a separate voice, but the bedside nursing is a whole different issue? IF the goals of everyone is the same, then why isn't the ANA solving our problems?? I mean shouldn't they at least do what THEIR members need done? With that, by your explanation, the rest of us would benefit. ANA is focused toward upper level nursing. Their needs are not the same as ours (bedside nurses). I did not mean the term as literal as you took it. Is the home health and clinic nurse not also "at the bedside"? Their needs ARE the same as mine. No, a nurse educator is not faced with staffing ratio's, disease exposure, etc..THEIR NEEDS are NOT the same as the bedside nurse. Why are you ANA'ers so opposed to a new organization? What are your fears? If the ANA is so good to you now, then what do you have to lose by another nursing organization?
  14. by   -jt
    As an ANA member who keeps up on what the organization is doing, I disagree with you that it is not addressing the problems of the "bedside" nurse and that it is concerned only with "upper level nursing". I see the ANA out there, involved, and speaking out in all mediums to bring the plight of the direct-care nurse to the forefront and going after Congress to do their part to help the bedside nurse in all parts of this country.

    Why do you think the situation has gotten so much attention in the news? It was the strikes of ANA members in NY, MA, and Washington DC that started it. Its the involvement of ANA leaders with elected officials that got the US Senate Hearings started on the issues and got the President to committ to addressing them too. It was the initative of the ANA to have its state associations blitzing their states elected officials all at the same time on these same issues. Its the ANA research and the resulting statistics re: workplace conditions, the nursing shortage, declining quality care, etc. that made the news media sit up & pay attention & its the ANA out there being interviewed about it all by every TV and news journalist from local media to the front page of the NY Times to CNN and keeping the spotlight on the bedside nurse throughout the nation.

    I find it interesting that non-members who are not involved & do not know what we are doing in that organization keep parrotting this same mantra. I disagree that nurses should be divided by where they work. ALL nurses should be concerned about the issues affecting each different facet of nursing. Its all intertwined.

    As a bedside nurse I am concerned that advanced practice nursing educators are not paid what they are worth either & it has caused a shortage of them. If nursing education programs cannot be expanded because there are not enough educators, then new nurses cannot be recruited because there are not enough seats for them in nursing programs - because there are not enough educators. If there are not enough new nurses coming in, I will be taking care of too many pts, forced to do mandatory OT & work short-staffed because there are not enough nurses.... because there are not enough nursing educators.

    So as a bedside nurse, I am also concerned with what is happening to the advanced practice nurses. I do not want to be in an organization that is only for bedside nurses. I may not always be at the bedside. I want to be in an organization that addresses all of nursings issues - and I am.

    As far as "fearing" or being opposed to a new organization, I am neither of those. There is a perception that some have about "fear" of a new organization, but believe me, no one is "fearing" the creation of any other group. Its your choice to choose whichever group you want to belong to. There can be a million different groups and it wont stop mine from carrying on the work we want to do while the others do what they want to do. To each his own.

    If you prefer to distance yourself from the rest of the nursing world because you work at the bedside, thats your choice to make. I make a different choice.

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