Anyone here management in a union facility?

  1. 1
    Curious about something. I know the benefits of working in a union hospital for a staff RN, and am wondering about how those who work the supervisory / management end of things feel about it. Those non-union jobs surrounded by union.

    Do you feel that you are frequently stifled by union rules? Do you have any resentment toward those who are having it "better" because of their contracts, while you are salaried and without union protections?

    The possibility of a job change is before me, and I'd like some feedback from those who work the "other side" of the union line!

    Thanks.
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    It is NOT an easy adjustment. What level of management are you interested in? If you have belonged to the union and are switching to management ....be prepared for all the Union bashing rhetoric that goes on.....and be prepared for your Friends to be very angry for leaving them. They will NOT be friendly...you are now one of ...THEM!

    Management doesn't like the Union...period. You will be expected to not like the Union as well....many Unions enter hospitals under adversarial environments because the nurses are maltreated and they feel they have no voice. The Union is trying to make the ADMIN hear......and the ADMIN is angry that the Union go in and continues to turn a deaf ear. So....they bicker...CONSTANTLY!!!! One feels they aren't heard...but the other isn't listening.

    You will have a difficult road to follow as you will have to "prove" your loyalty to the ADMIN and behave as they do....I was once talked to about " which side of the bread was buttered and by whom. I was management and I believed in fairness....some of the behind the door plotting against the "loud mouth" malcontents and how to "get rid of them...was tough on me. I have not been a Union nurse but I have worked at Union facilities as management.

    I did find sometimes that the adversarial atmosphere was exhausting. The Unions don't ASK for anything they essentially "demand" everything....and rightly so in some cases. The facility I worked for had a particular culture of management that deserved the Unionization of the facility...they asked for it. The Union was new so the wounds were fresh on both sides.

    It is difficult sometimes to discipline for the system itself protects the.....shall I say.....less [productive worker. It requires accurate documentation and adherence to the "rules" policies set forth by the contract. I won't lie that you are vulnerable with no contract for you are left to the whims of your boss....and if your "people" are too loud you are expected to quiet them without money/concessions or they will find someone who will.

    You will find it a HUGE learning experience but remember you are expendable. ANY management position is difficult so be sure you have a compensation package for all the time you spend over your 40 hours.....like flexibility or comp time. Of coure my expereince is way different that someone elses. even working with the same union at another facility is completely different. I left the position convinced after 25 years that nursing needs to be collective bargained across the board and that Unions are what nurses need in this environment today.

    My last advice....KNOW THAT CONTRACT!
    Wise Woman RN, Sisyphus, Altra, and 2 others like this.
  5. 3
    In my hospital most that have left nursing and gone into management are walked out after a few years. I don't know what it is like there. Upper management wants things done that go against most nurse-minded individuals and you need to be quite ruthless to satisfy their needs, it seems. I would never, ever consider leaving the union and going into management.
    Fiona59, RNsRWe, and lindarn like this.
  6. 0
    Thank you to you both. I'm not leaving the union for a management job in the same facility, however, but rather have never worked there before and know it to be union. I will probably know a person here and there who I have worked with in the past (non-union hospitals) but overall, I'd be a new person there. I guess you could call the position "middle management". Very visible on the floor, but very responsible (along with another) for the smooth, happy, and safe running of the unit.

    Is it reasonable to ask to see the nursing union's contract before saying yes, along with asking for benefits, etc to be laid out?

    I know as a salaried employee, I will be working longer hours (they say there are short days, too, but let's face it, how many times does it really happen that you can still work just 40 hours??). Was it spelled out to you in your employment contract how you would be compensated for overtime? I get the feeling that it's just "part of the job" and that I'll be expected to come in early and stay late. I'm ok with flexing hours, do that already with some days being insanely long and others short.

    I hadn't considered that if the staff (read:union) is unhappy with changes being put in place by administration, *I* may suffer the consequences. I have been in management long enough to know that no one is happy all the time, and no way can everyone be happy all at once, but it seems like you're describing a more common scenario of "being walked out" if the transition isn't smooth. Hmmm.
  7. 1
    Is it an educator or supervisor position. I was a supervisor and I was not salaried however I was not union at one place and a manager at the other.

    They won't "walk out" per say but there will be slightly more confrontational and they will tell you ALL the time that they are going to file a grievance....which is no big deal and usually thrown away. It makes them feel better.

    Going above and beyond is what management is all about. Coming in early and leaving late is commonplace. But there is down time and times you can hide in your office that makes it ok. Ask about flexibility to come in late to comp you time....for they just can't abuse you, legally, there has to be some compensation package. There are NO contracts to sign they just tell you what the benefits conditions are....what their ;olicy is...you can ask if there is any comp time for extended days over.....however OT is the expectation of management. Make sure your salary will reflect the amount of hours that are going to be required.

    They probably will NOT show you the union contract before hire and it actually has little bearing on what you do. It's about pay scale for years experience, who to cancel, floating, PTO, seniority, discipline procedures, grievance procedures. Asking about the conditions of your position and your requirement of your position responsibilities....compensation, benefits, comp time.

    It is like any other management position but you need to be aware that the nurses may not trust you right away and you are now in the "them"camp. Some facilities are tougher than others. I liked working at the Union facility and found labor negotiations fascinating.
    RNsRWe likes this.
  8. 3
    The staff nurses don't walk out. Management is walked out to their car by security. They come in to work and at some point are called to a meeting where upper management is waiting with security. They are then taken to their office to get purse, coat and a few personal items but nothing else. They are locked out of the computer system and escorted to their car by security. It is a very sad situation. Some of these people are nurses who have dedicated their lives to the hospital, make the foolish decision to accept a management job, find they can't in all good conscience nickel and dime the way upper management insists they do, on the backs of the staff nurses and are walked out. My last manager was walked out shortly after having a conversation with me in which she hinted at the demands made of her and her inability to treat staff the way they wanted her to.
    I have to tell you that most staff nurses are aware that it takes a certain type of personality to be in management and that includes the type of person who expects things from staff that will save money in spite of working conditions and safety. If you can be ruthless and put the almighty dollar before staff satisfaction and safety then management may be for you, if not and you value these things you will be walked out in short order. At least that is the way it is in my facility.
    Fiona59, CrufflerJJ, and RNsRWe like this.
  9. 0
    Ok, officially scared off! I was thinking that a big hospital would make a manager's job more secure than a small facility, but maybe I'm wrong. The union thing is a new variable for me, so good to hear the feedback.

    I have alot to think about, and thank you all for it. If anyone else has any thoughts, I'd appreciate them.
  10. 2
    The only time I was resentful of a union employee.....3:30 on a Friday. We were getting an admission. I (the DNS) asked one of the younger nurses to help me move a bed. "No", he said. "I don't have to, it's not in my contract that I have to move furniture." He was dead serious and wouldn't help me move a bed. I ended up doing myself....little twerp. Union or not apparently his mother didn't raise him properly.
    Fiona59 and RNsRWe like this.
  11. 1
    I have done it and I can tell you it was the shortest career path I diverged on in my 15 years of nursing. Lasted only 3 months 6 days. It was THE WORST experience I have ever had in any job in my life. The job literally sucked the life out of me and made me very, very unhappy professionally and personally.
    Being on the management side, you have to play by all the rules unions require and yet you have NONE of the benefits you are required to protect for your employees and patients. There is also a line drawn clearly between management and union employees. If you are a nurse, this is a very sticky situation to cross over into.
    At the facility I work at now, ALL nurses are part of the union. Nurse managers, educators ect. All departments have non-clinical directors who are not union and the nurse managers and administrators work together to run things. It is a much better scenario.
    I am not saying that this job can't be a good thing or that or that it won't be good for you. I would just tell you to be very careful when making this decision. Talk to other nurse managers, employees ect. Ask the hiring manager to provide people you other nurse mangers within the organization you might be able to talk to about their own jobs and challenges. This way, you have reasonable expectations about your job and truly understand what you are getting into.
    RNsRWe likes this.
  12. 1
    A critical factor I have always considered is the culture of the organization. What is their treatment of the staff in general? Are they the punitive type or more of a just culture? How does your direct superior treat the other managers? Look at historical data in terms of manager turnover. The turnovers speak a lot of the kind of organization you have.
    RNsRWe likes this.


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