Do unions help nurses?

  1. I work at a large urban hospital where there is a severe nursing shortage. We are often understaffed and our RN starting wages are significantly less than in other nearby metro areas. Many of the nurses are looking for a union to help the situation. I am a newer RN who works on a telemetry unit. Does anyone have any experience, positive or negative, with unions? I feel uneducated about the matter and unions are not presently at any of the other medical institutions in our area. I have gone to one meeting and like what the union organizers have to say. Any feedback on unions and their effect on nursing would be appreciated.

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    pseeRN
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   maikranz
    Originally posted by psee:
    I work at a large urban hospital where there is a severe nursing shortage. We are often understaffed and our RN starting wages are significantly less than in other nearby metro areas. Many of the nurses are looking for a union to help the situation. I am a newer RN who works on a telemetry unit. Does anyone have any experience, positive or negative, with unions? I feel uneducated about the matter and unions are not presently at any of the other medical institutions in our area. I have gone to one meeting and like what the union organizers have to say. Any feedback on unions and their effect on nursing would be appreciated.
    Greetings!
    Get in touch with your state nurses association; they will have the answers you are looking for and if they are like our SNA, will direct you to where to find information. Nurses should be the group to represent nurses, not teamsters, municipal workers, teachers, etc.
    Good luck! :-)
  4. by   Cindy A
    I obtained my BSN at Wayne State University. In our program we were taught that nursing is a profession with a unique body of knowledge, theory, practice. That some day entry level nurses would have to have a BSN. That it was not professional to be part of a union. I strongly believed the part about union membership, until recently. My opinion had slowly been changing over the past 20 years that I have been a nurse. Now I have gone 180 degrees in the other direction. I believe that the only way nurses are going to have the power they need to affect change in health care is to have a strong professional nursing union like the teachers do. WHY? Because it is the unions that lobby the politicians to get the votes needed on certain issues. We all should join our state nursing associations for the same reason. Also, nurses do not get the respect and the compensation they deserve for the work and responsibility we have. Our emplyers can do whatever they want to us, whenever they want. They do not care that many of us are heads of households and that our families depend on our paychecks and our benefits. Also, we have years of education and a license at stake. We cannot work in situations where we are putting our license, our career and the patient's life on the line. I am currently testing the waters where I work to see if anyone is interested in joining a union. I think that nurses should be represented by the ANA and the local state nursing organizations. In Michigan it is the Michigan Nurses Association. Finally, I believe that the union needs to be a professional, nursing specific organization, such as the ANA (MNA). Nurses should not be represented by groups such as AFSCME or the UAW.
  5. by   PHIGG
    I ALSO WORK ON A TELEMETY UNIT IN A LARGE COMMUNITY HOSPITAL WE HAVE A UNION ALTHOUGH I DID NOT VOTE FOR IT ORIGINALLY, I AM GRATEFUL TODAY THAT WE HAVE THE UNION WE HAVE BEEN BOUGHT OUT TWICE AND BECAUSE OF THE UNION KEPT OUR ORIGINAL CONTRACT AND NEGOTIATED FOR A NEW ONE THE UNION REALLY HELPED US WITH SALARIES AND MANDATORY OVERTIME ISSUES
  6. by   feminist nurse
    IMHO

    UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG!

    And you all see where begging has gotten us!

    I was part of an organizing campain within the last few years. It's a difficult thing to go through, but DEFINATELY worth the effort.

    When your management says that you don't need a union between them and you, why do you think they say this?

    It's because they will lose some control, and the nurses will gain some control over their work life.

    When they say you don't need a contract. Ask them if they are under contract.

    For about a million years, the ANA has supported collective bargaining for nurses. So I can't fathem that your educators deliberately gave you wrong information.

    I work in a hospital that is attached to a nursing school. And you know what? They also teach that organization by nurses is
    unprofessional. Coincidence?

    Well guess what! Just within the last year the American Medical Association endorsed physicians organizing. Engineers at Boeing are organized. And they're not professionals? Teachers are organized. And they're not professionals?

    Get a grip ladies. If organization didn't help nurses, management wouldn't oppose it!

    UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG!!

    Check out www.califnurses for one of the best staff nurses internet site. It's filled with amazing information. And it's our responsibility to educate the nurses we work with.

    And for the real low down on bedside nursing check out REVOLUTION magazine. It really tells it like it is and will give you something to chew on. As a matter of fact, some management HATE this empowering journal so much that they FORBID it to be in their institution! NOW THAT MUST REALLY BE EMPOWERING IF THE MANAGEMENT HATES IT SO MUCH!

    Buena Suerta. Educate yourself and your collegues. I've been on the negotiation committee several times. IT IS A MOST EMPOWERING EXPERIENCE.

    Go for it!!

    Just do it!!

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