Is the labor union philosophy and mentality a good thing?

  1. Is the labor union philosophy and mentality a good thing?

    Is it actually a great thing for staff nurses in general and the profession as a whole?

    Does pitting one nurse against the other while excluding other nurses who work at a facility the best we can come up with?

    As a group, cans we not do better by taking the same basic principles of unity and mold them into something the whole profession can gain from?

    As a group are we lacking in national leadership and direction to be able to come together?

    Unions do promote unity within the individual group but at the same time can promote segregation within the profession.

    I was recently taken back by what a nurse actually posted on this bulletin board. It was degrading to nurses in general and highly inflammatory. It went as far as to say that nurses did not care if someone lived or died that they were taking care of. The funny thing was that possibly many of the same nurses had worked at the same facility prior to a strike. Either as agency or the regular staff nurses who decided for whatever reasons to cross the picket line. Many of these same nurses will probably continue to work there after the strike is settled. I am sure that their care was not questioned prior to the strike and I bet their care will not be questioned after the strike. I hate to even post this here again even as a prime example of what the union mentality can cause other nurses to agree and go along with.




    <<The IVs were hung by the beds without care
    In the hopes that St. Peter would not soon be there.

    The scabs in their street clothes were taking a nap
    While the man in bed 7 just took a crap.

    These scabs care nothing for patients, as the death toll will tell. >>


    These scabs are nurses. As I said before many of them probably have worked there in the past. Now just how professional and unifying is this to the profession as a whole? And for a nurse to post this on a Bulletin board in support of a strike. This is truly scary. Makes me wonder just how far she would go. Will the next thing being spread by this nurse be something about other nurses intentionally killing patients they are caring for?

    Here is another example of what happens:

    <<We're gathering information from friends inside the hospital, who tell us the care provided by the strikebreaking nurses is unsafe and downright scary. When you get information from inside, be sure and document it at Strike Headquarters. We are providing this information to the media and, when specific enough, to the State Board of Nursing and the Health Division. The hospital continues to assert that "everything is fine" inside the walls, but we know better from all of the reports coming out. Help us keep track of those and make a report when you go back to headquarters.
    Also, we are maintaining a comprehensive list of bargaining unit members who have crossed the line and are working inside the hospitals and clinics. We need to prove to the media that the numbers of nurses who have crossed are many less than management is asserting. This is the only way we can continue our pressure on the hospital to transfer patients out during this strike. We all know -- and so do our patients -- that the only care they can count on is the quality care we provide. When you go to Strike Headquarters, be sure and add names you have verified to the list.>>


    This kind of sounds like a witch hunt to me. Much of it plain and simple retaliation from one nurse against another.

    Everyday in just about every hospital a nurse makes a mistake of one kind of another. In fact, if you are a nurse you will eventually make a mistake sooner or later. I hope it is a simple one. But these nurse who have chosen to cross the picket line for whatever reasons they had are subject to facing an inquisition if they make the simplest of mistakes. In this particular strike they report that 100 staff nurses have crossed the picket lines. I am sure that they are on the list. How does this promote unity and not segregation? How is this kind of thing good for the profession as a whole.

    Now also keep in mind that there are many nurses who work in these hospitals that are not represented by the union. Managers, directors of nursing, salaried nurses, nurses anesthetists, CNS, NP, and many times LPNs, not to mention nursing assistants find themselves either directly attacked or on the outside looking in. Many of these outsiders could actually be very beneficial in the battle to change things in a facility. But in the "us versus them" scenario it is not possible.

    Union tactics such as work stoppages and slowdowns are hard to argue against. It does make others have to actually address the problems. If they were just some way that all the nurses actually involved could participate in this type of action without pitting nurse against nurse.

    National leadership could go along way in not only promoting this type of unity but by actually organizing and directing it. This is what nursing truly needs.

    There is one thing for sure that we do not need. We do not need nurses actively accusing other nurses of not caring if a patient they are taking care of lives or dies. If this is the bandwagon you have to jump on in order to be a good union member, then count me out.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Jan 4, '02
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Wild there is definitely too much division in the profession for nurses to just form some organization and work together in peace and harmony. I don't think that has anything to do with "union mentality". I don't think scab nurses or whatever they prefer to be called (strikbreakers? Replacement workers? I really don't know what the correct term is) are doing anything more productive for the profession than union nurses. I would argue that crossing picket lines doesn't do anymore to unite the profession than that sick scab poem. I would also point out nurses who choose to cross picket lines are often no less unkind to nurses who are picketing, saying they place money above patients' lives just like union nurses say about scabs.

    I agree that nursing needs unity. I am very satisfied with our situation here because all nurses are in the same union so they all do participate in work slowdowns, and other union actions. This is what you like judging by your post, but would you want to be in a unified group if it happened to be a union? We don't require that you degrade other nurses to be a member
  4. by   wildtime88
    would i like a organization that does not pit nurse against nurse or does not exclude the other nurses that i previously mentioned and with good leadership?

    hell yea!!!!!
    :d :d :d
  5. by   fergus51
    Even a GASP ...union? Would you be in favor of a state union that includes all nurses in that state or something like that? I just thought something so uniony would be distasteful to you Wild.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Jan 3, '02
  6. by   wildtime88
    why not a national union that would encompass everyone?

    As long as they did not pit nurse against nurse or does not exclude the other nurses that I previously mentioned and with good leadership?

    And why not a national organization?

    Here in the U.S. nurses in management do not participate in unions. There has been legal rullings against it.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Jan 3, '02
  7. by   kewlnurse
    Have you ever worked for a union Wild? I do, not only in nursing but in toher jobs as well, and i am here to tell ya, by no means do they even come close to the Nirvana that you think they can provide, all the things that happen in non union places happen in union places, except as an individual you have no say whatsoever. They keep lazy incompetent people employed, they keep excellent intellegent people from reaching a higher level, and they cost money. After reading your various post I thought you were relativly with it, now I am begining to think, after reading your pro union posts, that you are relativly naive.
  8. by   wildtime88
    kewlnurse,
    if you reread my comments I think you wil see that they are actually pro-nursing. There is a difference in the approach I would dream of seeing.
  9. by   fergus51
    I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to a national union or organisation or whatever, but the competition that comes with different provinces having their contracts come up at different times has helped us. Each province can say "Look at how much that province got, we have to at least match it". I would be concerned that a national organisation would keep wages down as the only point of comparison would be the US and we in Canada are never going to be able to get those types of salaries unless healthcare is privatised. American nurses would only be able to compare themselves to Canadians and I doubt you all want your payscale to max out at 20$ an hour.

    Kewl, I agree unions are not Nirvana. There are only as good as their active membership and people have to take a stand and set up important criteria in order to weed out the incompetent nurses. The reason I particularly like the union I am in is because it gives me an avenue to deal with probems and support when I need help doing so and because it is unifying as frustrating as it can sometimes be. Dues are a pain, but I think they're worth it. One thing that will never happen at our hospital is scab nurses coming in.
  10. by   ohbet
    I will share my own experience with the union and its positive.
    Our union provides us,staff nurses, with protection from the sometimes unethical, sometimes mis-informed practices and decisions of management.
    Unions are right on.Long live the Union. Im sticking to the Union.
  11. by   hadit
    Can those of you that know -name which unions are the better ones for nurses?
  12. by   nurs4kids
    lol, hadit..i think that's a wonderful question...

    that will probably cause another division
  13. by   wildtime88
    Ohbet,

    I have to ask just what you do related to nursing. In one post you are asking what titration is and in another you are asking basic questions about ETOH abuse.

    Are you a nurse, a nursing assistant, or a nursing student?
  14. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by hadit
    Can those of you that know -name which unions are the better ones for nurses?
    I'm happy with mine in Canada (BCNU), but you might want to specify what area you are in to get relevant replies.

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