Nurse Unions

  1. Hi all,

    Although I worked in the US for 13 years, I never worked in a hospital that was unionised.

    The unions over here in the UK, have just screwed the nursing profession over YET AGAIN. I am sure that the two big unions are in bed with the government!

    Anyway, I am interested in how unions work in the US, I would love to know if they function differently than here in the UK.They probably do, as over here we have the dreaded socialised medicine, but I would love to understand the difference.

    Thanks a bunch
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   BookwormRN
    At the hospital in which I work, the Nurses are Union. I am a newer nurse and I think it is great!

    We are a small hospital, but our benefits and pay are GREAT!!! I work part-time, but get full-time benefits (meaning that my insurance coverage costs me no more than a full-time employee would pay)...Our pay scale is terrific!!! As a new grad, I was getting approx. $4/hour MORE than the nearest "Big" hospital nurses...(I just interviewed for a psych nurse position, and their highest pay rate was just cents more than I am making now, and I've only been a nurse for 7months).....

    Also, for just pennies a month, we can get malpractice insurance through the union...Makes me feel like my backside is covered!

    Just a note, it is not mandatory that we join the union; all nurses benefit from the union regardless of membership. I choose to belong.
  4. by   UKPedsRN
    Here I am a member of the RCN, but to be honest the only reason I ever joined a union is to get the malpractise coverage and receive employment advice, if I was getting a hard time from my employer - that only happend once, and I was ready to leave. I have never had to use my malpractise insurance.

    I would like to know how your unions function in negioating.

    I am fed up with the unions here, who cant seem to defend our great nurses. But would love to know if there was a better way for unions to work.
  5. by   ready4crna?
    Unions are regional here. If they are affiliates of the big national unions (AFL/CIO, etc) then you usually have a problem similar to what the OP is experiencing in that the negotiations are geared toward quick resolution, rather than better working conditions.The representation from these unions is typically not the membership, but highly paid union leaders that are more interested in getting back to the luxurious lifestyles they lead than improving conditions for the worker. There are also independant unions that are more representative of the membership and do well to improve overall working conditions. I had a good experience at the independantly unionized hospital, in that the pay and benefits were adequate, but more importantly- patient/nurse ratios were written in the contract, and the patients got better care for it.
    Bookworm- although your statement of membership may be technically correct, it is misleading. All unions in this country strive for a "closed shop" for all employee classes they represent. This means that if you choose to not join the union, you will not have a say in any vote or be eligible to run for office (shop steward, president, etc) BUT you will still pay dues. The unions can't make you "join" but they are gonna git that money.
  6. by   UKPedsRN
    I have always thought that unions are out for themselves rather than members. recent events in the Uk just confirm that thought.
    The government decided to give nurses a staged pay award, everyone was up in arms, then the regional alliances in N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland all gave their nurses the pay award in total. In England, the staged award still stands. And when the RCN balloted its members the vote was for industrial action. They then decided to have a 'Special meeting' and the outcome was that they decided to 'reluctantly agree' to the staged award, essientially making nurses in England poorer than a nurse who lives over the border - it is a disgrace.

    Why would a union ballot its members, then decide to go against what was voted for, if they were not catering to the givernment - they make me sick, and I would stop my payments, if I did not need my malpractise insurance. it is truely disgusting!
  7. by   BookwormRN
    Actually, if you choose not to join the union at our facility, you do not join. That means you do NOT pay dues. You have to sign a statement before funds can be taken from your paycheck-if you choose not to join, no funds are taken.
    Last edit by BookwormRN on Sep 25, '07

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