Nurses and unions - page 2

The hospital I work at is nearing a validation vote. I am a full time RN there. There has been a long battle between the organization seeking to organize the RNs and the management of the hospital. ... Read More

  1. by   BJA
    spacenurse,
    I agree with much of what you say.

    However . . . . when I was a little kid, and I would feel unjustly insulted or accused, my mother would say, "If the shoe fits, wear it. Otherwise, don't worry about it."

    I am choosing to apply that lesson now. I will agree with what you say, but I will not "wear the shoe." I have no reason to defend myself, so I will not.
  2. by   tree
    I have been reading some of the discussions here as I am a new member here as well.
    I understand the debate that is centered here regarding unions. In my state we have had alot of controversy over the whole union issue for there was a hugh law suit pertaining to a facility where the staff were part of a union and one morning the phone rang at this facility and told the staff to leave due to strike. Apparently they were given instructions to leave the premises immediately. The nursing staff left people in showers, whirlpools, on bedpans, etc. I have been a nurse for over 13 years and my question is...Did we become nurses to leave our patients who trust us in this shape? Do we ignore them?
    I guess my point is why are we nurses. There are some that are concerned and some that just want a pay check. I am not saying that we all do not need our paycheck but we go to work with one thing on our mind when we enter the realm of caring...take care of your patient for you would not have a job to begin with and also you have to protect your butt today..so, I guess, I too, am caught between a rock, a large rock. Although it is not unions that I have a problem with, it is the large corporations that kill me...they pay us too little with staffing that is horrible and most of the time under regulations...I think that there should be tougher penalties against them...NOT US!!!
    Originally posted by BJA:
    spacenurse,
    I agree with much of what you say.

    However . . . . when I was a little kid, and I would feel unjustly insulted or accused, my mother would say, "If the shoe fits, wear it. Otherwise, don't worry about it."

    I am choosing to apply that lesson now. I will agree with what you say, but I will not "wear the shoe." I have no reason to defend myself, so I will not.
  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    I would NEVER abandon my patients! In any case that is illegal. I think TEN DAYS is enough notice! Whatever happened if any nurse just took a phone call and left patients that is wrong. You were there. I cannot even imagine such a thing!.
    As I read in DC the RNs were willing to help if management asked, however that same management who claimed they needed mandatory overtime to staff the hospital somehow managed to keep "business as usual" while almost all the RNs were on strike by using replacement strikebreakers for 7 weeks!
    How could they do that after claiming there was no alternative to mandatory overtime?
    When my kids were small I would quit rather than do mandatory overtime. Now I work for a non-union hospital that believes me when I say I'm too tired after 12 hours to give safe care. The work of all is respected from top management to housekeeping. That is why we are able to respect the patients. It is "Do unto others"
    Does anyone wonder why some few treat management in kind? I would unionize or quit if unable to care for patients.

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  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi colleagues. You have great points regarding this topic! I agree that traditional unionization may not be needed in every workplace. But, I do feel that there should be across the board uniformity of nursing, especially in education, state practice acts, and application of nursing process. However, establishing a higher level of homogeneity in nursing is always a difficult task to approach. This may be a contributing factor in low participation in our national nursing organizations.
    I think it's interesting to note that other professions have higher participation in their professional groups per percentage of practitioners, because they essentially start out at the same starting gate in their learning.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by screwtape:
    I MUCH prefer the ANA over a union. My problem with the ANA is that it tends to be a liberal organization. It wants more federal spending for hospitals and medicine, etc. I am a conservative, I truly believe that the gross intervention into health care by the federal government, starting in the 60s, is a big part of our problem. My delimma is one of, 'I don't like em so I won't join em' and I can't change em if I don't join em'. Course, my chance of changing the ANA is mighty small, IMO.

    screwtape
    I am very confused as to what you mean by federal intervention and liberal. Are you opposed to the Veterans hospitals, the Medicare program, the dialysis program, immunizations for school children, Medicaide, JCAHO and other standards, the CDC, military hospitals, insurance for members of congress, for other federal employees, loans and grants for medical and nursing education,money for pharmaceutical research grants, or what other federal program(s) do you think are wrong?
    It is a piecemeal so called system for sure.
    In your opinion does any country have better healthcare than the USA? Where?
    I am certainly in favor of safety regulations for our health including standards for health care facilities, clean water and food, and the FDA even if not flawless.
    Do you agree or disagree with the ANA on the BSN as entry into practice?
    I just don't understand your comments.
    Maybe this is off the union subject, but I'm very curious what nurses think.




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  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by BJA:
    spacenurse,
    I agree with much of what you say.

    However . . . . when I was a little kid, and I would feel unjustly insulted or accused, my mother would say, "If the shoe fits, wear it. Otherwise, don't worry about it."

    I am choosing to apply that lesson now. I will agree with what you say, but I will not "wear the shoe." I have no reason to defend myself, so I will not.
    Please don't think you have to defend yourself from what was NOT an attack. I only wanted to point out thet in my experience nurses with great charting who spend little time with patients are often rewarded. Even worse the nurse who is willing to discharge a patient who is still unstable without espressing that worry to the MD (or even providing good discharge instructions) or the nurse who transfers a patient to a lower level of care gets the reward while the true advocate does not. The greedy HMO makes obscene profits, patient is harmed and even that nurse cannot feel good about the extra money.
    I am not saying you do this, just that it happens.
    How else can a nurse say, I CARE THEREFORE THE UNCARING MAKE ME ANGRY"? I have spent more than fifty thousand hours providing direct patient care. I don't judge others without facts. I DO want us all to care or learn another occupation! Computers maybe?
    PLEASE not healthcare administration if you do not respect the process of nursing care!



    [This message has been edited by spacenurse (edited November 10, 2000).]
  7. by   fergus51
    Spacenurse,
    Do you really think that the USA has the best health care in the world? Have you ever been in a position where you needed care but had to consider how much it would cost you? I have, and it doesn't make me proud of the health care system. I used to live in the States and I think we had great health care- as long as we had big wallets. The health care system here is heading in the same direction and it really saddens me. I know this is off topic, but your post just made me think about how nurses are constantly limited by money and maybe national organizations can help with that.
  8. by   BJA
    I did not really take your comments as an attack, and I did say that I agreed with you. I was feeling a little spiky that day. Sorry. Your comment on great charting is pretty accurate too.

    I love this comment too. "I CARE THEREFORE THE UNCARING MAKE ME ANGRY."

    Keep the candle burning bright.
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by fergus51:
    Spacenurse,
    Do you really think that the USA has the best health care in the world? Have you ever been in a position where you needed care but had to consider how much it would cost you? I have, and it doesn't make me proud of the health care system. I used to live in the States and I think we had great health care- as long as we had big wallets. The health care system here is heading in the same direction and it really saddens me. I know this is off topic, but your post just made me think about how nurses are constantly limited by money and maybe national organizations can help with that.
    I have not needed healthcare in an other country. My question was asked because we are the onle industrialized country without some kind of national health system. Ours is very disjointed and confusing. When people are sick they don't always think logically.
    I have health insurance from my hospital job. When I hurt my shoulder it took 2 weeks for permission to se an orthopod, 2 more for authorization for an MRI, 1 week to schedule the MRI, 2 more after going back to my "gatekeeper" for authorization to see the orthopedic MD, then 2 more weeks for authorization for physical therapy. I was not able to work during this time! I was in constant pain and unable to move my arm or sleep at night.
    SO I don't think this would have been the case in the Canadian system (which is probably not perfect either.)
    I cared for a person who has the same HMO as me who had an MI requiring emergency CABG while waiting for authorization for an angiogram! This is PacifiCare. Not cheap. Look up Natalies post under "It's about $$$$$" to see Alan Hoops their former CEOs PacifiCare multimillion $ salary and bonus. Obscene!
    We may not want Medicare for all but we need to do something. It should not be partisan since all get sick no matter liberal or conservative. I just do not like to see greed rewarded in healthcare at the expense of sick vulnerable people.
    PS I tried to look up your country but it was not listed.



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  10. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by screwtape:
    [B]. I would like to hear what individuals have to say on the subject


    I will never work in a non-union Nursing job ever again. I like not having to depend on the good graces of my employer to see fit to "give" us a say in policies, a decent salary, adequate staffing, health benefits, etc. I want it in writing & legally binding.
    If the CEO can be assured of what he has to work with by his own legally binding contract, so should we be. (theres a reason the hospital fights so hard against RNs unionizing & dont think its because it wants to save you from having to pay dues!)
  11. by   fergus51
    Hey Spacenurse,
    Rereading your post I can see you were asking a real question, I originally thought it was meant as a rhetorical one.

    I now live and work in Canada, and the system here is in danger of turning into the same system as in the States, and we already have our own problems. Waiting lists are longer and longer, nurses salaries suck, rural doctors pulling their services (if a rural town is even lucky enough to have a doctor in the first place), and recently one province passed a bill allowing private clinics to be established so we can head to a two tier system like in the States.

    I used to live in the US and it always disgusted me that one of the richest countries in the world won't even provide reasonably decent health care to its citizens. I lived for a year in the Czech Republic and even liked their system better. You need a doctor, you see a doctor. (Kids who miss school still have to bring a doctor's note to say they had a cold!). And they're a former Eastern Block country with a less than great economy! Can't Canada and the US even match their commitment to health care?

    I totally agree with you that nurses who sacrifice patient care to help the bottom line shouldn't be rewarded. Excellent nurses are nurses who provide proper care to their patients, not those who help line an already rich CEO's pockets. I think individual nurses and nurses' unions and organizations need to educate people about this. Canada's nurses are all unionized, but that hasn't stopped the downward spiral. I don't know if unions are the answer or not.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you Fergus51,
    Not having the solution means to me we nurses have to keep trying. Too many, myself included, want to think the "hospital horror stories" won't happen to them. Sometimes trajedy is beyond our control, but suffering and dying to make a few richer needs to stop. Maybe unions can help, but one way or another we have to find some hope and energy. The truth is the truth. Eventually nurses saying what is true might make the big picture better.
    Like the guy I talked to all night, who had an angioplsty to open his 99% occluded LAD and still is mad at me for keeping away from his pet one night, the public may not know we saved them. We still need to try. The MNM may be part of that.
    Who else lives outside the US, especially Europe & South America? There are great MDs from those countries. How is it for nurses and patients?

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  13. by   screwtape
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by spacenurse:
    [B]I want to clear up a misunderstanding. At a hospital with a pending vote or having won union representation the "stasis" talked about does NOT freeze wages. If the hospital is doing that it is wrong. If the status quo was merit increases or any other pay increase that annual pay increase must be maintained. Any hospital that has been increasing salaries MUST continue to do so. If they blame the union for not doing this they are giving out false information AND breaking the law!

    There is another side of this coin. Staff at my hospital do not negotiate their salaries. Everyone gets paid by a schedule. Now, recently the hospital audited all RNs pay and found that some were getting underpaid according to the schedule. They are hesitant to give the nurses the pay they should get because they are concerned that they will be hit with an unlawful labor practice (as we are now nearing a certification vote). This is not merely smoke and mirrors on the hospitals part. They have the money set aside for the pay raises but are uncertain of how to procede. It should be said that the group attempting to organize the hospital has maintained an adversarial relationship with the hospital. Which is one of the reasons I am against organization at this point.

    screwtape

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