Nurses and unions - page 3

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   screwtape
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by spacenurse:
    [
    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.

    Spacenurse,

    I regret interjecting this into the topic. There is no way I can explain my views on this in a decent amount of space and not try everone's patience. Let me try to be very brief and believe me when I say I'm not some cold-hearted bastard who wants to kick old people out in the snow.

    I am against the federal socialization of health care. The federal government should not be in the health insurance business. Standards and safe guards? Of course! But not large scale subsidization or total control. The VA hospitals are not public but a service to our armed forces and should be paid for by the government. I have no experience with any other health care system (unless you call military medicine separate). I have never experience a lack of services. The fact that other industrialized nations have universal coverage does not impress me. We are not other countries, we are the United States with a unique, Jeffersonian, system of government.

    Having said this, I will apologize again for interjecting this type of politics into the discussion and will not speak of it again.

    Now! I am an ADN. I believe that the BSN should be the entry level in to nursing. In reality there is no '2 year' program any more. There is so much prerequisite work that it takes nearly 4 years for people to get through the programs anyway. It only took me 2 years because I had had some college earlier in live and I was able to handle a very heavy class load. I do think that the BSN program should be more intensely clinical with less soft subject matter. Nurses need training more similar to physicians, not to try to be doctors but to learn how to think like doctors. I am probably not stating this correctly, it's been a long night .

    screwtape

  2. by   mom22
    Call me naive, but I never even knew there were unions in Nursing. I'm in a right-to-work state (Texas). I've had 3 jobs over 7 years. I have been well treated and well paid by all. I have never heard the term 'mandatory overtime'. At work last night, I was asking about unions. No one had much, if any, opinion. Someone looked out the window at the huge Texas Medical Center and said, "If I don't like this place, I'd just move along to one of those places." There is so much work here, I can't see that a union would help us at all.
  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    [quote]Originally posted by screwtape:
    [b]
    Originally posted by spacenurse:
    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
    Well:
    According to the NLRB if the hospital pays according to a schedule it must do that after a request for a vote was filed. If the union trying to organize your hospital would truly file an unfair labor practice against a hospital for correcting the inequity that hospital allowed against the hospitals own policy, it is not a union nurses would want.
    In my experience however, nurses do not start an organizing drive unles they are treated badly by the hospital administration. Now this hospital admits AFTER a union vote is pending that it HAS NOT BEEN FOLLOWING IT'S OWN PAY SCHEDULE!
    NOW thay say it is because of the UNION they cannot pay what they were not paying in the first place. The National Labor Relations Board requires past practice and that the employer follow it's OWN POLICY. Think about who (Maybe both parties) is not telling it like it is. Are the union and the management both misrespresenting the law? Is it just one?
    I think if the nursing care standards are good, staffing levels safe, training and competency OK, floating is only done safely, and nursing work respected the union cannot win regardless of the pay.
    If the standards have been lowered, staffing is unsafe, staff is floated to areas they are not competent to work, and nursing concerns ignored there is a need for change. The right union and hard won unity of the staff MAY be the start of a solution.



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  4. by   johnboy
    I'm glad that i moved to California, where for the first time I'm involved in a union that really kicks ass! Yes, we all care for our patients, but really, we aren't nuns who have taken a vow of poverty.
    Why is it so hard for nurses to say, "Yeah, I want to make a lot of money for my skills?" Go ahead, say it, it really won't hurt at all!!
    We have a law that limits nurse atient ratios in ICU's at 1:2 (I know some of you have had 3 patients before, because I've seen it!) The California Hospital Association fought it all the way. Now we're in negotiations for safe staffing levels on the floors. I love unions, and they can work on at many levels to improve both patient care and NURSE satisfaction.
  5. by   lsmo
    Originally posted by Jenny P:
    I've worked in hospitals both with and without unions; and I much prefer to work in a collective bargaining setting. I didn't appreciate the fact that the hospital could jerk me around and not pay me for overtime worked because they felt I shouldn't have been there after my shift was over (when I hadn't finished the paperwork).
    There is an arm of ANA which is the UAN- it's the collective bargaining part of ANA. The State Nurse Associations do their own collective bargaining for nurse members with individual hospitals or corporations, and then these nurses benefit from the union information and resources at both the state and the national association levels. I've probably got it mixed up in telling about it, but here in Mn. the MNA have about 70-80 different conrtacts throughout the state with different hospitals and each contract is different according to what the nurses at that hospital want. Here in the Twin Cities there is no mandatory overtime-- and that has been that way since 1985, I believe. In other contracts in the state, they do have mandatory overtime in their contracts.
    I really apprieciate working in a hospital that has nurses doing the negociating for nurses. I've worked in a system where all workers were lumped in one union together; it just wasn't as sensitive to nursing issues as having nurses do it. I've been at this hospital for over 20 years, and have been through the big Twin Cities strike in 1984, and I had never been someplace that long before. A large part of that has to do with this contract-- and also the people that I work with.
    Screwtape, you said you won't join ANA because of their liberal ideas. If you join ANA, you could work to change them from the inside so they wouldn't be so liberal. Change works better from the inside.

    [This message has been edited by Jenny P (edited November 05, 2000).]
    I just want Jenny P. to know that I think your comments were on the mark. I think the ANA is trying to get its act together regarding improving their advocacy for STAFF nurses( who, I might add contribute the most revenue through union dues and memberships to their organization). I work in a union setting. I am represented by MNA in Michigan. What I have learned is that the union is what you make it and becomes a product of your personal investment in it. Let me tell you, we are seeing some great things happening with our union here in Michigan at Borgess Medical Center. We have recreated our representation and I am absolutely certain that we most definitely get a better "shake" then our neighboring nonunion hospita regarding nursing practice issues. For instance, our contract guarantees nurse practice issues are given a mechanism for resolution. Unfortunately some of our administrators still want to dictate our practice--no matter how unsafe it is--to save a buck.. This has been the best thing I have enjoyed through unionization. A mechanism contractually negotiated that ensures that staff nurses can manage their practice appropriately. It is ALL worth the effort to unionize--but you must take your "power" as a collective group to heart and get INVOLVED in ANY way and at ANY level within your institution or beyond. I would highly recommend considering unionization for any nurse who is looking for a collective voice. LSMO.



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    L.Smo RN
  6. by   screwtape
    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[/b][/QUOTE]
    Well:
    According to the NLRB if the hospital pays according to a schedule it must do that after a request for a vote was filed. If the union trying to organize your hospital would truly file an unfair labor practice against a hospital for correcting the inequity that hospital allowed against the hospitals own policy, it is not a union nurses would want.
    In my experience however, nurses do not start an organizing drive unles they are treated badly by the hospital administration. Now this hospital admits AFTER a union vote is pending that it HAS NOT BEEN FOLLOWING IT'S OWN PAY SCHEDULE!
    NOW thay say it is because of the UNION they cannot pay what they were not paying in the first place. The National Labor Relations Board requires past practice and that the employer follow it's OWN POLICY. Think about who (Maybe both parties) is not telling it like it is. Are the union and the management both misrespresenting the law? Is it just one?
    I think if the nursing care standards are good, staffing levels safe, training and competency OK, floating is only done safely, and nursing work respected the union cannot win regardless of the pay.
    If the standards have been lowered, staffing is unsafe, staff is floated to areas they are not competent to work, and nursing concerns ignored there is a need for change. The right union and hard won unity of the staff MAY be the start of a solution.
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The drive for unionization here started during the Columbia/HCA days. The hospital is now owned by a not for profit company which seems to be making efforts of repairing the damage made by C/HCA. However, the union has maintained an adversarial relationship with the management for no good reason. It's just business as usual for them.

    The hospital is admitting nothing, it is stating that it wants to rectify errors in pay for some nurses. This is the second audit made, the first being before the vote was pending. They have made no public announcement of this. Only a handful of HR staff members know of the project, so this isn't some scheme to defame the union. It SEEMS to be honest uncertainty on management's part on how to procede. I believe that they should go ahead with the pay raises and say to Hell with the union. But it is a given that the union will file charges with the NLRB, thereby delaying the vote further and running the risk of a bargaining order. Naturally, the management doesn't want a bargaining order but neither do I. I want the nurses to be able to vote for themselves, not have the union force fed to them by a judge.

    screwtape


    [This message has been edited by screwtape (edited November 21, 2000).]
  7. by   -jt
    "I MUCH prefer the ANA over a union"....

    I am a member of the New York State Nurses Association & it also is our RN collective bargaining (labor) union. It's a constituent of the ANA and a founding member of the UAN (United American Nurses), the new labor branch of the ANA. All the Rns NYSNA represents for collective bargaining are also members of the UAN. Soooooooo...
    the ANA IS my union..... as well as my professional association.
  8. by   Iam46yearsold
    do you really still feel that way -jt

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