My friend, who is an experienced travel RN, is thinking about taking a job where she will make $5,000 a week pay, but she has to go to another state and cross a picket line to get to work. I know a little bit about strikes and picket lines from my father, who has been a manager in a auto-parts factory for years. I can remember during strikes people would actually try to attack him physically, damage his car, and even threaten to kill him.
Needless to say, I am pretty upset about my friend taking this position. I am very concerned for her safety. Does anyone know anything about nurses on strike? Can those strikes be as violent and dangerous as other union strikes?? I am trying to talk my friend out of going. Any insight/advice you could give me would be great. Thanks.
Jul 6, '04
I was a scab when I first moved to Hawaii. It just happened that I was moving here at the time the nurses were going on strike. The travel nurses were bused to and from their hotel to the hospitals. I would just ride the city bus to the hotel then ride with my fellow scabs to the hospitals. There were usually police officers near the picket lines although it was clear that they were pro union. We were blocked once by a group of picketers and I just got off the bus and walked right through them. Being a black belt in Hapkido helps!! Basically, there is every effort made to protect everyone. Oh, I did almost have one altercation as I was walking a few blocks from the hotel to my bus stop. I was tired (7-8 patients a day for 12 hr shifts 6 days a week) and not in a good mood that particular day. When some male nurses starting screaming at me, I invited them to step into the darkness between some buildings. They refused and I lost a chance to work out that night! This was my first encounter with a union state and it was not positive. Nurses at some point will realize that local strikes will do little. I was amazed that nurses would act like blue collar workers, screaming and hollering and running along side our bus taking pictures. I already have my picture on my website...were they thinking of posting another one on the internet? The nurse that took my picture later showed it to me and asked if it was me. It was a good picture (if I say so myself) of me in the bus smiling and flashing a shaka. I later became a supervisor at the same hospital I worked at during the strike. Needless to say, I had good insight into the type of care given at this place. All in all, it was a good time and the chance to work with travelers from all over. There was a lot of discussion and a lot learned when you get such a group together. I was amazed at the positive aloha from the people on the island. Doctors shook my hand, bus drivers thanked me, cab drivers thanked me, the flower shops that called the hospital thanked me, the medical exchange operators thanked me...on and on. I was shocked! And of course the patients were happy to see us. I guess when nurses go on strike, they should clean up their act before they go because someone else is going to come in and see what kind of job you've been doing! Just as one example of many, I heard some travel nurses asking why it took so many local nurses to run a clinic because they were doing it with half the nurses. Like I said, I had 7-8 patients on the day shift and some days had to pass their meds also. Of course that is too many patients, but I'm an experienced organized nurse and no one died, I never missed breaks or lunch and always got out on time. The CNAs were amazed that I would work along side them and get my work done so fast. It's almost funny now when nurses tell me halfway through a shift they will need overtime or will not get a break!! Oh, ok! And the staffing people loved us. No calling in sick; as one told me, "you guys were asking for no days off; I had to make you take off!" I don't care to hear any comments from pro union folks. At some point you'll be able to see the entire picture and realize how to affect change in nursing. I'm very pro nurse; I've been one for 30 years. I do think that every company that has a union certainly deserves it! And do nurses really think that no one will take care of patients while they are walking the picket line? Get real! Since I've been here the nurses have gone on strike (harming the very people they serve), the bus drivers have gone on strike (harming people who depend on the bus), the concrete workers have gone on strike (harming the housing industry and workers), and the tug boat workers have been on strike (harming the people on the neighboring islands). And you ask why companies are moving offshore? You made a point by striking; now get back to work because it will take you years to repair the damage (if ever) and to get the money back you lost! Tell your friend to go ahead. Everyone needs the experience she will get. Oh yes, the union here is in disarray, with one side suing the other, monies lost, etc., etc.. When will it ever end?
Last edit by zenman on Jul 6, '04
Jul 6, '04
Quote from zenman
I And you ask why companies are moving offshore?
Hmmmm, let's see...
1. Few if any, enforcable child labor laws.
2.Disenfranchised, poverty stricken workers who do not have the power or resources to demand fair wages, hours, and working condtions, but no doubt would if they could.
3. Being able to legally pollute the environment of other nations with abandon, without objection by people who are so economically depressed and oppressed by their governments that they have no means or right to say anything about it.
4. No minimum wage laws.
5. No regulatory or oversight organizations, just to name a few.
Quote from zenman
You made a point by striking; now get back to work because it will take you years to repair the damage (if ever) and to get the money back you lost!
Most nurses who strike do not do so for higher wages- they do it because of manditory overtime, poor working conditions, too many pts per nurse, abd poor treatment by mgmt.
Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Jul 7, '04