The more experience you have the less you are paid??? - page 3

I work at a children's hospital in Chicago and they just sent out a notice saying that new grads would start at around $20 per hour. This is close to what I make and I have been there for five... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <I was told it was decided by the union. Her frustration with the union was that she did not have a way of monetarily awarding her higher performing nurses because of this......I disagree that the union mentality and philosphy is that much different between Teachers unions, Teamsters unions, Nurses unions, Culinary unions, etc..>

    Im glad I am part of a NURSES union that is run for & by RNs. It makes a difference. The decisions for the nurses at any one of our facilities is made by the nurses at that facility...not by someone sitting in a union office somewhere. The nurses are part of every aspect that concerns them at their facilities. Its not some big old union man coming around doing things for them & telling them whats going to be. The nurses tell the union what they want to do & the union staff helps them get it done.

    Other unions that represent nurses - and all kinds of traditional workmen's trade unions are trying to do that now - may operate differently, but that is not the case with an RN union.

    Of course the union philosophy is the same for all unions. Its the principle mission - workplace protection - that the concept of unions came from. I wouldnt expect the philosophy to be different but the methods & operations may very well be. Thats why its so important to shop wisely & choose one that will best represent you the way you want to be represented.

    The whole point about being a union is so that YOU can be a part of the decision-making in your workplace on everything that affects you, your practice, & your job. So that everything is done with you, not to you. You unionize so that the employer isnt making all the decisions for you without your agreement. There would be no point in unionizing with a union that just does the same thing to you by making all the decisions itself. Thats the same thing the hospital was doing before you unionized so what would be the point in going with a union like that?

    That said, since you got the info from the manager, I wonder if she even understood correctly. It could be that it was the unionized nurses at that hospital who negotiated the contract, with help from their union, and the raise system was what they agreed to themselves - not that it was decided for them by the union. That may just be the managers perception.

    Lastly, about her frustration in not being able to reward the highest performing RN above the standard raise...... not a problem at all: The hospital could itself establish a quarterly reward for an exceptional employee on every unit who meets certain criteria - (not just because the manager likes her). My hospital does an employee-of-the-month awarding $500 & other things. A quarterly award could be a larger amount. The hospital has the right to set that up itself without union approval.

    Or a call to a meeting with the union to establish a "bonus" in the contract, above the standard yearly raise for high-performing RNs who meet certain criteria would be most welcome by the union. (and the nurses themselves work with the administration in deciding what those criteria will be). Nurses in Nyack, NY just established something like that last year. They kept their standard yearly raise AND put in place a "merit" bonus to address compensating exceptional performance. Either of these ideas would solve your managers frustration. The union would be happy that the hospital wanted to reward exceptional employees, but my guess is most hospitals wont want to spend the money on additional compensation. So its the hospital, not the union, that could be the cause of that managers frustration on this.

    She can always bring the issue to her administration, make the proposal, & ask for consideration of it. Who knows.... she may even be able to get.

    Like I said before - why should it be EITHER a standard raise for all OR a merit raise? Why have to choose? Why not reward experience & longevity as well as high achievement?
    Last edit by -jt on May 22, '02
  2. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by -jt

    Lastly, about her frustration in not being able to reward the highest performing RN above the standard raise...... not a problem at all: The hospital could itself establish a quarterly reward for an exceptional employee on every unit who meets certain criteria - (not just because the manager likes her). My hospital does an employee-of-the-month awarding $500 & other things. A quarterly award could be a larger amount. The hospital has the right to set that up itself without union approval.
    Here's where state unions differ. The hospital has a quarterly "employee of the month" thing. For all employees. I don't want a $500 or such award that most places say you only qualify for once a year. Hell no. If I deserve an 8% raise and she agrees with that raise, but the UNION provided only a 3% raise across the board... no thanks.

    Nevada, on the whole, is employer sympathetic. Why? The state wouldn't exist without it's casinos and big bosses. Back east, unions are more effective. We don't have a strong lobby out West championing rights for hospital/facility workers. Most employers have the same mentality of one casino owner: If you unionize, I'll shut down the place and re-open somewhere else. Period. And they can.

    Perhaps IF there were such a union as yours present out here, it could make a difference. But I think one can agree that there are pros and cons, regardless.
  3. by   -jt
    <We don't have a strong lobby out West championing rights for hospital/facility workers.>

    Maybe its just a different worker mentality, but I really dont see a con to being unionized with the union I have. Ive worked both union & non-union & Ill never take a job as a staff RN in a non-union hospital ever again. As for lobbyists, our lobby is us. We have one professional lobbyist in the state legislature & the rest of the work is done by our union staff & the nurse members ourselves. We are the "lobbyists" - with regular political action & interaction with our legislature. Thats why our union is so effective.

    I understand what you are saying - my point is only that the 3% raise across the board in the contract does not prevent the hospital from establishing any other ADDITIONAL reward that your manager could give you for a job well done. If she is prevented from doing so, it is the hospital that prevents her - not the union. The union would welcome any additional compensation the hospital wanted to give the nurses.

    What those union nurses did was make sure that everybody gets AT LEAST 3% - in addition to that, in mine, we are paid other differentials of several thousand $$/yr (on top of the across the board raise) for every year of experience we have, for specialty certifications, and for degrees. Clinical ladder levels, which the hospital established together with the nurses, pay even more in addition to all that, depending on level achieved. So even if we had just a 3% across the board raise for everyone, those who put in the extra effort are nicely compensated above the 3%.

    That hospital could compensate more on top of the across-the-board 3% raise too if it wanted to give more to the nurses than that, but more often than not, it wont want to spend the money for it. The manager cant blame the union for that. Besides, whatever is in the contract was voted on by the nurses who work there & was accepted by them. That doesnt mean the hospital cant come up with a way to reward an exceptional employee - thats what clinical ladder pay scales are for.

    All Im saying is that if the manager is frustrated because she wants to give more to the nurse, there ARE ways for her to do that & she cant blame the union if her administration wont take those creative steps.
    Last edit by -jt on May 23, '02
  4. by   mattsmom81
    I agree, JT, and that manager is just copping out...businesses can still work in a bonus system if they choose to .

    My father was union, I was union until I moved down south. My husband is union and gets incentive bonuses....quarterly and yearly for his production percentages. He makes his company money and they know it.

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