Union or not?

  1. I currently work as an R.N. at a non-union 61 bed hospital. The union is knocking at the door to get in. Our vote to let them in or not is within a month. Emotions are high. There are many issues at this time and I want to be well informed. I am a nurse not a legal person and I am not sure what to think about all this. Some nurses are very much in favor of this and some are not. I would like anyone who is working in a hospital that has gone to union to reply how it is going with all the issues.If you worked there before the union was it better or not? Do hospital adminstrations really listen if the union goes away? I realize the union does not have all the answers but it does seem like a place to start to get organized.Money is not always the issue but all the other perks that are slowly being taken away. I feel if we had good leadership we would not be looking at a union.

    ------------------
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   UnionRN
    I'm sure that nurses in your facility are unsure about which way to go. Right now, yout employer is probably making things very pleasant for the nurses in general - they want you to think that if you just keep the union away, things will be good, and you'll all be just like a big family. Unfortunately, when the "head of the family" has as much control as hospital administration does, things can change in a heartbeat. If you vote against the union, then administration will really begin to flex their muscles - union organizers will be fired, sympathizers will be intimidated, and overall, controls on the workers will be tightened. Once management feels they are back in power, things will only get worse. When issues of professional practice are of a concern, then I advocate union representation by a nursing union - ie:, a state nursing association. True labor unions may not fully appreciate the issues that face nurses today - staffing levels, care re-design issues, increased use of UAPs, etc.
    I have worked in a union facility for almost 30 years. I have witnessed the changes that have come about because of our union. However, it must be remembered - the union is only as strong as the members want it to be. A strong union requires support and participation by ALL of its members. I advise - GO UNION!
    Originally posted by akn:
    I currently work as an R.N. at a non-union 61 bed hospital. The union is knocking at the door to get in. Our vote to let them in or not is within a month. Emotions are high. There are many issues at this time and I want to be well informed. I am a nurse not a legal person and I am not sure what to think about all this. Some nurses are very much in favor of this and some are not. I would like anyone who is working in a hospital that has gone to union to reply how it is going with all the issues.If you worked there before the union was it better or not? Do hospital adminstrations really listen if the union goes away? I realize the union does not have all the answers but it does seem like a place to start to get organized.Money is not always the issue but all the other perks that are slowly being taken away. I feel if we had good leadership we would not be looking at a union.

  4. by   Frustrated in PA
    I work in a union approx. 100 bed hospital. We have been unionized for about 25 years. The problem that we have is that the nurses are grouped together with the dietary, maintenance, housekeeping, etc. workers. The nurses are a minority in this group. Our unique nursing issues have not ever been a priority. (I understand that these others are important, too. But we have a major responsibility and different issues.) We nurses are currently in the process of attempting to decertify from this union and form our own professional independent union. This has been an incredible amount of work, and we had to work in a very narrow time frame before the expiration of the current contract. What I am getting at is that this has been difficult. I would suggest to you that if you do unionize, that you do so with a professional nurse's union. We will probably entertain the big nurse's unions in a year. (We could not do so before a year because so many of the unions have "no raid" agreements that prevent one union from stealing all the members from another. We had no choice but to form an independent union. If we could have, we would have gone directly to a professional nursing union.) I hope I have been helpful.
    Originally posted by akn:
    I currently work as an R.N. at a non-union 61 bed hospital. The union is knocking at the door to get in. Our vote to let them in or not is within a month. Emotions are high. There are many issues at this time and I want to be well informed. I am a nurse not a legal person and I am not sure what to think about all this. Some nurses are very much in favor of this and some are not. I would like anyone who is working in a hospital that has gone to union to reply how it is going with all the issues.If you worked there before the union was it better or not? Do hospital adminstrations really listen if the union goes away? I realize the union does not have all the answers but it does seem like a place to start to get organized.Money is not always the issue but all the other perks that are slowly being taken away. I feel if we had good leadership we would not be looking at a union.


    ------------------
  5. by   CHUBBY
    Like the comment above, the key is to develop a STRONG union for Nurses, by Nurses. Non-nursing unions dont have some of the problems nurses face. I'm not sure that trash collectors are mandated to OT because someone called out, but nurses are mandated left and right. However, to get the full picture, read about the NYACK strike thats been going on in NY for over 100 days or the stike against Tenet in Mass. (there are links to it on this site). Whatever you do, good luck, stand strong!
  6. by   Allison
    The hospital I work for is currently awaiting our union vote, hopefully we will be successful. While we wait management has daily anti-union memos full of mis-information, if our union drive is not successful I fear that management will just return to their own self serving ways and to hell with the RN's and patient care.
  7. by   datbzrn
    Recently, we tried to organize with SEIU 1199 at Wheeling Medical Park Hospital. This is a 160 bed hospital with great state-of the art equipment. Unfortunately, the work load is too much. Management effectively ran a full-blown anti-union campaign and we lost by 60 votes. The NLRB is currently investigating the strategy the hospital used. The nurses were verbally assaulted, physically taken to mandatory meetings, and taken away from patient care. With managed care, patients are much sicker, demand more care,and deserve the proper care. A ratio of 15-20 per nurse is unsafe! We intend to try again, as administration is already back to understaffing, not listening to legitimate problems with patient care, and still degrading us for trying to organize. Please support us.
  8. by   Toots
    Originally posted by akn:
    I currently work as an R.N. at a non-union 61 bed hospital. The union is knocking at the door to get in. Our vote to let them in or not is within a month. Emotions are high. There are many issues at this time and I want to be well informed. I am a nurse not a legal person and I am not sure what to think about all this. Some nurses are very much in favor of this and some are not. I would like anyone who is working in a hospital that has gone to union to reply how it is going with all the issues.If you worked there before the union was it better or not? Do hospital adminstrations really listen if the union goes away? I realize the union does not have all the answers but it does seem like a place to start to get organized.Money is not always the issue but all the other perks that are slowly being taken away. I feel if we had good leadership we would not be looking at a union.

    currently work in a hospital that has been union for 20+ years and one that is non-union and lost a union go-round last summer. The major difference with a union is the CONTRACT - that contract gives nurses specific rights which non-union nurses do not have. At least with a union, you have a grievance procedure when your contract rights are violated and a method to hear your complaints without being unfairly terminated, fired, discriminated against. The non-union hospital administration successfully beat back a union organizing effort last summer by withdrawing some of their major irritations they had attempted to impose on the nursing staff, but also by intimidation of nurses who were in the forefront of organizing (calling in 'team leaders (a/k/a charge nurses) and telling them they could not participate in the union organizing because they were considered "management" (gee - that was news to everyone), and entire groups didn't go along because they were happy with their head nurse. Guess what? After the union got beaten back, the groups that didn't back the union lost their head nurse and now have the wicked witch of the west installed by management and they are now as miserable as everyone else. Nurses need unions and nurses need to be represented by NURSES - not service workers, teamsters, etc. Only nurses know what nurses do and can really understand the issues. If you lose your attempt to get a union, don't dispair. Unionization does not usually happen on the first try but sometimes takes several cycles before the nurses smarten up to management and unionize. Keep at it.
  9. by   SurfRN
    I work at a hospital that has been unionized for over 17 years and i have worked at several non unionized hospitals. I can tell you from my expiernce that I would never work at an "AT WILL" facility again. That is what you are if you arent unionized an "at Will employee" which means your employer can get rid of you any time for any reason with out cause even. They can take away benefitis, decrease your pay,. cut your hours, and make you work mandatory overtime. I am protected by our contracted from all these things.
    Our union is JNESO in NJ and is a union of healthcare professionals run by nurses we are part of the IUOE.
    It is very important for nurses to remember that THEY ARE the UNION, and that the union will only be as strong as its nurses make it. http://www.uniontalk4nurses.org http://www.net-gate.com/~pie5/jneso.html
  10. by   NurseGAM
    Originally posted by akn:
    I currently work as an R.N. at a non-union 61 bed hospital. The union is knocking at the door to get in. Our vote to let them in or not is within a month. Emotions are high. There are many issues at this time and I want to be well informed. I am a nurse not a legal person and I am not sure what to think about all this. Some nurses are very much in favor of this and some are not. I would like anyone who is working in a hospital that has gone to union to reply how it is going with all the issues.If you worked there before the union was it better or not? Do hospital adminstrations really listen if the union goes away? I realize the union does not have all the answers but it does seem like a place to start to get organized.Money is not always the issue but all the other perks that are slowly being taken away. I feel if we had good leadership we would not be looking at a union.

  11. by   NurseGAM
    I have worked as a nurse for 7 years and we are unionized in our province. Our union is a nurse union. The best thing that our union addressess is safety for patients. We have been unionized for over 25 years and obtained a nursing advisory clause in our contract that allows nurses to document unsafe situations in regards to unsafe workloads. At present, it is the only tool we have to protect patients so that they receive safe nursing care. Our professional liscening body has no power over employers but our union allows us to deal with this problem. Things do not get easier once you are unionized as employers will always try to find ways around the collective agreement.

close