Union vs. non-union

  1. We have two hospitals nearby. In one of them, the nurses are under union contract and in the other, they are not. Can some of you share with me why you would/would not work under a union? I am really curious as to what I should eventually be looking for when I am searching for a job after school.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   talaxandra
    As I understand it, the Australian situation is a little different from that in the US. Here, all nurses in the public system have the same conditions, whether or not they're members of the union (which is also a professional organisation, leads work shops, publishes a monthly journal...) and there's only one union (with different state branches); I think that in the private system conditions vary from hospital to hospital but not for individual nurses within a hospital.
    Being a member of the Australian nurses union (ANF) is tax deductable, means a discounted fee for courses, and includes a range of other benefits (eg $1M indemnity insurance, access to cheaper white goods etc through a multi-union cooperative, legal representation, a free appointment with a lawyer for a will or other issue, discounted movie tickets, journal subscription...)
    Because our conditions are fought for by members, I would feel hypocritical if I accepted the benefits without contributing, though I appreciate that others feel differently. I must say that, as another round of enterprsie bargaining comes around I am heartily sick of it, but without the union we wouldn't have the pay, career structure, or ratios.
    FYI I am biased - I've been a union rep since 1992
    Last edit by talaxandra on Apr 9, '04
  4. by   fergus51
    I won't work non-union jobs anymore. I have too little trust in management. When I did work non-union it was a jumble with the teacher's pets getting the good assignments and vacation times, my paychecke was always screwy, management played head games and there was no formal way to resolve disputes.

    Unions have pros and cons, but I like having a contract that deals with grievances and wages and vacations and seniority, etc. But unions are only as good as their active members. It has been my experience that some nurses will b*tch about the union, but never lift a finger to change it.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I've had just the opposite experience of Fergus. Great facility, not perfect but no "teacher's pets" or vacation troubles or paycheck problems that can't be worked out. In fact our supervisors bend over backward to give us our requests. They don't ever treat one nurse better than another. I've been very lucky.

    I've told this story before but we had a union attempt to "get us" a few years ago. Guys showed up in suits with big diamond rings . . .looked like mafia dons. We grilled them pretty well and voted the union down.

    Everyone's experience is gonna be different here. I for one have always maintained that I'm quite capable of representing myself. I recognize that I've only been a nurse for 6 years and that bad stuff happened to nurses but I personally cannot image being forced to work overtime with no pay. I just would not do it.

    There are good unions and bad, there are good hospitals and bad. It is up to the individual in each case, like Fergus said . . .some union nurses gripe but then don't do anything to change things. Some non-union nurses gripe but don't do anything to change things.

    I don't like whiners who won't try to affect change in any case.

    If you aren't gonna help, hush.

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Apr 9, '04
  6. by   fergus51
    I do think that unions are only a response to bad management. When a hospital like Steph's works hard to be fair with its staff, unions will never be voted in. They get voted in when nurses get shafted one too many times. I feel no sympathy for managers who whine about unions.
  7. by   billw
    I agree with Fergus. The nurses at my hospital have taken a very negative view of the recent union proposal, since we work for a hospital that has the brains to realize that if you treat your staff well, they will return the favor. This leads to higher patient satisfaction, which leads to a higher census, which gives the hospital the means to take care of the staff. It is a positive vicious cycle. The only hospitals in my area that have unions are the ones with poor staff morale due to poor management.
  8. by   BadBird
    For the first time in my life I am working in a Union hospital and WOW, what a pleasant change !!!! I am so glad to be here. If I had a choice I would definately select a union represented hospital. Good luck to you.
  9. by   SnowymtnRN
    Remember what they say, a union is only as strong as its weakest member. SO if unions aren't represented well, its members that aren't active, etc....and not going that extra mile to make it worthwhile. I'd go union in a heartbeat, like another poster said. What a REFRESHING change to have some protection and guidelines that HAVE to be followed!
  10. by   Energizer Bunny
    So as I understand it then it really is going to depend on the members of the union if I were to go with a hospital that has one and if I go with a non-union hospital, it will depend upon the management there whether or not our needs are being taken care of? Did I say that right? I figured I would get lots of opinions which is what I really wanted. I don't even know that we will be staying in this area but if we do move, I will make sure to talk with some of the nurses wherever I get hired before I say yes.

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