Union, yes or no? - page 5

I am a new nurse and have recently heard that the nurses at my hospital are considering going union. It seems (at least on my unit) that the biggest issue is pay. Are any of you guys union and if... Read More

  1. by   pickledpepperRN
    I am a member of the same union as CheriP.
    If the RNs vote for representation the hospital must negotiate with the nurses. Each contract is different because of the surveys of the nurses and what they can get.
    Some have union shop, others do not.
    State facilities pay "fair share", which is a % of dues for representation. Others start with a "grandfathered union shop. That means those working before the contract choose whether to join or not, new hires must join because they know they must as a condition of employment.

    I consider us to be a professional association, don't need to give our dues to ANA. I like ANA but feel they spin their wheels on the BSN as entry into practice issue.

    A union can save the job of the squeeky wheel working to improve patient care as well as the nurse whose manager just doesn't like his or her looks.

    Just my $0.02.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 21, '03
  2. by   healingtouchRN
    I tried to start one here some time ago, & people were afraid of change. Afraid to be fired, (which is illegal by the way). But it did make the medical centers take notice. I think if we had more men in nursing, in my state, things will change. That's an opinion, be it right or wrong. For some reason, women have a hard time coming together on issues. I know, I do lots of committee work!!! I hope that we can unite for the betterment of patient care & for our salaries/benefits (why else do we work?). Nuff said here. :stone
  3. by   fergus51
    I will NEVER work in a non-union hospital again. That's just my personal preference, which arose from 2 VERY negative experiences in non-union places. I'm sure it's been said before, but it bears repeating: I do think that unions are only as good as their active members (and in my experience the ones who do the most whining about the union are the least likely to be willing to volunteer their time to change things).
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 21, 2003
    For More Information:
    Teresa Schilling, ph: (510) 763-5616
    cell: (510) 410-7064
    Tenet El Monte Registered Nurses Vote for SEIU to Improve Patient Care
    (El Monte, CA) - Registered nurses at Tenet's Greater El Monte Community Hospital voted Tuesday to form a union with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 121RN to improve patient care and working conditions.
    On Thursday, Tenet's Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital RNs and professionals next group to vote under new agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corp.
    (El Monte, CA) -- Registered nurses at Tenet's Greater El Monte Community Hospital voted Tuesday to form a union with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 121RN to improve patient care and working conditions.
    Greater El Monte RNs are the third group of Los Angeles area Tenet hospital employees to vote under a landmark agreement by the health care company to not interfere with its employees' efforts to form a union. Today and on Thursday, RNs and other health care professionals at Tenet's Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Inglewood and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo will vote for SEIU in their union elections.
    "By forming our union with SEIU, registered nurses at our hospital gain an immediate and equal voice with management in decisions about staffing and patient," said Belinda Watkins, an RN in the emergency room at Greater El Monte. "We joined with SEIU so that we could make improvements for our patients and our profession."
    Greater El Monte Community Hospital is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., the second-largest for-profit hospital chain in the nation. El Monte RNs are joining employees at 11 other Tenet hospitals in California who are already part of a partnership between SEIU and the United Nurses Associations of California/United Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP), AFSCME. This latest vote brings the number of Tenet employees who are members of SEIU and UNAC to more than 6,000.
    On May 2, the SEIU/AFSCME partnership forged an historic agreement with Tenet allowing health care workers in 40 California facilities to join a union free from employer opposition and guaranteeing immediate raises and a voice in patient care decisions. A precedent-setting result of the agreement is that the quick elections will expedite further contract negotiations, without delays or strikes.
    By choosing to join SEIU, El Monte RNs also voted to approve an initial union contract providing for raises of 29% over four years, real input in staffing decisions through special patient care committees and other improvements negotiated by other SEIU-represented Tenet RNs. Tenet employees across the state say the contract provisions will bring timely improvements to patient care and working conditions.
    Employees at Tenet facilities choosing SEIU under this agreement will go on to negotiate over additional local issues in their hospital, including scheduling, holidays, health and safety, education benefits, and other priorities that employees identify through bargaining surveys. After 90 days, any outstanding issues will be resolved by a neutral outside party, ensuring that an agreement is reached without delays or strikes.
    The agreement between Tenet and the two health care unions resolved an ongoing struggle between the hospital giant and the growing numbers of hospital employees who were seeking to form a union. In recent years, Tenet RNs and other health care professionals had been raising their concerns about declining patient care standards and turning to community and political leaders for support.
    The settlement gives RNs and other hospital employees a chance to participate in a nationwide quality improvement initiative, the development of a training and upgrading program, and the special election process that enables them to decide whether to form a union with SEIU or UNAC in California.
    This latest election continues a recent Southern California trend of hospital workers joining unions. In the last five years, more than 25,000 hospital workers joined SEIU in California, more than half of those in Southern California. This year more than 4,000 Southern California hospital employees at six hospitals have joined SEIU.
    With 1.5 million members, SEIU is the nation's largest and most effective union for nurses and other health care professionals. More than 755,000 SEIU health care members are physicians, registered and licensed vocational nurses, radiology technologists, respiratory care practitioners, housekeeping and food service staff, and all other types of employees in hospitals, HMOs, nursing homes, home care, and other settings.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Palomar-Pomerado RNs See Record Gains in First Agreement
    30% Pay Boost, New Pension Plan, Staffing Improvements
    Registered Nurses at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway in northern San Diego County have achieved landmark improvements in their first ever collective bargaining agreement, the California Nurses Association reported today.

    Highlights of the pact include average pay increases of 30% over three years - with an immediate average salary boost of 22% - plus additional annual pay based on RN experience, a new defined benefit pension plan, and numerous staffing gains, such as a tight ban on the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime.

    The agreement, affecting 725 RNs in the Palomar Pomerado Health, California's largest district hospital, should help raise standards for RNs and patients throughout Southern California, as well as assisting PPH retaining experienced RNs and recruiting new nurses, said CNA.

    With the agreement Palomar Pomerado RNs will now be the highest paid registered nurses in San Diego County, with experienced RNs earning up to $36.80 per hour, and advanced clinical RNs paid up to $37.91, said CNA.

    A tentative settlement was reached by hospital officials and nurse negotiators on Friday. It must still be ratified by the RNs who will vote on the package at general membership meetings this Wednesday and Thursday, and by the PPH Board.

    "May 16th was the culmination of more than a year of organizing and bargaining effort. I'm thrilled with the gains we were able to achieve in our first contract," said Donna Johnson, an Emergency Room RN at Palomar.

    "I think the majority of the nurses will be very pleased with an average increase of 22% in their wage this year, no increase in their health care premium for 2004 and an enhanced pension plan," said Johnson.

    CNA's Southern California director David Johnson called the contract "a breakthrough agreement. "With the new landmark pay structure, a new first class defined benefit pension plan, and a dramatically enhanced voice for bedside RNs in staffing decisions, CNA RNs at PPH have set a new standard in the area."

    "We are extremely pleased with the settlement, and congratulate PPH management for their willingness to listen to the nurses and amicably resolve key issues," said Johnson. "With this contract, PPH has now wisely positioned itself as a very attractive choice for RNs in San Diego County. CNA is leading the way to a bright future for San Diego RNs, who have been sorely underpaid for too long, despite their nursing excellence."

    In addition to the huge pay improvements, settlement terms include:
    o A commitment to seek guarantee pension benefits through the California Public Employee Retirement System.
    o A strong ban on mandatory overtime. Forced overtime will only be permitted when RNs are in the midst of an operation, delivery, or invasive procedure, or during a community disaster.
    o Replacing the subjective "merit" pay system with guaranteed pay steps, based on years of RN experience in or outside the U.S. Experienced RNs will receive larger pay step increases.
    o Restrictions on unsafe floating, the practice of requiring RNs to work in clinical areas where they do not have specialty expertise or orientation. For the first time, senior RNs (with more than 18 years) will not have to float.
    o A stronger voice for RNs on staffing concerns with arbitration for resolution of disputes.
    PPH officials and CNA have been in talks on the first contract since last year. CNA won representation rights for the Palomar and Pomerado RNs last June.

    First contract talks for other Palomar-Pomerado employees represented by CNA's sister union, the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) are continuing, and negotiators expect to make strong gains in that agreement as well. CHEU represents some 1,600 service and non-RN professional and technical employees in the district.
    http://www.calnurses.org/
  6. by   Gomer
    Best thing for this anti-union RN is that SEIU and CNA are fighting each other for the California RNs bodies and money. Neither really give a damn about the nurses or working conditions as they are too busy attacking each other. Heck, if I was to join a union, make it the Teamsters. I would love to see some mafia "gumba" negotiate a contract with my hospital. We have a nun in charge who would make sure he/she "slept with the fishes".
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by Gomer
    Best thing for this anti-union RN is that SEIU and CNA are fighting each other for the California RNs bodies and money. Neither really give a damn about the nurses or working conditions as they are too busy attacking each other. Heck, if I was to join a union, make it the Teamsters. I would love to see some mafia "gumba" negotiate a contract with my hospital. We have a nun in charge who would make sure he/she "slept with the fishes".
    Gomer:
    Do you work in California?
    Have you worked at a hospital with a contract with one of the these unions?
    Tell us about it.
  8. by   2ndCareerRN
    Here is what just happened in Spokane, WA.

    Empire Health Services, owner of the only (2) 100+ bed hospitals in WA that are non-union, recently froze wages, did not give merit or longivity raises and raised the health insurance premiums about 40%.

    That alone is pretty bad, but, ten days after doing that they had an across the board 9% pay cut. This was done in an effort to save the company around 1 million dollars monthly.

    I don't know if it worked or not, I personally voted with my feet and left for a traveling assignment.

    Would this kind of arbritary wage slashing happened if there was a union in place at these two hospitals? Can you say NO?

    So, this is just one instance where a union would have been helpfull to the employess.

    I will either continue to travel or will only work in a union hospital as staff from this point on.

    bob
  9. by   Gomer
    Yes, Spacenurse, I work in California. And yes CNA attempted to unionize my hospital about 1 1/2 years ago. CNA made promises and the hospital administration made promises. CNA had meetings; administration had meetings. We listened, asked questions and then voted... the union lost by 10% of those eligible to vote.

    They may come pounding on our doors again, but I doubt it as nursing administration changed (a couple of the "crazies" got fired) and improved with the hiring of a great VP of nursing who we all love. Also, my hospital has traditionally treated all the employees very fairly, had excellent compensation and benefits, and has a CEO who listens and acts on the employee's suggestions/complaints. Also, those who were in favor of the union left shortly after its defeat (newly hired, could they possibly have been union plants???) and hopefully will not darken our door again.

    SEIU has also attempted to pass out "literature" but was escorted off campus by 2 very large ER nurses (males) who told them where they could stick their literature.
  10. by   charissa
    I must wonder if some anti union nurses have never worked for a unionized facility. The RN's voting on unionization or not need to be careful about who they allow to rep them. Union bodies fighting over "nurses bodies and $" are obviously inapprop for nursing and do not have the RNs or patient inerests at heart. I have noted it before and will say it again, the only true approp union for nurses is usually one that they form, with one of their own as Pres, and not someone 2 cities away taking their cash assisted in making informed decisions by their state nursing associtaion counsel. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SLAM NURSING UNIONS IF YOU HAVE NEVER WORKED IN THAT SITUATION. Having worked with and without them at different times I see there are drawbacks, but given the correct set up see many more pors than cons
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by Gomer
    Yes, Spacenurse, I work in California. And yes CNA attempted to unionize my hospital about 1 1/2 years ago. CNA made promises and the hospital administration made promises. CNA had meetings; administration had meetings. We listened, asked questions and then voted... the union lost by 10% of those eligible to vote.

    They may come pounding on our doors again, but I doubt it as nursing administration changed (a couple of the "crazies" got fired) and improved with the hiring of a great VP of nursing who we all love. Also, my hospital has traditionally treated all the employees very fairly, had excellent compensation and benefits, and has a CEO who listens and acts on the employee's suggestions/complaints. Also, those who were in favor of the union left shortly after its defeat (newly hired, could they possibly have been union plants???) and hopefully will not darken our door again.

    SEIU has also attempted to pass out "literature" but was escorted off campus by 2 very large ER nurses (males) who told them where they could stick their literature.
    Gomer:
    I am glad you have a supportive administration. If patients and nurses are treated well there is no need for a union. Hospitals would do well to keep staffing levels safe, only float nurses to care for patients they know how to care for, respect everyone from chief of staff to houskeeper, and show respect for nursing work with pay and benefits equal to the education- responsibility- difficulty of the work. No union.
    I worked at one such place for years. Now it is Tenet. I quit but those still there will probably leave soon too. The nuns got a 5 year promise in the bill of sale so it is not too bad yet.
    With this shortage nurses can always work somewhere else.
    Thank you Gomer for answering.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 21, '03
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    I've never worked for a union hospital and I still maintain that I have the right to NOT unionize. It is philosophical for me . . .or the principle of the thing. I do not believe in paying someone else to represent me when I may not agree with their philosophy/agenda and when I am perfectly capable of representing myself. Just call me a conscientious objector.

    steph
  13. by   teeituptom
    Hi ya'll
    from deep in the heart of texas

    Someone said that if youve never worked for a unionized hospitl then you you shouldnt slam unions.
    I have always slammed unions, and I will continue to slam unions. When I was young and single I worked a Unionized hospital in So Cal, the union was SEIU. In fact I even became a shop steward they were called back then. This is what turned me against unions. I found myself standing up for some nurses who were facing disciplinary hearings and possible job termination. And 90% of the time as I looked into the matter these nurses needed to be terminated because of chronically calling in and no shows and laziness and some for being downright incompetent.
    But as representing their and the unions interests their jobs were saved for them. Did any of them change their ways. To be fair a few did, but the vast majority didnt change their ways at all.
    I came to see what the phrase I often came across to mean
    " unions are a dictatorship of mediocrity"

    Now Im sure unions do some good. But for me the best they can do is continuing to have strikes so I can cross the picket line and make the that big strike breaking wages, Gotta love it.

    Unions at first seemd like the answer for me when I was young. However my eyes were opened, unions are only for the unions and the members are just their ammunition to guide and use at their will. To the union leaders its all just a power game encompassing greed.



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