Unionizing

  1. Just wondering. For those of you who work in union represented facilities, how do you like it. Also, how did the union idea get started in your hosp? I wonder because everyone is so scared of getting in trouble we barely whisper the "U" word. I work in a non-union place and I think it is becoming a must. Since nurses will not stand for our rights, we need some help before some real harm comes to patients.
    Thanks
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   fedupnurse
    Sharann,
    My facility was organized back in the late 70's or early 80's and unionization occured due to blatant favoritism on the part of management. It didn't eliminate it entirely, but now there are concrete rules they must follow and if they don't we have recourse. Satisfied employees don't unionize because satisfied employees are treated fairly and well and are also fairly reimbursed for their talent, skill and knowledge levels. Clearly that is why so many nurses are opting for unionized environments.
    The way to get started is to research various unions related to your field and put in a call to talk to a rep from the union. They will meet with you and give you all of the specific about how to go about organizing.
    It is a difficult but worthwhile process. The hospital will spend millions trying to harass and scare the staff into not organizing. They may even fire a few people. Those that are fired are usually reinstated even if the union campaign doesn't succeed. It is amazing how the suits will lie and intimidate. They do this because they cannot totally control and intimidate the staff that do organize because there IS safety in numbers and power in numbers. There is also power in a contract.
    The union is made up of each member of the specific local union. For example, I am a member of the union HPAE and my hospital is a "local" of HPAE. Each local elects officers that oversee the rules and issues of the union local. These officers consist of union members employed by the facility of that local. I think there is a big misnomer that if you unionize the head organization comes in and does all the work. It is the members who do the work. The work consists of protecting the contract and grieving any and all violations.
    Some of the perks we have through our contract that our sister hospitals do not have because they aren't organized are: no floating required after you have 8 years seniority, no shift rotation required after 5 years, specific floating disticts, contractual process for vacation requests, working holidays, bonuses for extra shifts for part timers. There are 3 other locals of HPAE that just recently had contracts ratified by their members that include staffing language. That is a huge step in the right direction.
    The main thing is, if you are union you can gireve violations and if you aren't union you can just complain. Usually, around here anyway, they tell non-union people who complain about unfair treatment "if you don't like it leave". This kind of statement during a nursing shortage!!
    Hope that shed some light. It is well worth the effort!! I'd never work non-union for suits like the ones where I work. Just not worth the aggravation of working for such closeminded, penny wise pound foolish people if you have no legal recourse!! And I walk a picket line for 3 months and I still feel that way!
    Good luck.
  4. by   DelGR
    nursingworld.org/uan/index.htm
    will give you guidelines on how to unionize
  5. by   DelGR
    nursingworld.org/uan
    will give you guidelines on how to unionize
    I would think since California left the American Nurses Association you would have to contact someone from the California Nurses Association.
  6. by   sharann
    Thanks for the answer fedupnurse, and for the website DelGR.
    I can't see us unionizing because there are so many people who are paranoid about even discussing it. Management is so way out there as well, they are cold blooded.
  7. by   -jt
    <<I would think since California left the American Nurses Association you would have to contact someone from the California Nurses Association.>>


    Actually, California is still in the ANA - only the union part of it separated. But the information & examples given at http://www.nursingworld.org/uan/organize explains about the reasons why RNs unionize & how RNs go about doing that. Doesnt matter which state youre in or which union you choose. Anybody can read it. Its good info to start with. Its just gives you an idea of the process & what it entails. Click on the arrows on that webpage to follow the story.

    SEIUs nursing section - WWW.NurseAlliance.org - also has general information on how to go about unionizing. Doesnt matter which union you end up choosing - the process is the same.

    Once you have an idea of what you have to do, then its up to you to call all the strong RN unions in your area, interview them all, check out previous contracts theyve negotiatied, speak to other nurses whom they represent & find out how well they do it, find out how important your professional issues are to that particular union & the kind of priority those issues are given - shop around - then choose the one that you feel will best represent you the way you want to be represented.

    A lot of nurse unionizing is going on with many different unions. CNA represents only RNs. There are several other nurses unions in California - affiliates of the AFL-CIO. One is the SEIU which is the largest healthcare union. You can find more nurses unions at www.AFL-CIO.org Most of them represent RNs & LPNs.

    One of the major nursing unions in California is the AFL-CIO affiliated United Nurses of California (UNAC) - and they have recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against Tenet Healthcare Corp. The suit claims that Tenet Healthcare has "engaged in systematic understaffing of RNs throughout Southern California, and failed to pay them for legally protected work breaks". The RNs are asking the court to order Tenet Healthcare to provide adequate nursing staff for RNs to take lunches and breaks. They are also seeking back wages and damages for up to 7,000 Tenet Healthcare RNs who may have not been paid for work at 36 Southern California hospitals. All eyes are on this significant lawsuit.
    http://www.unac-ca.org

    Some nurses are represented by these unions, & some nurses at certain hospitals around the state have their own unions just at their facilities.
    Stanford/Packard has CRONA
    http://www.crona.org/
    El Camino has PRN
    http://www.prnatech.org/
    and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has RNPA (no website)
    to name a few.

    Become an "educated consumer" & then make an informed decision - its an open market - & its your choice.

    (click on the Nursing Activism/Politics page of this BB for more info on nurses unionizing)
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 14, '02

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