What do nursing unions do? - page 4

I know there has been a lot of talk about unions lately. Exactly what do they do for nurses?... Read More

  1. by   Kyriaka
    M grandfather was one of the founding members of either the AFL or the CIO (cant remember which one--the one that allowed blacks, the other did not).

    My grandfather also was a card carrying member of the American Communist Party--many of the original union founders were.

    I am not saying that all members of unions today are communists, but people do need to know that the idea of workers uniting against the "evil" capitalists managers does have a history in this theology.
    Last edit by Kyriaka on Mar 5, '05
  2. by   begalli
    Unions represent their membership and help compose legislation that gets RN to patient ratios written into law. Then they challenge those politicians who think they can circumvent the law for the benefit of their financial backers by filing a lawsuit against said politician and winning - possibly and probably leading the way in landmark decisions that can and will have an impact on the entirety of professional nursing in the United States.
  3. by   talaxandra
    Coming from an Australian perspective, the idea of having different unions for different hospitals is really hard to get my head around - it sould seem like your bargaining power was massively reduced.

    We have a single union, with branches in each state and territory. The union negotiates conditions for the public hospital agreements, which cover all nurses regardless of whether or not they are unionised. There's one agreement per state or territory, so there's state-wide pay and condition parity. Private hospitals have individual agreements, but the union is sometimes involves in negotiating them, too.

    The Australian Nursing Federation (union) also represents members when specific issues with hospitals and individuals arise, providing legal representation, indemnity insurance and WorkCover top up for serious injury.

    Finally, ANF is also a professional orgnaisation, producing two monthy magazines - the Australian Nursing Journal is free to members and focuses on education, nursing achievement and union issues. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing is available by subscription and focuses on nursing research.

    I am sympathetic to concerns that industrial action hurts patients, and I think it's a valid concern. In response I say that sometimes without industrial action untold future patients are at significantly greater risk - fewer nurses, caring for more and sicker patients, using unskilled workers to try to bridge the gaps. nurses have never takn industrial action lightly, and although pay concerns are a legitimate issue, my experience has been that nurses are genuinely at least as motivated to take action because of patient-driven issues.

    Without the ANF Victoria wouldn't have the world's first nurse: patient ratio, which has brought nurses back in to the system. We wouldn't have an 8:8:10 roster system, accumulated/rostered days off, accruable sick leave, paid maternity leave, study leave, shift penalties, qualification recognition or a career structure. And those are just the conditions that were threatened during negotiation of the 2003 agreement.

    PS I'm pro-union
  4. by   unionchic
    Quote from RNnTraining1973
    I'm doing my Leadership project on union vs. nonunion. I currently work at a facility where only a few nurses belong to the union. Some of coworkers who have been nurses for a long time are big proponents of the union and have told me I need to let it be known to my class that unions are out there and that they are worth joining. We are getting a new union coming into our facility (up until now the nurses have been represented by Local Operating Engineers union and they don't really know a lot about the healthcare industry) and there is a buzz about the hospital.

    I would like some information on unions and am unsure of how to start. I know I can contact the union that is coming into our facility and I plan on interviewing both union and nonunion nurses. But I'm interested in other unions and how they differ from the one that's representing our nurses. Anyone know of any websites or having any information from the ones you belong to?

    My nursing instructors are all really looking forward to my presentation because they also don't think that new nurses know enough about unions or have enough desire to join. I know without the union at our facility, the nurses would not have gotten the raise they did few years ago and the one just recently. They were also getting screwed on sick days as well. This new union wants to talk about negotiating a pension/retirement plan but I have my doubts about that one happening. It would be nice, though.

    Any thoughts, opinions, advice, or suggestions? From both those who oppose unions and those who are for or belong to one?

    Thanks in advance,
    Melanie

    Hi Melanie,
    I'm a member of the union you're referring to, SEIU Local 1107 down in Vegas. I work at St Rose, and we just ratified our first contract yesterday, and we won the first private-sector pension in Nevada! I have a friend who used to work at Washoe, and they used to have a pension when it was a public sector hospital, but once they privatized, it got taken away.
    Watching my coworkers as they negotiated this contract completely opened my eyes - to the way management is (like they scurried away when the lights came on), how easy it could be to actually work with them (not sure if they want to yet), and how much we can improve things. The key is to be involved, do the work, like anything else in life!
    I just saw your post, hope I'm not too late to be helpful!!
  5. by   unionchic
    Quote from Kyriaka
    ____________
    Amen!

    A glass ceiling for over acheivers.

    Haven't you ever seen an exceptional patient advocate fight for what makes sense, and fight, and fight... and then give up, because nothing changes and management isn't really interested??? THat's what happened to us... but now they HAVE to listen.
  6. by   teeituptom
    Quote from unionchic
    Haven't you ever seen an exceptional patient advocate fight for what makes sense, and fight, and fight... and then give up, because nothing changes and management isn't really interested??? THat's what happened to us... but now they HAVE to listen.

    And you really believe this. They dont have to do anything. Ive worked Union and Non Union. And I know better Unions were usefull long time ago, now they function more as a scam. A promote an Dictatorial Enviroment of Mass Medicocrity.
  7. by   Gennaver
    Quote from teeituptom
    Unions promote a dictatorship of medicocrity

    This is of course versus the hedgemonic elitism of the authoritative corporate dictator.

    Personally, I would rather be a member of a worthy, strong union than a slave wage laborer which most likely will happen in the unequal balance of power between corporate and employees, (i.e. slave/wage laborers).

    Thanks,
    Gen
    p.s. I realize this post was from Feb but, I just saw it and didn't want to let this slide, besides, corporate bureaucrats actually need mediocrity (this is how they thrive, but not the mediocrity that the poster was aiming for). Bureaucratic mediocrity is all about non-change.
  8. by   Gennaver
    Quote from proudmommielpn
    OK, I'll get ready for the backlash LOL. But anyway, I don't feel like unions have a place in healthcare because if you go out on strike the only people you are hurting are your patient's. If you work in a factory or such then if you go out on strike then you do hurt your employer which is what you want. That is just my personal opinion. Please be nice!!!
    Hi Proudmommilpn,

    I am glad that you posted this because this is something I have heard alot with my former company, (a very large corporation near the Chicago area that rhymes with advocate).

    This line of thinking is somewhat of a false consciousness that is promoted by the company who doesn't want to have to deal with employees who are union members.

    Yes, of course it woudl be tragic for nurses to strike yet, why don't we all think of this in the more proper perspective.

    It should be more like, "How could that employer allow us to become so dispaired that we would feel the need to strike??" "How could that employer treat us so unfairly that they would risk the care to the patients by us needing to strike for fairness?"

    See what i mean? The only people we are truly protecting by refusing to unionize is not the patients who receive the care, its the corporate elite.

    Thanks for reading,
    Gen
  9. by   Gennaver
    Quote from stevielynn
    Well, no one is going to tell me not to say the word union. That is ridiculous that anyone told you that and that they are abiding by it.

    Please people, stand up for yourself . . .be a professional and an adult.

    steph

    Hi,
    My former company had a little scheme, (yes, it was highly vicious against any innuendo of pro-union among any employee). I worked at three facilities by the company, all in different towns and all in different wards.

    The company had a little thing where the nurse managers would collect all all together for a special staff meeting and imply that some union members had gotten a list of our personal phone numbers and addresses and 'eeek' where coming ot our doors! Bologney!

    I heard and watched three different managers, (wait, actually about six of them) act this little scare tactic out.

    Ugh. They have made me more pro-union than I though ever possible. I had a mediocre experience in another union and at the time though unions were bogus, (Oil Chemical and Atomic workers local 13 or 11 in Stickney, IL). However, after working non-union for the last decade I realize that there are a lot of business, (non-profit ones too) who are out there for themselves and really do not care how they 'nickel and dime' us, (a book title) or otherwise literally make us wage slaves.

    Now I understand that the collective behind us is the only thing that will give us a fair bargaining power. Unless of course the globalization of labor (that the U.S. corporations use to leave and go violate other workers until they get hip, only to abandon them for the next pool of wage slaves) unless this spreads to nursing, (or has it) I would really only want to take an RN job in a Union hospital now.

    Thank you for reading,
    Gen
    p.s. a nursing student, worked as a CNA and tech and stuff for 15+ Years, hard worker, no slacker here. one of those folks who believes in carrying their weight, (an obviously a little type-happy too!!)
  10. by   teeituptom
    [QUOTE=Gennaver]
    This is of course versus the hedgemonic elitism of the authoritative corporate dictator.

    Personally, I would rather be a member of a worthy, strong union than a slave wage laborer which most likely will happen in the unequal balance of power between corporate and employees, (i.e. slave/wage laborers).

    Thanks,
    Gen

    Whether Union or Non union we are all held to wages, unless you win the lotto and can work for free.

    There is nothing slavish about what I get paid, in the least.
  11. by   Gennaver
    Quote from Kyriaka
    M grandfather was one of the founding members of either the AFL or the CIO (cant remember which one--the one that allowed blacks, the other did not).

    My grandfather also was a card carrying member of the American Communist Party--many of the original union founders were.

    I am not saying that all members of unions today are communists, but people do need to know that the idea of workers uniting against the "evil" capitalists managers does have a history in this theology.

    Hi,
    If I am not mistaken though, the communism that most people think of isn't the 'true' communism but rather the Russian style, (which was also adulterated for an uneven balance of power.)

    If we had democracy and fairness things would or could be different but, alas, we only think we have such fairness, understanding the nature of capitalism and profit really clear the air. Its sole function, (capitalism) is merely for profit, and even health care and non-profit are based on this idea. Although the profit isn't necessarily proceeds but, the right to continue running, functioning and so on. Greatly so they do provide an altruistic service but, could not provide that same service if the couldn't meet their internal profit of affording to go on.

    Hmm, still, I want some power in the relationship and that will not happen without a union. I do not want to abuse my power in the relationship but, believe that checks and balances are to everyone's advantage.

    Gen
    p.s. not a corporate girl and nor a name-caller of 'evil' for capitalists, they are not evil, generally they are completely emotionless, the nature of capitalism is calculating, no good, no bad, no anything-merely profit- all the good or bad is brought in by humanity.
  12. by   teeituptom
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hi,

    Hmm, still, I want some power in the relationship and that will not happen without a union. I do not want to abuse my power in the relationship but, believe that checks and balances are to everyone's advantage.

    Gen
    p.s. not a corporate girl and nor a name-caller of 'evil' for capitalists, they are not evil, generally they are completely emotionless, the nature of capitalism is calculating, no good, no bad, no anything-merely profit- all the good or bad is brought in by humanity.

    If you desire power then Empower yourself, dont wait and let unions do it for you. You are best served by serving yourself a healthy dose of power. I have empowered myself and I do quite well for myself.
  13. by   Gennaver
    [QUOTE=teeituptom]
    Quote from Gennaver

    This is of course versus the hedgemonic elitism of the authoritative corporate dictator.

    Personally, I would rather be a member of a worthy, strong union than a slave wage laborer which most likely will happen in the unequal balance of power between corporate and employees, (i.e. slave/wage laborers).

    Thanks,
    Gen

    Whether Union or Non union we are all held to wages, unless you win the lotto and can work for free.

    There is nothing slavish about what I get paid, in the least.
    Hello Teeituptom,

    Wage slave is what would happen if companies had their way, it is a bussiness strategy taught at the best MBA schools. See, the take away a benefit here, and there, and imply that you must do that or this or else....so, we are slaves to NEEDING our jobs our companies and when they pay us so little that we cannot take time off for being sick, or for anything personal for fear of loosing the job..this is the slave-to-wages/job.

    I have been a wage slave for sure! Heaven forbid I got sick and needed to take a week off of work!! I'd not only probably loose the job, (slave to coming in for fear) but, I didn't make enough to be able to afford my meager bills if I didn't go in, (sick pay???)

    Gen
    p.s. thanks for considering the true term and its implicaitons now

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