Can a Nursing Home have a union?

  1. Does anyone know anything about a union at work for nurses? I work in a small nursing home that is corporate owned and have always wondered about the possibility of a workers union. I, and all of my fellow nurses, feel like we need something like a union to get some of our points across, we have tried voicing concerns to DON's and administration with no success. We feel like some policies should change, some as important as resident care and some as small as the required uniforms. If anyone knows anything about healthcare unions I would sure like to hear from you!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   SharonHopson
    Sassy,

    You sure summed up the way I felt when I was working in LTC. I know the nurses and CNA's were always talking about how nice it would be to have a union, but nothing was ever done. Louisiana is a "right to work state" ~~meaning an employer can discharge you at will. So most of us were a little afraid of talking too much. We tried the usual routes to solve problems....going to the ADON, DON, the administration.......always met a brick wall.

    I was at an 80 bed, corporate owned, facility. I loved my residents! I just really enjoy older people. But there were nights when I dreaded going into work because of the BS that went on. This company was so tight w/ their money. As an LPN, I was doing a lot of paperwork that RN's were supposed to do ie: POC updates, initial assessments, etc.

    I left there about a year ago and work for a free-standing hospice now. I have truly found my calling! I visit my former place of employment several times a month now. Sometimes to see a hospice pt., once a month to make rounds w/ the doc, and sometimes just to visit the residents.

    Good luck to you!

    Sharon
  4. by   LeslieJBRN
    From my experience (as a manager) a Union can not promise anything as they do not have the authority to give their members anything the administration is not able to give. They will promise anything to potential members but most of it is a lot of BS (like more money, or increased staffing numbers). If you are so unhappy with the unwillingness of your administration to hear your concerns then (if it were me) I would look for another job. There are so many places out there that need good people and that are willing to listen to valid concerns that it should not be a problem to find a better place. Leslie
  5. by   GreytNurse
    Unions.....well, well, well......Yes, LTC can be unionized and alot are, but your facility/Admin staff sound like my former one. We nurses and cna's all got together and decided to 'go for it'.....well, it got nasty, real nasty....some of us were fired, others suspended and most quit. We filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board and the facility was found guilty. Had to hire us back and pay for lost pay. We all walked in to get our checks and 'new' schedules and told them what to do with their jobs! The corporite owners came in prior to the vote and told us...."if you all are dumb enough to vote in the union, I'll pad lock the damn doors and nobody will have a job. I don't and will not work with or for the union".
    Needless to say, they have 80% new staff and moral is at the bottom. The union was not voted in, by the way. They scared the 'you know what' out of most.....not me, I voted yes, made sure they knew it and walked away with a fat check and a smile on my face. I hear that patient care has suffered but the admin. staff all come to work (whenever they drag their lazy rears out of bed) act like 'god almighty' and park their NEW cars in personalized spaces!!!!!
    Hang in there. If you do decide to 'try and organize a union', be prepared for the worse! You may even be fired (the union will tell you that they 'can't do that'...) but trust me, they will and use some small thing you did, or didn't do as the excuse. I wish you all the best!!!!!!
  6. by   GeriatricNurse
    We have union representation in my facilty. While it doesn't solve all problems, it does open up some new avenues for problem solving.The biggest problem we have had is getting people to participate in the union, holding office and coming to meetings. Your union is only as strong as the officers/members behind it. Also some of the staff here are unhappy with paying union dues especially since the raise them yearly. Good luck to you.
  7. by   KimberlyRN79
    Almost any group of nurses can be covered under collective bargaining, regardless of the size of the facility. In my opinion, the best approach to do this is through your state nurses association. Many of the state associations have their own program for collective bargaining. Those that don't frequently contract with neighboring states to provide it as a contractual service. I have worked within a collective bargaining situation for over 20 years and have found it to be most helpful - both from a staffing perspective and a professional one.
  8. by   km rn
    Have you put your concerns in writing to the administrator and DON? If not - do so. If you don't get a response, consider sending another letter to the Board of the Nursing Home. Does your facility have a grievance policy? Make sure your message is getting to the right people - be professional and outline the problem as well as potential solutions.

    The option of finding another job is still there but I hope these other option work.

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