smoke over fire 4,001 Views
Joined: Apr 21, '05;
Posts: 99 (42% Liked)
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Nice letter but as it has been said, no administrator is going to give you a voice. You need to organize your coworkers to speak up and either join a union or form your own.
It's the only way to get them to listen to the people who do the work.
The people who built your hospital will have a contract and with it more power than those taking care of the sick inside.
Vines812 You need to contact your union rep if you applied for the job & someone from the outside got it. BTW these are not benefited positions. There is also a lot of conflict going on around the hours of work & requirements. The positions are all on call.
Good luck to those who got the positions.
Unions are not a separate entity. If you & your co-workers are willing to bargain for working conditions as a group you can join a bigger union. Identifying with some larger union just affords you more legal rights and resources. Over all it comes down to the question of how far you & your co-workers are willing to push for patient safety issues. Democracy has not outlived it's usefulness, and that is exactly what collective bargaining is. Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. At work this means policies & practices that affect patient care delivery. In the government it encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. In the workplace it encompasses working conditions, wages, and safety cultures (including the safety of speaking out when there is a dangerous situation like that you described). All of this is to help nurses & healthcare worker have a part in their professional practice.
I really hope these anti-union nurses stick to their principles and leave these union hospitals, post haste so my friends who are pro-union can take those well paying, benefited jobs!
Bully's come in all sizes and status!
I agree ... bad behavior deserves action. If the managers won't listen then the nurses need to rally together and get involved. Start written documentation on what they witness, who they reported it to and what was the action taken. Then go up the chain of command. The union is not there to protect bad staff, but to shield them from bad managers. It is the responsibility of people in charge to do their jobs, and follow procedure to get these bad eggs outta there. Plus as a bonus, when one is fired the others may have a change of heart (but don't hold your breath). State ombudsman should also be getting a copy of an abuse witnessed. Don't give up! Too many people like this take advantage of those too afraid of conflict to speak up. Godspeed!
The other thing not mentioned is how Governor Brown of California refuses to enforce the ratios while the unions had a cat fight. So even though there are ratios, nothing stops the hospitals from not hiring enough nursing staff to even meet those ratios. No nurse-ratio penalties like no penalties for speeding - Sacramento Business Journal
I think ANA needs to pull back and re-evaluate their organization stance on ratios. American nurses all over have stood up saying they want a national minimum nurse to patient ratio. We have had no support on this from ANA. Some of my colleagues have seen the ANA as an enemy of nurse ratios. This is why I cancelled my membership and worked hard to get a nurse run union in our hospital. The union nurses are the only ones pushing for REAL safe staffing.
I think each collective bargaining agreement is specific to the benefits, but over all while some workplaces may have one or two things, in a unionized workplace you will see a broader range of benefits. So, that being said, my CBA covers differential for all meetings, so essential every nurse is kept "whole". No mandatory overtime, especially to cover days. No alternate staffing patterns, so same number of nurses day & night based on acuity. In California we get a 10 minute break for every 4 hours of work and then 30 minutes for a lunch after 5 hours. We have negotiated 15 minutes for breaks, and can option taking 15 minutes to eat and then an hour "combination" break, but this was bargained locally so not every hospital in our system has it. I'll try to think of more, but that is some benefits.
Years ago our hospital nurses were represented by a very large union. It wasn't long before the nurses realized that they were just another fat check for this union and they needed to do something, and quick, if they were going to get a contract. So they hired a lawyer and did it themselves. Now they are a union run by nurses for nurses and affiliated with one of the largest unions in the country. So it can be done, but it will be hard and more difficult than just joining a pre-established union.
I trust nurses and if your gut says (I bet you are right) this is a union busting ploy, then you will need to be very careful about who is on what side. If you need to make a change try to get involved in the union you have, and see if it makes a difference. You may have to fire every officer, but try to see if you can fix it first. And then if change is not possible look around. Every now and then a coup d'etat is need to get out a bunch of complacent people vs complete anarchy.
There are alot of options. You can have the union you want. But it will require YOU and your peers to be involved.
Nurses have power but are either not comfortable with it or not sure how to use it. ICU nurses must be very autonomous to not get overwhelmed so I'm never surprised. That being said they also have historically the only guaranteed ratios with out a union contract outside of California.
It is sad to say but you can see here in these forums nurses have this strange way of holding on to these bad employers. I often joke that if conditions were this way at their children's school they would be all over that principal & school board like white on rice.
I hope you never lose that fire. Nurses don't deserve to be treated so poorly. Remember a union is only a tool. The nurses themselves have to learn to enforce that contract or it's just useless.
Often these outside "morale improvement" companies are union busters in disguise. There may be an underground movement growing in your hospital and this is a way to beat them back. They will use various techniques to make you believe you have a voice in your workplace, when you really don't.
Not all the unions are the same...
The pillars of my work place is best quality, best service, most affordable, and best place to work.
We are union nurses and we work together to ensure these four pillars are at the center of what we do.
When you work under a contract, the rules of engagement are clear. What the employer & employee can expect, etc. Google some nurse contracts. Read them over and see if there is anything that goes against your ethics or professional practice. Knowledge will beat out the propaganda.
ps The pharmacists in my hospital are union. There is another union locally for physicians & dentists also.
We are floated to similar units where the regular nurses (even those with more experience than I) don't feel "comfortable" being charge. They have refused training and the ones who are willing are the least experienced graduate nurses. Our union is working through a grievance with this. So in the mean time, when I float in I try to show the nurses who are willing as much as I can. I also debrief the willing after situations to try & explain why I proceeded the way I did.
You should keep a record of the times you protested your assignment and ask to sit with the manager. If you have a union, of course they can help you to create a business case and/ or grievance for a relief charge position to be posted so those willing nurses can be trained. If no union you can try making the same arrangement but you will need to find some help from the internet or another person to make the case. And of course without a union, administration can decline your request.
I can relate to this because ancillary staff is not included in the ratio law and a staffing matrix does not usually designate back fill for when a CNA is pulled to be a sitter. However I believe many nurses are working in violation of the ratio and accepting it since it is "better than before" and they are "grateful to even have a job" attitude. The ratios are supposed to be the leanest and in this economy hospitals are not staffing to meet the patient needs, but rather staffing to meet the minimum requirement.
I also don't understand why professional nurse organizations like Cal Noc accepts any data from hospitals who do not follow the law especially in regards to the at-all-times rule. These violations hurt our professional image as well since if we can't advocate for ourselves who will?
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