i can tell you exactly what happened at centerpoint. nurses got educated. once we stopped listening only to the union and got our own info, the union propostion was no bargain at all.
centerpoint is a new hospital. hca built it and closed two other, older hospitals. nurses came from the two older hospitals and had a little trouble with turf stuff in the beginning. i came from a different hospital. the new hospital is much larger, busier and more sophisticated than either of the ones it replaced. nobody knew how busy we would be when we opened. maybe they should have but centerpoint is in a growing area and close to a busy highway, so i think a lot of people were surprised when the doors opened and the ed and women’s areas were swamped. on top of the activity increases, there was a poor management team. they just didn't get it. we were understaffed and overworked. part of that was volume and the other was stupidity. we now know that a lot of our troubles were a result of poor planning and poor execution- neither of which could have been better handled with a union, especially this union.
the union knew they were going to try to organize centerpoint before it opened and before there were any issues. some nurses thought that the union could make the hospital fix staffing problems, salaries, and fix other problems and the union won the first election. a lot of us had experience with this union and knew they hadn't done much at the other hca hospitals. but something had to change. there were a lot of nurses who didn't really understand what the union could and couldn't do. some voted for the union but a lot just didn't care and didn't vote. bottom line is that this is not a very smart union and they don't understand what nurses want or what nurses need.
after a lot of negotiations, we still didn't have raises that we knew we would have gotten with or without the union. the people the union chose to negotiate didn't understand nursing issues and the nurses from our hospital that were chosen to go to the table were more interested in things that didn't matter to the majority of us. at the same time, the hospital changed the administration and brought in a kick-ass ceo. she has made things a whole lot better by listening to us and by doing what she says she will do. by comparison the union sold us out for forced dues. we know that at menorah in kansas where forced dues are illegal, about 25% of nurses voluntarily pay dues to this same union. if it's no bargain there, then why should we pay for it?
a lot of us went along with the union in the beginning. it was like, "what do we have to lose?" but now we have seen what they can and can't do and what the hospital will and won't do. and you can't respect anyone- union or otherwise, who repeatedly and pubically attacks your quality of care. nurses and doctors and centerpoint are sick and tired of the union building walls between the community and the hospital. it is unforgivable and unforgetable.
one thing that made a difference was learning the truth about what the law says about unions and employees. we have had inservices over the last 3 weeks. they are using a labor board book. the union is complaining about the inservices which means that they must be afraid of what we are learning. some of the information is one sided and i am not stupid enough to think that everything i heard was "neutral" but when i took the book home and read it on my own, it was clear to me that we are better off without a union and speaking for ourselves and shared governance is the way that it should be done at centerpoint.