Retaliation for voicing concern over unsafe pratices - page 14

Hi, I am looking for some insight into retaliation acts by employers.I am a RN in a ICU setting at a major teaching hospital.I have been a resource to my entire unit.I received a promotion only... Read More

  1. by   Keysnurse2008
    Ok...I have heard alot about the pro's and cons of labor unions.How do you even "find" information on labor unions...lets say...if you are in a state like me that doesnt have one.What are the type of "fees" assocaiated with them...and examples of services they provide for those fees?
  2. by   Sheri257
    Quote from TNNURSE
    Ok...I have heard alot about the pro's and cons of labor unions.How do you even "find" information on labor unions...lets say...if you are in a state like me that doesnt have one.What are the type of "fees" assocaiated with them...and examples of services they provide for those fees?
    Actually, I probably shouldn't have used the word "find." You can easily find union facilities to work for in California but states like Texas are a different story. Texas is a "right to work" state which means, no unions and it would probably be very difficult to organize there. When RN's unionize, they have an election at the facility where the majority of RN's vote on whether the union represents them or not.

    Union fees vary widely ... anywhere from $200 to $1,000 a year but, since they negotiate contracts that get RN's an average of $7,000 more a year in pay than non-union workers, the fees are usually worth it.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 27, '05
  3. by   gauge14iv
    Thing about unions is this - what other PROFESSION is unionized? Unions were originated to protect the skilled or unskilled but usually uneducated worker. You don't see Doctors forming unions. Granted they don't grapple with the employment issues nurses do. I still say the answer is NOT in a union - no how no way. The answer lies in an active association with a voice (meaning one that has it's own political activists).

    Nurses can no longer stand back and expect other people to take action - WE - YOU - ME have to do it. If you have never been to a meeting, never bothered to join, never bothered to volunteer to help with an issue, never read up on things (such as whistleblower protection) then why would things be in any way favorable towards the profession? Get out there, get involved and help get things changed. We can't afford to be passive anymore and TNNURSE's story illustrates why!

    It takes money to pay lobbyists to protect nursing's interests and further the profession. It takes money to start, support and run a union. I think you really have to ask the question of where the money would be better spent. Paying the salaries of union presidents? Or the salaries of active lobbyists to actually get the laws changed so that we can protect ourselves instead of waiting for the next union representative to do it...

    I hope I never see a union in Texas!
  4. by   Sheri257
    This is all well and good but ... nurses already have "professional" organizations. What have they done? Not much. Have they negotiated better pay for nurses? No. Have they passed any ratio laws? No. Did they get nurses removed from the federal government overtime exemption regulations like the police and firemen did? No.

    What difference does it make whether it's a "professional" organization or a union as long as they get the job done. If the ANA or some other organization starts generating any results I'll be the first to support them but, what have they accomplished? Unions are the only ones that have delivered results.

    What do you think the California union did to get the ratio law passed? Sit on their hands? They lobbied the legislature for five years to get that law passed. They fought multiple attempts to attack the law in court. They took to the streets over and over again with demonstration after demonstration until Schwarzenegger backed off on the ratio roll back.

    And you think that's a waste of money? The vast majority of California RN's who benefit from ratios, whether they are union and non-union, will disagree with you. If you don't want unions in Texas that's fine because ... the "professional" organizations haven't given you ratios, better pay, or much else for that matter.

    Quote from gauge14iv
    Thing about unions is this - what other PROFESSION is unionized? Unions were originated to protect the skilled or unskilled but usually uneducated worker. You don't see Doctors forming unions. Granted they don't grapple with the employment issues nurses do. I still say the answer is NOT in a union - no how no way. The answer lies in an active association with a voice (meaning one that has it's own political activists).

    Nurses can no longer stand back and expect other people to take action - WE - YOU - ME have to do it. If you have never been to a meeting, never bothered to join, never bothered to volunteer to help with an issue, never read up on things (such as whistleblower protection) then why would things be in any way favorable towards the profession? Get out there, get involved and help get things changed. We can't afford to be passive anymore and TNNURSE's story illustrates why!

    It takes money to pay lobbyists to protect nursing's interests and further the profession. It takes money to start, support and run a union. I think you really have to ask the question of where the money would be better spent. Paying the salaries of union presidents? Or the salaries of active lobbyists to actually get the laws changed so that we can protect ourselves instead of waiting for the next union representative to do it...

    I hope I never see a union in Texas!
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 27, '05
  5. by   Keysnurse2008
    see....thats the problem.my home state is an "at will" state too.while there are legal avenues to protect nurses with stories like mine...they still need to be made stronger-legally.unless they have it on tape as i do....alot of their cases will be dismissed when they bring forth issues of patient safety, staffing acquity ratios, and impaired practitioners.they will be trompled in the "system". the cases who do have lots of concrete evidence...well...yes those hcf are made to pay! but "pay" isnt what nurses are wanting.we want to work in a safety conscious atmosphere...in hcf's that "listen" to members of the hc team when they bring forth issues like unsafe staffing ratios and patient safety issues.the risk management and "administrative office personelss" are not the ones that are having to see the families faces...they still cant "grasp" the concept i keep talking about. every patient in every icu bed is someones mother/father/brother/sister/child/ spouse.there is "someone" out there thats hoping and praying that this patient will recover. when we are staffed with like a level 1 patient and 2 other patients....how can you meet all their needs? it places the nurse in a horrible position. same concept in general care areas...lets say its a med-surg area....and you have 6 fresh post op surgical patients...all come in with all their comorbities...not just the surgical event. all have blood loss, hx of asthma, emphysema, hypertension, diabetes etc etc etc. with ratios of 6-8 patients per nurse are you going to be able to truly monitor them closely enough to see the early warning signs before a patient crashes? thats what i am saying. its like being set up for failure....and then when a patient does crash....then who are they "looking " to attach blame too? the nurse.
    most nurses are extremely careful, thorough..and want to truly do a good job. but when administration wants to turn a deaf ear when these nurses are bringing their concerns to them...what does that say? what does it say to the employees when nurses are terminated for bringing these issues forward. i think you guys are right.i dont think its the unions that is the answer.i think it is making new laws even stronger.like the last patient safety and quality improvement act that president bush just enacted. does anyone know who first initiated the concept of this new law? was it the ana ?
  6. by   gauge14iv
    The problem with professional organizations is that participation is purely voluntary and people don't participate. If people would actually participate instead of doing nothing, then the professional organizations WOULD have power!
  7. by   gauge14iv
    As for what difference it makes between the two - I dont want to HAVE to be a member to be employed.
  8. by   AtlantaRN
    I went to a nursing seminar that had to do with law; how to document etc to protect yourself....VERY informative...

    If someone is crashing, you take EVERYONE with you...we have implemented at my facility a "rapid response team", so if something is going wrong, you have a RT, hospitalist, and a critical care RN to come to the aid of your patient...I'm all for it. true, if a patient crashes, they will look at the nurse (because we take money from the hospital whereas the md brings money to the hospital)...

    at my facility, MED/SURG nurses max out at 6 on day shift/ 8 on night shift and true, most are post ops vomiting, and other issues; IMCU max out at 4 with natrecor, ntg, cardizem drips, ICU max out at 2...

    I hope you find another hospital worthy of your skills and obvious concern you have over patient care...It takes a strong person to stand up in the face of adversity and my prayers are with you.

    linda
  9. by   Sheri257
    Quote from gauge14iv
    The problem with professional organizations is that participation is purely voluntary and people don't participate. If people would actually participate instead of doing nothing, then the professional organizations WOULD have power!
    It's great to say it "would" happen but ... the reason it doesn't happen is that the "professional" organizations are more inclined to stick with the status quo. They haven't given RN's a reason to get involved because they don't push anything that delivers real benefits for RN's.

    Unions tend to be more aggressive and, consequently, more successful ... which is why RN's get more involved with union activities. When Schwarzenegger attacked the ratio law, RN's didn't have to show up at all of those demonstrations to protest. It wasn't a requirement of union membership. But they did it because the union delivered a real benefit that drastically improved their working conditions and they wanted to defend it.

    Quote from gauge14iv
    As for what difference it makes between the two - I dont want to HAVE to be a member to be employed.
    This is true. But for all practical purposes, you don't have to be a union RN in California to enjoy ratios. 80 percent of the jobs in California are non-union. But, of course, if you don't belong to a union then you probably don't make as much money either. If you want to make less money then, nothing is stopping you from doing that.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 27, '05
  10. by   Keysnurse2008
    Lizz...you do have a point.I cant even tell you any type of legislation my state nsg association is even attempting to get passed to benefit nurses.Although I am a member I do not receive any flyers from them telling me about their activities.So...does the ANA require each state to be actively involved in "X" number of legislation lobbying?
    See...on this stuff....I just "dont know". I can tell you that it has been a great number of years since the nsg population in general has gotten any kind of cost of living increases in my state. As the minimum wage rises and rises really nurses salsries are not adjusting to the cost of living increases for most.
    I have to admit....till this happened to me I was oblivious to this kind of treatment. I paid my yearly dues....but .....never really "knew" what they were trying to acheive( nsg associations). Now....I am asking questions....I want to know.....with working so much....family obligations etc .....it is sometimes difficult to find time for it all. However ...IF they had notified me of something that really would affect me ..or my patients then Id be present to assist in any way possible.But..they havent.
    As more and more laws and statutes are put into place to help protect patients and protect against retaliation the public is begining to gain insight. Are they "fully aware yet?" no.....I was reading on a web site a minute ago that 30% of all hospital deaths can be attributed to hc medical mistakes ( this includes like anesthesia, the surgeon , the RT, ...and yes ..the nurse).
  11. by   Sheri257
    Don't get me wrong TNNurse: Gauge also has a point. Unions will sometimes protect incompetent nurses, like the one you had a problem with. I'm not going to dispute that. But, the flip side is that a union would have also provided you with some protection for your situation. With a union contract, they usually can't just arbitrarily fire people. Is it foolproof? No. They can still fire you. But they usually have to make a case for it.

    As far as Texas wages, I'm not surprized that they haven't been keeping up with inflation. One of the reasons the California union has been successful is that they have been willing to go out on strike. A lot of nurses don't like this, but it pays off in the end because when the union negotiates and says they'll walk ... management knows the union means it. That's what it takes to get any meaningful pay increases.

    And yes, union dues are mandatory if you work at a union facility. Gauge is also right about that. But if you really don't like what the union does, you can have your dues paid to the charity of your choice.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 27, '05
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from TNNURSE
    So...does the ANA require each state to be actively involved in "X" number of legislation lobbying? See...on this stuff....I just "dont know".
    I don't know for sure, but I've never heard of ANA or their affiliates doing any substantial legislative lobbying. If they have ... it hasn't been very successful. For example, all other attempts to pass ratio laws in other states have failed.

    There's actually a war going on ... so to speak ... between the ANA and CNA. The California nurses union broke off from ANA years ago because they felt they weren't doing enough. Now CNA is trying to organize in other states. CNA recently won an election at an Illinois facility where the RN's decided to dump the ANA affiliate and go with CNA's organization there. Similar battles are happening in Hawaii and other states.

    It's controversial, but some RN's are getting tired of the ANA and their affiliates maintaining the status quo.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 27, '05
  13. by   Keysnurse2008
    Lizz,
    wow....the CNA can supercede the ANA? I wonder how the CNA "decides" which states to attempt to intervene in? I mean....at this point.....unless nurses are like me and "record" these fiasco's....its really big bussiness versus the nurse.

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