RNs demand union action against their own "homegrown" scabs

  1. New York State Nurses Association
    REPORT: December 2002

    NYSNA Disciplines Nurses Who Crossed Strike Line

    What could be more hurtful to RNs on strike for better staffing than to watch other nurses cross the picket line and help management hold out? Only one thing is worse, and that's if those nurses are members of your own union.

    Responding to complaints from members who had watched colleagues undermine the strength of their bargaining unit's labor activities, the Voting Body took action. In October 2000, by a vote of 362 - 44, members amended NYSNA bylaws to strengthen disciplinary action against scabs.

    New Bylaw Imposes Fines:

    The first nurses affected by that change crossed the strike line at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown during the second longest strike in NYSNA history. The walkout, which ran from November 26, 2001 to March 9, 2002, ended in a sweeping victory for the striking nurses.

    Those NYSNA members who crossed the picket line inevitably benefit from what the strikers won. At St. Catherine's that included a contract that limits mandatory overtime, enforces RN-to-patient staffing guidelines, and provides retirement health coverage. But under the new disciplinary process, the scabs will lose the benefits of membership in NYSNA. They cannot run for any leadership position, vote on any contracts or in NYSNA elections, or receive member discounts on goods and services.

    They are barred from NYSNA membership for two years and must also pay a fine of $500 if they wish to be reinstated at the end of that period. All fines paid by the disciplined nurses will go to the NYSNA Protected Action Fund, which supports bargaining unit activities during a labor dispute. Names of the members who have been barred are published at the website and will be published in the Report newsletter.
    http://www.NYSNA.org
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 18, '02
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    They still get to benefit from the contract though, don't they?
  4. by   -jt
    Yup. They get the benefit of everything their colleagues won in that contract in spite of them. But they dont get them for nothing. We have closed shops here & they still have to pay the same dues - as a service fee for enjoying those benefits & contract.

    They just lose the right to have any say in any of it. Thats a big thing around here. With such a strong union mentality ingrained in NYers, having no say in the things that affect us at work & having other people make the decisions for us that we have to live by doesnt sit too well with us. Besides that, they lost friendships at work & are ostracized. Even if they leave & go to another facility (most in the NYC metropolitan area are NYSNA & closed shops), their ban follows them & the new hospital is notified -- unless they find a non-NYSNA facility. And those usually dont have as good contracts & benefits as NYSNA facilities do.

    Also, with so many places to work around here that werent on strike & so many recruiters even coming to the strike line to recruit striking RNs for temp & per diem on the spot, there was no reason to cross the strike line - not even for financial reasons. Only 'imported' scabs got the big strike pay -- these homegrown ones who crossed their own strike line got paid their regular salary. They could have avoided all the ramifications & even would have made more money by not crossing their own strike line & just working agency or per diem at one of the many places that were lining up with offers on a silver platter. They lost out all the way around.

    It just wasnt worth doing what they did.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 18, '02
  5. by   oramar
    You know for sure who crossed right? There is no chance that someone with a grudge could finger another person for scabbing when it wasn't so. It strikes me that there is no due process.
  6. by   fergus51
    It's pretty easy to tell by looking at payroll records. Our union gets dues off of our checks. If we aren't working, they wouldn't get any dues. I don't have any sympathy for people who cross picket lines. They are only looking out for themselves, and if that bites them in the butt later, that's their problem.
  7. by   teeituptom
    Howdy Ya'll
    from deep in the heart of texas

    I love it when -jt starts spouting his prounion beliefs. Its one thing when he attacks SCABS with his one sided belief system. But now he is failing to try to understand what motivated these nurses. In their eyes they may have felt that they had no other choice to make for themselves. And good ole -jt starts in with his Tailgunner Joe Mccarthyism tactics in dealing with these people who may not have had any choice but to do what they did. And for -jt to announce that they are to be shunned and ostracized, and treated like pariah scum, -jt is far out of line.
    These nurses who decided to cross the line should be given the respect they deserve for making what to them was probably a very difficult decision. I am sure that not a single one of them made their decision lightly. And the last time I looked this is a free country, and for one group of people to try and oppress another just doesnt sit well with me.
  8. by   sjoe
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 18, '02
  9. by   sjoe
    jt writes: "under the new disciplinary process, the scabs will lose the benefits of membership in NYSNA. They cannot run for any leadership position, vote on any contracts or in NYSNA elections, or receive member discounts on goods and services. They are barred from NYSNA membership for two years and must also pay a fine of $500 if they wish to be reinstated at the end of that period."

    That looks like a VERY trivial penalty to me. This kind of thing is very common during strikes of all kinds. What do the Teamsters do when it happens during one of theirs? Small wonder that nurses' unions "don't get no respect" including from their own members.

    It would be interesting to know, as our #1 golfer from Texas has proposed, what motivated people to cross the picket line, how they think/feel about it now, etc.

    Maybe they are as fed up with their union as they are with the facility. Maybe they chose to react to the lack of union support for their issues, whatever they are, with their lack of support for the union during the strike. Maybe they didn't want to be union members in the first place, but were forced, against their will, by "closed shop" rules to pay the membership fees.

    They might have some very good reasons for not participating in the strike, we just don't know.

    But what we DO know is that the "penalties," etc. are just more indicators of "divide and conquer" that ALWAYS plays into management's hands as it pits groups of nurses (strikers) against other groups of nurses (scabs). And on it goes.
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 18, '02
  10. by   -jt
    <You know for sure who crossed right? There is no chance that someone with a grudge could finger another person for scabbing when it wasn't so. It strikes me that there is no due process.>

    Payroll is pretty accurate proof. And there is due process - a formal procedure to follow including hearings.

    I agree with you Fergus. They had PLENTY of choices. There was work all around them -- and for more money too. They had their choice of facility, shift, dept, etc all being thrown at their feet. This is metropolitan NYC - not Appalachia. Theres another place to work 5 minutes in any direction. Those 23 nurses chose to do what they did. And then 400 of their colleagues at that facility (just about the entire nursing staff) chose to file written complaints demanding that their union take an action on it. If the union then didnt respond to the members demands, how many people here would then be saying "See! I told you the union just does what it wants & doesnt listen to its members." lol

    .
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 18, '02
  11. by   -jt
    Having to live with a contract that you are denied any say in is not a trivial thing around here.

    What teamster do to their own scabs has nothing to do with us. I dont know who makes up the rules for how teamsters operate but the MEMBERS of our union themselves made the rules on disciplining their own scabs, & the MEMBERS of our union themselves decided what the penalities would be. If they chose not to come down harder on their colleagues who scab them, that was their choice to make. And very generous of them, considering.
  12. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by teeituptom
    Howdy Ya'll
    from deep in the heart of texas

    I love it when -jt starts spouting his prounion beliefs. Its one thing when he attacks SCABS with his one sided belief system. But now he is failing to try to understand what motivated these nurses. In their eyes they may have felt that they had no other choice to make for themselves. And good ole -jt starts in with his Tailgunner Joe Mccarthyism tactics in dealing with these people who may not have had any choice but to do what they did. And for -jt to announce that they are to be shunned and ostracized, and treated like pariah scum, -jt is far out of line.
    These nurses who decided to cross the line should be given the respect they deserve for making what to them was probably a very difficult decision. I am sure that not a single one of them made their decision lightly. And the last time I looked this is a free country, and for one group of people to try and oppress another just doesnt sit well with me.
    I am very surprised to hear this reaction from you. You were honest in another thread and said you would cross a picket line, not caring about the nurses who are on strike, because your primary concern is yourself and making the money you want to make to support your family. I appreciated your honesty about the matter. Now you think that the union members who were stabbed in the back by colleagues should feel fine about sacrificing to get benefits for strikebreakers? I don't see why it's ok for a scab to operate under purely self-serving actions, then expect those who were loyal to a union to love them for it.

    The strikebreakers live in a free country and got to make their own decisions, but even in a free country decisions have consequences. If you act to enrich yourself at the expense of others, don't whine that they didn't thank you when it was over. If you don't like unions you can work in a non-unionized facility. Taking a job knowing it is unionized carries consequences. Those nurses need to grow up and accept that they have to live with the results of their decisions.
  13. by   fergus51
    I would like to say no one is forced against their will to be in a union. No one holds a gun to your head and makes you apply for work in a unionized facility any more than in a non-unionized environment.
  14. by   Gomer
    Originally posted by -jt
    New York State Nurses Association
    REPORT: December 2002


    ....the scabs will lose the benefits of membership in NYSNA. They cannot run for any leadership position, vote on any contracts or in NYSNA elections, or receive member discounts on goods and services.

    http://www.NYSNA.org

    Some benefits...."oh! I can't run for leadership in an organization I don't believe in and was forced to join", "oh!, I can't vote on any contracts/elections that the union forces upon me", "oh! I don't get any discounts" (of course, the union has gotten me such a raise that I don't need discounts..."oh, you mean the raise the union got for little old scab me means I have to pay more dues, oh!, oh!, oh!"

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