Should nurses strike? - page 12

Should nurses strike? Would you cross the picket line?:confused:... Read More

  1. by   geekgolightly
    thats it! karen for president!
  2. by   nowplayingEDRN
    NY State's BON stance on the abandonment issue (which backs my definition of abandonment and which NRSKaren backed with her web sites-ty NRS)

    http://www.op.nysed.gov/nurseabandonment.htm
  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you all for the information.
    Karen, just terrific!
  4. by   live4today
    originally posted by clint
    should nurses strike? would you cross the picket line?
    one month ago today, you asked the above question. after being back in nursing six months now after a five year sabbatical out of nursing, i am ready to answer this very profound question of "should nurses strike?"

    yes, nurses should strike, and become unionized as a whole nationwide in light of the unsafe nursing practices in hospitals today. and.....that's my two-cents to this discussion.
  5. by   -jt
    <This debate is not what I had hoped. I am very interested in the long term effects of union vs. no union. Being as short sighted as to accept that right now my luck in finding a job that has a 6:1 ratio in an intermediate care unit in neuroscience with great pay and benefits does not mean that I will always be faced with a patient care ratio that is acceptable.>

    Sorry the debate didnt answer your questions. Its a hot issue & sometimes people post with their emotions rather than their minds. Its hard to skip over the personalities to see the issues. Let me know what youre looking for & Ill send you any info/links/articles that I have so you can make your own conclusions.

    Also, in your job search, ask the recruiters about the RN staffing ratios. Look for facilities that have been awarded Magent Designation status by the ANCC, a division of the ANA. Those facilities have made a committment to nurses & their workplaces & have much better ratios, less staff turnover, better working conditions in general, and many times also have waiting lists of RNs who want to work there. The ANCC has a list of these faciltiies in each state on the ANCC website. Theres a link to it from www.nursingworld.org. Find the Magnet Award winning facilities near you and start your job search with them.

    Good luck.
  6. by   -jt
    <if they do strike they must also be willing for face the consequences of their actions...no paycheck, possible patient abandonment charges, loss of their job...>

    The only one of the above that is half way close to a "consequence" of a nurse going on strike is no paycheck - from THAT facility. There will still be a paycheck because striking nurses are courted right on the strike line from every other facility, hospital, and agency within many miles of the one they are striking. Recruiters come to the strike line to sign the nurses up for work. They have their car trunks filled with applications and schedules. Per diem, temp work & new job offers come in from all around and the nurses are given many other options to obtain a paycheck.

    A legal strike does not constitute "pt abandonment" so you are also mistaken in thinking that there would be such a charge. There isnt a "pt abaondonment" charge because it isnt pt abandonment. End of that discussion.

    With a NURSES union in a legal strike, there is no loss of the nurses' jobs. There is a return- to-work agreement. The only nurses losing a job are the scabs.

    The "consequences" of being on strike are that your eyes are opened up. You learn that you do have a voice that can make a difference. You see that you have a collective power that can make change happen. You wake up & understand first hand that you do not have to accept the unacceptable.
  7. by   -jt
    <fight change all you want, just do it without striking>

    Nurses are not fighting "change" - they are fighting the deterioration that has resulted from it. "Change" does not have to mean "decline", but thats exactly what it means in our workplaces. So nurses now are fighting FOR change - a change in current administrative practices that have caused this decline.

    Im still waiting for someone to tell us how to fight for change AND GET IT without threatening a strike when the employer WILL NOT LISTEN, will not make any change, there are no laws (like safe staffing ratios) in your state to force him to, and its just you against him & his corporation. And the pts are lying in a hospital bed on your floor waiting for quality care.... and hoping their nurse isnt so overworked, overwhlemed, and exhausted that she accidentally harms them with a mistake.

    I have been a union RN for 21 years and never been on strike. Came close a few years ago. The employer would not discuss staffing ratios during all 9 months of negotiations. We tried & tried & they just said no. But we said this is a serious issue & must be addressed. "NO" is not an acceptable answer. We took a strike vote over it & the RNs voted 99 % to go out on strike for staffing ratios - despite the raises we were offered. SIX DAYS LATER, without even having yet been given the 10 day notice, the hospital agreed to our original staffing ratio proposal & there was no longer a need to have a strike. So there wasnt one.

    They could have agreed to those ratios from day one when we first presented the proposal. But they fought it for 9 months. We threatened to strike over it & in less than a week they suddenly can find it in their means to agree to acceptable staffing ratios??? That means they could have agreed all along but instead chose to force and provoke a nurses strike situation to try to get us to back down & give up the issue.

    If we hadnt taken that strike vote, we never would have gotten those staffing ratios into our contract. The strike vote was the only thing that moved our administration to pay attention to this issue. My state's RN staffing ratio bill is not yet a law but most of our union's RNs are obtaining safe RN staffing ratios in their contracts facility by facility all over the state - some were forced to obtain them by striking. How many non-union nurses have legally-binding guaranteed RN-to-pt staffing ratios where they work?

    If we dont have the option to strike, how do we get any change when administration just tells us its not in the budget and turns its back on us?

    At that point, when all else has failed to get them to respond to our concerns effectively, we take a strike vote & THEN THEY LISTEN and improvements finally happen because they only pay attention when the income we generate for them by working is threatened.

    Take away this last piece of ammunition in the battle for pt safety & where do we go from there? If we fight & fight & fight for change at our workplace and the employer still does nothing because there is nothing to force him to, what comes next if we cant strike? How do we get change if we have nothing to fight with? Im all ears.

    California's staffing ratio law took 10 YEARS to get passed. Sixteen other states currently have safe staffing ratio laws going thru the legislative process at their state capitols. Who knows how long those will take to become law. And forget about the other states that havent even started the process yet. While we are lobbying our states & DC for laws that would take the control out of our employers hands but that wont get passed for years because the hospital associations are there too lobbying against us, how do we fight for change effectively at the workplace in the meantime if there can be no strike threat?

    We dont have time to wait for laws to be passed to force change that will bring improvements. Without those laws all we have to fight with is the threat to the employers pocketbook. And without that, what is there to make them listen to any of us? More of us quitting?

    Thats already happening & it hasnt had any effect yet. All it will do is help them prove that "there are no nurses" & will get laws passed to expand the practice of UAPS, EMTS, Pharmacists, resp & radiology techs to pick up some of the RN role & responsibilities.

    Nurses who are willing to strike & can strike or have gone on strike for pt/nurse safety issues ARE getting the changes made facility by facility. Non-union nurses have no such ammunition & most are still stuck with the status quo & dangerous conditions (unless theirs is a Magnet Award designated facility) & just have to hope that their employer will listen to their concerns & do something about it. Union nurses dont have to wait till the employer wakes up. We have the right & obligation to wake him up with a strike if thats what it takes to protect our pts from dangerous hospital practices and policies.

    Some keep saying "Dont strike". OK. Striking is not an easy thing to do. Nurses would love it if they didnt have to strike just to be able to do their jobs and protect their pts and themselves....

    So tell them how to force their non-responsive employers to listen to them & actually make the changes they need when you are asking them not to use the only ammunition they currently have to fight with.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 26, '03
  8. by   nowplayingEDRN
    Again...may I suggest that union vs non-union be made a separate thread to avoid one big huge mess....even though the 2 issues are related? And jt, I am thrilled that your union experience was such a positive one. I wish I could say the same.
  9. by   geekgolightly
    jt, your posts are well thought out and compelling. Thank you for taking the time to post them. I am glad to hear your viewpoint.
  10. by   roxannekkb
    Im still waiting for someone to tell us how to fight for change AND GET IT without threatening a strike when the employer WILL NOT LISTEN, will not make any change, there are no laws (like safe staffing ratios) in your state to force him to, and its just you against him & his corporation. And the pts are lying in a hospital bed on your floor waiting for quality care.... and hoping their nurse isnt so overworked, overwhlemed, and exhausted that she accidentally harms them with a mistake.
    Okay, I came back, just to see how things were going. Wow, some great exchanges. But I have to agree wholeheartedly with jt, as this was one of the points I was trying to get across, to that, um, unnamed person. I suppose the other alternative to a strike would be for nurses to all say "NO!!!" Refuse to float to units where they are untrained, refuse to take unsafe patient loads, refuse mandatory overtime. And so on.

    But some may perceive that action as patient abandonement as well. Basically, healthcare is reaching a point where nurses have to get together and take action. We already know that most facilities aren't going to improve things voluntarily. We already see that they are happy to throw sign-up bonuses around, pay $10,000 to get a nurse from India, and give out bonbons on nurse's day--but they are not prepared to improve working conditions and the fate of the patients who are being cared for.

    Anyway, kudos again to jt and for everyone here who has stood up for the rights of nurses to demand safe working conditions. :kiss :kiss :kiss
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by roxannekkb


    Basically, healthcare is reaching a point where nurses have to get together and take action.
    Nurses have said "NO!" and improved conditions. Others were fired for 'insubordination'. They easily found jobs they like better and for more money.
    Abandonment? NOT

    Others gave a strike notice and got safer patient care without a strike. Then there are the < 5% that strike. Like JTs hospital. They made gains, improvements for nurses and patients. Most of us are older and/or have families. Mandatory overtime is NOT safe for patients! Just one of many issues.

    Like the fired nurses I would not float to an area with patients I am neither trained nor experienced to care for. They are heros to me!
  12. by   -jt
    <Then there are the < 5% that strike. Like JTs hospital. They made gains, improvements for nurses and patients. >

    We did that without having to strike - but we had to THREATEN to strike to do it. The nurses at that hospital have been unionized since 1973 and never ever had a strike. All we had to do once was show with an overwhelming strike vote that we meant business & were willing to strike. We never had to strike at my hospital. The vote alone was enough to get the hosptial to pay attention & make the improvements we needed. That was in 1996 and the dire predictions of "inevitable bankruptcy" if they had to provide safe staffing ratios never materialized. The place is still standing & doing very well. But wouldnt it be nice if we didnt have to even threaten to strike to get safe care for our pts?
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 26, '03
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by -jt
    <Then there are the < 5% that strike. Like JTs hospital. They made gains, improvements for nurses and patients. >

    We did that without having to strike - but we had to THREATEN to strike to do it. The nurses at that hospital have been unionized since 1973 and never ever had a strike. All we had to do once was show with an overwhelming strike vote that we meant business & were willing to strike. We never had to strike at my hospital. The vote alone was enough to get the hosptial to pay attention & make the improvements we needed. That was in 1996 and the dire predictions of "inevitable bankruptcy" if they had to provide safe staffing ratios never materialized. The place is still standing & doing very well. But wouldnt it be nice if we didnt have to even threaten to strike to get safe care for our pts?
    Ops! I got my facts wrong. Got you mixed up with another poster.
    We had a strike vote too. They went back to the table the day we would have gone out. VERY glad we didn't/ It was over puyying state floating and competency language into the contract. Amazing.

    Thank you for correcting me.

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