Staff RNs need to be in their own union because our issues are very different from the issues of the other personnel in the hospital. Just as the employer would not expect the building engineers, carpenters, and electricians to be in the same union as the kitchen workers, they should not expect RNs to have the same needs as others either
. And most importantly, the employer has no say whatsoever in which union you decide to join. It is the law that eligible workers have the right to choose to join any union they want to join as a group. The WORKERS decide and the employer can have no say in the matter. It is against the law for them to hold meetings with you to try to coerce you or alter your decision in any way. Thats called "unfair labor practice".
***Professional issues like continuing education, dangerous practices like unqualified floating, forced overtime and short staffing when you are holding 10 or more lives in your exhausted hands, the need for stepped up recruitment and retention initiatives for manageable patient loads, and just basically all your professional workplace and patient advocacy
issues, are not issues of importance to others like the housekeeping staff. Nor do those workers have a professional obligation to patient advocacy. No offense to those workers is intended. Its just that they and RNs have different needs and requirements. RNs have a state professional Nurse Practice Act and national professional Code of Nurse Ethics to uphold and adhere to, which non-nurses may not be familiar with, understand the ramifications of, or realize why it is a priority for you. Your professional RN union does and works to ensure that you are able to uphold those standards in your workplace. If the RNs are in the same union as all the other workers, sometimes these important professional RN issues can get lost in the shuffle because the RNs are the minority in that large group and the majority comes first.***
If you have your own union, the trade union can service its members as they need, and the RNs union can address just the issues relevant to the RN staff. Without having to deal with the RN's patient care problems (which today are many), the trade union can concentrate more on the other things its own members need and the RN union can concentrate on just the RNs and patient care issues. Both groups then get more focused, better representation from their respective unions. Its for these reasons that RNs in my hospital voted to get out of the service workers trade union in 1984 & voted to join our professional state nurses association instead. (and that was pre-UAN). We believed that a union run by
RNs only, as our state association is, can better understand & address our professional concerns and devote themselves to them.
That is not to say that some trade unions dont do a good job for RNs. Some do. It was just our experience that out of all 3,000 employees in the trade union at our facility, the mere 700 of us who were RNs kept getting our problems put on the back burner by the majority, which had much different concerns than things like floating to areas which we werent qualified for. The way they saw it was an LPN is a nurse & an RN is a nurse so whats the big deal if you have only 1 RN and 2 LPNs for 40 patients? You got 3 nurses
dont you? (never mind trying to explain that the lone RN really had responsibility for all 40 pts). And if the housekeeper can work in med-surg today & ICU tomorrow & pediatrics on Wednesday, why cant the RNs just stop complaining and do it too? Nobody but the RNs saw that any of this was a problem for us, but since we were just a fraction of the group, their problems came first & we kept getting put on hold. So we got out & went to the RNs professional union, where our professional issues like patient safety and patient advocacy
would be the top & only
For more on why RNs need to be in their own union,see:
"America's Staff Nurses Cite Higher Pay, Better Staffing as Top Solutions to Shortage"
[I]"National Shortage of Hospital Staff Nurses"[/]
The Working Conditions of Registered Nurses and Their Relation to Patient Safety
I dont understand why you have to prove that you dont belong in the other workers union. It is your federal right
to choose to belong to any union you want to belong to. Only you as a group can make the decision on which one that will be. And you dont have to prove or defend to anyone else why you choose any particular union, so I dont get what this hearing is about. The employer cant refuse to recognize your union unless it formally questions the legality of the vote, the unions tactics in conducting the vote, claims that the union harrassed or otherwise illegally obtained your vote, or if it claims that you are not eligilble to be in a union at all. If it files claim to any of these things, it doesnt have to prove it until the court case comes up, which can be a long time away because of back-logs on the court calender, so even if it knows the claims are false, they buy themselves time to keep you non-union longer & hope your committment, strength & unity deissolves eventually, you forget all about it & give up. Its a typical union-busting tactic to stall... stall.... and stall some more.... and hope the nurses attention span isnt that long.
I have a feeling your employer will try to use the argument that their nurses are not entitled to be in any
union because they "supervise" other personnel. Employers are trying to stall nurse unionizing with this tactic, calling them "supervisors", & tying the decision up in the backlogged courts. This is the case with a group of nurses in Utah who also recently elected the UAN as their union. But the burden of proof that nurses are "supervisors" at their facility is on the employer. The employer might not win, but they can keep the ballots impounded, not recognize the union for the duration, & leave the nurses in limbo until the court gets around to hearing the case & making a decision. For more on this latest tactic, see:
Employers Use a Supreme Court Ruling to Exclude RNs From Unions