Unions prevelance across US?

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    I often read people encouraging someone to "contact your union rep" and wonder how many states have nursing unions? I know in the 80s there was talk when I worked in Colorado of getting a union but I don't know that it ever happened. Any one know how wide spread nursing unions are?
  2. 18 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Unions are a function of the workplace, not the state. Union presence is indicated in all job postings where unions are in place at an employer.
  4. 1
    A little bit complicated. A common term in union discussions is "union density" - the percentage of workplaces in a particular industry and region that are unionized. This varies from quite high in a few states - California, New York, Massachusetts - to virtually zero in much of the South and and large parts of the interior West. Except for those two areas, most states have at least some unionized hospitals, with decent union density through the Northeast, Northern Mid-West and West Coast.
    Some of that is by true nurses' unions (state nurses' associations or similar) - mostly in California, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois (no doubt a few others I'm forgetting).
    In other states, where the state nurses' associations never got involved in collective bargaining, most of the unionization is done by non-nurse unions who have some RN bargaining units. Where the state nurses' associations left that void, a lot of other unions have stepped in to fill it. They include teacher's unions, public employee unions, the laborers, teamsters, steelworkers, office workers, and service employee unions.
    How good a job those other unions do in representing nurses is widely variable. I'm a fan of nurses' unions for nurses.
    trixie333 likes this.
  5. 4
    There are no nurse unions where I live in Illinois. Some hospitals in the Chicago area have nurse unions.

    This is unfortunate because nurses are not treated as professionals. They are treated as laborers unless they are APNs or educators. But APNs and educators are in control of the professional organizations and the state board of nursing. That is unfortunate for rank and file RNs and the patients for which staff RNs would advocate if they had the security of a contract and a union to represent them.

    The U.S. Supreme Court decided many years ago that Medicare money could be used by hospitals to keep nurses from organizing. What other group of employees has to fight against their own government's funding to organize?

    It is in everyone's best interest, except nurses, to control our workers. And make no mistake about it, nurses are workers.
    nursbrooklyn, trixie333, herring_RN, and 1 other like this.
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    By the way, never give up your right to a job. If you are involved in organizing a nursing home or hospital, and the non nurse organizer calls you and says everybody else will get a contract if you give up your right to the job, don't do it.

    I gave up my right to the position I held when I got 98% of the employees in a nursing home to sign a union card. Patients who could not eat without assistance were starving because of lack of staff. The administrater refused to buy air mattresses to prevent pressure ulcers. I was the minimum data set coordinator.

    INA wouldn't help. A non nursing organizer "helped", but was eventually not successful in getting the facility a contract. The facility owners just fired everybody and got away with it.

    The only union I know of that is actually run by nurses is the United American Nurses.
    trixie333 likes this.
  7. 2
    Florida is a right-to-work state. Our public hospital system(South Florida) is going bankrupt is now threatening to close down two of their 3 hospitals.

    The union is freaking out. That's 4300 people who will stop paying their dues.

    One of our physicians, sardonic humor that he has, stated, "Finally, this is the first time I've ever seen these people work without contacting their Union Rep about being "abused." They are finally working, at the end of everything...how ironic...."

    I am not a fan of unions. My hospital is NOT a union based one and we are thriving.
    PICUPNP and RN <>< like this.
  8. 0
    JoPACURN said, " My hospital is NOT a union based one and we are thriving".

    But are the nurses thriving and are the patients safe?
  9. 1
    As previous writers have stated, most unions are on the east or west coast, with a scattering in other states. Most, if not all of the south are Right to Work States, meaning, they can fire you with out reason. Southern hospitals are low paying, little education and alot of fear by new and old nurses.

    I have worked at both union and non union hospitals, and miss the support that a strong union can give their members. I has always amazed me that a profession, such as this, does not organize all of it's members, for the betterment of the profession.

    ANA, which is supposed to me for nurses is a sad joke. No support for rank and file. You have people speaking for nurses who haven't worked a floor in years, if they ever did.
    NurseGloria likes this.
  10. 0
    "......I has always amazed me that a profession, such as this, does not organize all of it's members, for the betterment of the profession."
    Having bee in nursing 40 years, I am not at all surprised! When I got my LPN in 1970 we were told the fight was on to make BSN required for entry level into nursing...and again in 1982 when I got my BSN..........and again, and again...If we can't make a decision on what entry level edcation should be we will never become organized and fightfor our profession! Thanks for all the replies to my original question.
  11. 1
    Quote from onetiredmomma
    "......I has always amazed me that a profession, such as this, does not organize all of it's members, for the betterment of the profession."
    Having bee in nursing 40 years, I am not at all surprised! When I got my LPN in 1970 we were told the fight was on to make BSN required for entry level into nursing...and again in 1982 when I got my BSN..........and again, and again...If we can't make a decision on what entry level edcation should be we will never become organized and fightfor our profession! Thanks for all the replies to my original question.
    The failure to organize - and the focus on issues like what the entry level should be - stem from the history and makeup of the nursing associations. The average bedside nurse has/had neither the time, energy, nor financial resources to become involved in the workings of a professional association. So the nurses who did get involved, who ran (and still run) the ANA and many of the state associations are the nurses who are no longer at the bedside: managers and academic nurses. Most of those have a different set of needs, imperatives and incentives than the nurse at the bedside caring for patients. So many of the state associations didn't get involved in collective action to raise the wellbeing of nurses, they just issued position papers about it and taught us that acting together to stand up for ourselves was "unprofessional".
    Back in the 90s the big fight was over de-skilling of nursing and our replacement with unlicensed personel. The hospital industry wanted to do it to save big bucks and the ANA was right on board with them - they told us it would be just fine to have a unit with a single nurse supervising a bunch of "care partners" or "patient care technicians" who did the actual care. Then, beginning with CNA in '93, the bedside nurses began to rise up and take control of the organizations themselves, a process that is still going on and that led to a wave of growth in nurse unionization. Right now about 20% of hospital nurses nationally are organized. Check back in 10 years and we'll see where it's gone.
    trixie333 likes this.


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