What is wrong with unionizing?

  1. All,

    It would seem that a union,with its power of cohesiveness to the issues,would be the only thing that a corporation would HAVE to listen to. The contract would HAVE to be honored.

    Forming commities and filling complaints is NEVER going to have the impact that a national union would. The idea of having a national walk-out will only serve to get your license taken away and have you out of a job for the rest of your life BUT if there was a union sanction behind it with guidelines to be followed it would be in a signed document called a contract and you would have just cause for failure of performance of that contract.

    Without a legal document, why should they treat us well. They have it just the way they want it. Any action that's not in a legal document THAT HAS POWER is just a smokescreen to keep it the way they want.

    It just seems so logical to me.
    I have no experience of having been in a union so maybe if someone could tell me...........

    WHY NOT.
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on Jun 19, '02
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  2. 52 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Because a lot of people do not like unions. Either they think that unions protect the bad, lazy nurses or they think they can strike a better deal for themselves or they see unions as too blue collar or they think that union=strike and they believe nurses shouldn't strike or whatever. Personally, I will not work in a non-unionized environment again. Been there, done that.
  4. by   kewlnurse
    Just because you have a union doesn't mean they don't still treat you like crap. Some unions are extremely weak, some are extremely strong. I have worked in union and non union positions in a heavy union area, when I do eventually move I will seek out a non union hospital.
  5. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    What are signs of a weak union versus a strong one that someone can avoid while considering employment?

    Obviousely a weak union is ineffective and there's a little more exposure for speaking out, but the alternative is having no say at all after you accept the terms under which you were hired. I mean that admin can just change it all to suit them, can't they?

    Anyway,
    What can I do once I'm ready to go to work to assure me that the union I'm considering is strong VS weak?
  6. by   RN_MOM4
    HI I haven't spoken much on the board since i came here. But i can let you know what is happening to my city which i am leaving.
    I found a job in a non union hosptial. We have a factory right now that makes 26 hr and +++++ benifits in order for the factory to keep running they need to take a 4 dollar paycut and lose a few benifits not all. They won't they went on strike and now they factory has told them that if they don't cut some corners they will shut down the factory. I agree there was a time and a place for unions.
    But i would rather have a job and no union then a union and no job.

    My 2 cents worth i know alot of people won't agree

    Thanks for listening
  7. by   I1tobern
    I'm from the south. Unions are not very highly thought of around here. But, the negative feelings about the union have a lot to do with how they are portrayed in the media. Just remember a union is only as strong as its weakest member.
  8. by   -jt
    <Anyway,
    What can I do once I'm ready to go to work to assure me that the union I'm considering is strong VS weak?>

    -Go to the cafeteria at lunch time, seek out nurses, tell them you are considering employment there & ask them how they feel about their union representation.

    -At your interview, ask which union represents the nurses - then do a search online when you get home. Go to the unions website & see exactly how the organization works, what its accomplishments are, & what its members are doing.

    -The union is whoever its members are. If youre an RN but the union is not an RN-exclusive union (representing many other categories of workers), notice how much attention the RN & her issues is given on their webpage - may be indicative of how responsive that organization is to the RNs needs & how successful it is for nurses.

    -Remember that healthcare facilities are not like factories. The whole system is different - a union workers demands may cause the factory owner to close down & move operations to avoid it but a hospital cant do that. They must negotiate with the union. They cannot just go out of business. In addition, in my union, we have contract language that guarantees No Layoffs & also language that specifically states that if our hospital consolidates with another, merges, moves, is sold, changes entities (closes & re-opens as something else), or otherwise changes names, our RN staff goes with it. Unless the RN herself chooses not to.

    -Any union is only as strong as its members. If you are a nurse, you will want to have a union that represents a good number of nurses & is on the ball about nurses issues. A simple search for info & talking to the nurses who work there can give you a good idea about how the union you are looking at is doing in that regard.
  9. by   fedupnurse
    I am union and I walked, make that slid, on a picket line for 98 days thru 16 ice storms, countless Nor'Easters and I honestly couldn't tell you how many snow storms (we haven't had a bad winter since, go figure!). I agree, a union is only as strong as its' weakest member. I agree that it doesn't guarantee a great working environment. People unionize because they aren't being treated fairly, not when things in their workplace are good. Our suits make sure it is a constant battle to protect our contract. I happen to be very active and watch the management of my unit like a hawk because I know they will do whatever they want irregardless of the contract. Their attitude is "grieve it". We do. The suits give them a slap on the wrist and the problems sometimes go away and sometimes they stay until we threaten an unfair labor practice type grievance and then they listen only because they can lose their prescious Magnet award designation. Our Union represents other hospitals and they have better contracts for 2 reasons:stronger members and suits who are willing to negotiate. We have to fight for every little tiny thing. Our sister hospitals aren't unionized and we have it great compared to them. As Peeps said, we have a contract to fall back on, we can grieve it. Non-union can only complain and hope something changes. The usual answer to people at the other hospitals that complain is "if you don't like it leave." Believe that? During a nursing shortage?!?!?! It happens all the time. If I were to go to another hospital with an administrative group like the one where I am now, I would NEVER consider even a better paying job unless it was union. Our suits couldn't care less about any employee or any patient. Their motto: Profits before Patients. Do I ever want to strike again? Absolutely not, but I would if that was what was required by the circumstances.
  10. by   OrthoNutter
    Nothing is wrong with unions but some are really weak and don't have much pull as a lobby group with the government. My union is okay but they are pretty week compared to the VIC Nurse's Union. Mine always seems to back down on their proposals but this time it looks like they might actually follow through for EB5. First strike for my hospital is today and thank god I'm on holidays because knowing my luck, I'd be one of the poor suckers that'd be nominated to stay on the ward as skeleton crew.
  11. by   shay
    Nothing's wrong with them.
  12. by   HRHNurse Carol
    I worked staff non-union and staff union. I prefer union, even now that I am management. The Nurse's Association represents RNs where I work. As management I am not union, but all enjoy the results- better pay, benefits. Of course it's not perfect. But I oh so much believe in the process, and that is what makes a union worth it. Some managers are not honest and some allow their personal feelings about someone or something to color their judgement, whether they are aware of it or not. The process, although also not perfect, cuts thru all that to the truth. It is not true that a bad nurse can get off by having a union. The nurse will be represented, but if the manager had a good case, properly investigated and presented then management will win. Then, the object of the process is that the punishment fits the crime. I have seen very bad errors result in immediate termination. Most times though it is a progressive process that gives the nurse a chance to learn and to change. If they do not, they will eventually be terminated. It is a lot of work for a manager to do this correctly and it should be. I am not real crazy about discipline to begin with and certainly don't like knee-jerk discipline. Mostly I prefer to educate and motivate. That is, in the process, considered a counseling, and is not considered a discipline. If the problem continues then it wasn't successful and discipline begins. I worry that it was my education/motivation that failed, but I have to at some point trust in the process. Of course it would be better to not need a union to have this process in place, but it isn't allnurses hospital or some other utopia that we work at, is it? Peace.
  13. by   -jt
    <<The nurse will be represented, but if the manager had a good case, properly investigated and presented then management will win. Then, the object of the process is that the punishment fits the crime..........Most times though it is a progressive process that gives the nurse a chance to learn and to change. If they do not, they will eventually be terminated. It is a lot of work for a manager to do this correctly and it should be. I am not real crazy about discipline to begin with and certainly don't like knee-jerk discipline. Mostly I prefer to educate and motivate.>>

    Hats off to you, Carol. An enlightened, progressive, supportive manager is hard to come by. In all the years that I have been a nurse, only the manager I have now seems to have the same management perspective as you. If only they all had to go thru a course given by you in order to be managers, this might be a better world for nurses. Still I dont see them as the enemy - they too can benefit from education of the staffs point of view. We are fortunate to have a manager who is willing to do that. But our DON - the one who likes to say "Nurse, you FAILED when you.... & this is your punishment" - is another story.
  14. by   -jt
    <It would seem that a union,with its power of cohesiveness to the issues,would be the only thing that a corporation would HAVE to listen to. The contract would HAVE to be honored.>


    yes. see the thread titled "WE WON!" in the General Discussion section. The last paragraph says it all.

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