would you cross a picket line???? - page 8

Yesterday one of my nursing coworkers told me about some strike in OHIO and that she was going to take a travel assignment to that area..... I am totally happy where I am, but I was kinda wondering... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <When I have crossed picket lines I have always come with a high price tag and in a roundabout way what they are paying me, helps the unions and the nurses out.>

    No it does not. Dont even try to convince yourself that you are doing us a favor. If you need justification for what youre doing, you'll have to get another excuse because the hospital doesnt care how much of the taxpayer dollars it spends on you. Its not coming out of their own pockets.

    If the hospital cared anything at all about what you cost, they wouldnt be keeping us out on these 6 month strikes here. Obviously, paying strikebreakers exorbitant sums has not helped end a strike - having strikebreakers available only prolongs it. Most of your salary comes from taxpayer money & the hospital writes anything else off as a business loss so what do think youre really costing them? You are only costing the striking nurses their bargaining leverage.

    And thats a shame because while most nurses who work in hospitals are complaining about the unsafe & difficult working conditions & inadequate compensations everywhere, strikebreakers (who probably complain about the same things at their own hospitals) are actually preventing some nurses from getting those very things improved.

    There is no disguising the facts:

    If strikebreakers were not there, the hospital would face having to trim down services, move pts to other facilities, close units, stop surgeries, etc & THAT is money lost to them. THAT money is lost revenue & is the only money they care about. When they have no strikebreakers available & are faced with this, they are not so quick to walk out on negotiations & provoke a strike. They compromise & work harder to settle more favorably with the nurses - thus making acceptable improvements in the RNs working conditions, compensation (so the nurses who work there can also feed THEIR families), & satisfactorily addressing the RNs issues (like safe staffing & mandatory ot restrictions), as well as avoiding a strike . When strikebreakers are not available, the administrators are more apt to negotiate fairly to a solution with the nurses and avoid a strike (or end it in a few days) rather than saying to nurses "we are not negotiating further- theres the door - go ahead - we can replace you".

    When they have enough strikebreakers, they will continue to spend $$$$ indefinitely on them & keep you there in an effort to get their staff RNs to wear down. And this may force the nurses to let up on some of their demands for workplace improvements. In the end, the RNs may have to settle for far less than what they could have achieved had the hospital not had replacements & instead felt the pressure of needing their own nurses back on the job.

    That is how strikebreakers help the hospital - in no way do they help the nurses or the union.

    Why do you think replacement workers earned the name "strikebreakers" long ago. That part of their use hasnt changed. You keep the business going so it doesnt lose revenue & feels no pressure to deal with its own nurses anytime soon. You as an RN crossing another RNs strike line have to justify that to yourself but please dont think that you are in anyway helping the union or the striking RNs. All you are doing is helping the hospital put them out in the first place, keep them out longer, & refuse to deal with their issues.


    If all youre doing it for is the money, consider this - strike agencies pay the same as legitimate agencies for straight time. In order to make the exorbitant fees you speak of, you have to work many days in a row of 16 hr shifts or more - for the OVERTIME rate.

    If you think thats safe, work all those days in a row & all those hours of overtime per week thru a legitimate agency in hospitals that are not conducting an RN strike.

    You can earn the same exorbitant sum - without hurting other nurses in the process.

    There is no excuse for an RN to cross an RN strike line.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '02
  2. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    AND TOM

    If you're making big money (like your example of 10,000 a week by one strikebreaker) you have no nursing issues that pertain to the reason for striking.

    Benefits(not an issue, even self-pay is affordable and you could invest)
    Ratio(?) while the "cameras are rolling" so to speak, I would think you would have adequate staffing.
    Pay(naw, you don't have to worry about scratching out 9-13% raise over 3-5 years after sufferring on a picket line for 4 months while your jobs were filled by strike-breakers)

    Sure what do you care. That does make sense. I wouldn't want to let that go either once I had it. It was probably hard working for what you were getting with your experience and the benefits wern't going to take care of you or your family. Now that you laid it out there, I see it.

    Your not helping out nursing though. You can't make that pig fly.

    Your also right about me not having paid my dues yet, but when I do they will go directly in your bank account. Your bosses are paying my future to you in advance.

    Pretty shrewd
  3. by   -jt
    <while I support unions and what they are trying to do with some success. I will still cross the picket line for the right kind of money, .>

    This is a blatant contradiction & makes absolutely no sense. What the union RNs are trying to do would be a helluvalot easier, more effective & successful if there were no strikebreakers undermining our efforts. So how can you "support unions" at the same time youre a strikebreaker being used to help the hospital break the union nurses????

    Do you realize that if there were no interference from strikebreakers tilting the scale in the hospitals favor and undermining the striking union nurses bargaining power, the union nurses would have far more success?

    How can you "support" RNs unionizing and then turn right around & help the hospital try to break them? That sure is a heck of a way to show support.

    BTW, you said "Ive paid my dues".... In which union?
    The term came from early union workers & is what the concept of seniority is based on. Even the union worker vendors & deliverymen will support the nurses. They wont cross the RN strikeline even to bring in supplies - yet other RNs will.

    How sad is that?
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '02
  4. by   slinkeecat
    Well, thankyou for the replies to my post. I truly appreciate everyone's thoughts and comments regarding this issue...have a great day!!!!
  5. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Quote from Gomer

    My one and only point to you Peeps is that one can be non-union/anti-union and not be considered management or administration. There are "workers" in the world that don't want/need unions.
    Yup, like Tom. He's got cash, and I'll bet admin just kisses his a$$.
    Then they turn it around on the strike nurses and say " .all they want is more money"

    I have traveled to different hospitals in another capacity, "similar" to a nurses duties, so maybe I can turn those years in for some Greenstamps or something like Tom did there. I have never seen such a utopia as you speak of.

    Tell me about it Gomer. Do they just not care that they have short staff or mandatory overtime and a .25 cent raise once in a while(generalizing of course) because that's all I ever saw and that was about ten years ago, or do they get everything they want?

    Really,what's it like. I'm not "rattling" you cage as Tom would say. This is how people have a conversation and someone who doesn't know learns.

    Which one of us is going to learn today.
  6. by   -jt
    <But for the right money I will cross the line, and will continue to do so. Its called supporting my family the best that I can.>



    Lets put that in perspective:

    You can earn the same kind of money to support your family by working all those OT hrs in any legitimate agency at facilities that are not conducting an RN strike - and where you wouldnt be hurting other nurses in the process - but you choose to work them at places where RNs are on strike - and then call that "supporting my family".

    Sometimes the strike involves a demand for better wages & compensation for those RNs. The hospital can resist that if it has strikebreakers working. So, do you think its right for you to come in & help the RNs lose salary & compensation improvements that they need to support THEIR families, while you rake it in for your family - at the expense of these RNs?
    (and then say you "support" them???)

    There is enough work out there for you to work endlesslly for a couple of weeks at a hospital where the nurses are not on strike, like you would as a strikebreaker, & all the OT you rack up would bring you to the same salary. During strikes, agency recruiters even come to our strike lines with applications to sign the striking nurses up for their agencies for temp work. There is enough work for you to support your family without interferring with other RNs efforts to support their own.

    You can certainly support your family - and even earn those big bucks someplace else - without helping to bring down other RNs.

    There is no excuse for any RN to cross an RNs strike line.
  7. by   Gomer
    Peeps.... (I don't know if you were talking to Tom or me, but I'll respond to your short staff, mandatory overtime and a .25 cent raise question)

    1. Short staffing is a fact of life due to the fact we have a nursing shortage. (If there ain't any bodies, you ain't got no staff...no matter what you pay or if you have a union or not) We live with it and do our best either by using agency nurses or adding on support staff...and sometimes we close beds or the ER. Not a great answer to the problem, I know, but sometimes the only answer.

    2. Our hospital has never had mandatory OT and as long as our current VP/Nsg is here, we never will.

    3. Our last salary adjustment was....3% across the board increase (for all nurses), 4%-6% merit increase (depending on evaluation), 5% for longevity (over 15 years of employment), and another 5% for over 20 years employment. So, as of July 1 our nurses got between 7% to 19% increase. (I got 9% because I've only been here for 11 years...but I'm not complaining.)
  8. by   -jt
    Peeps - there are hospitals that are not union hospitals & that involve their RNs in the decision making that affects their practice, shares control with them, includes them policy making, values them & respects them & shows it, does not abuse them with mandatory ot, floating to unfamiliar areas, nor burdens them with unsafe & unmanageable pt laods. These hospitals also compensate the RNs well & provide high quality benefits. These are the things that RNs unionize to achieve, so if a hospital is already doing it, the RNs will have no need to unionize - until the administration takes it all away whenever it feels like it. Anyway, these hospitals have no shortages - in fact some of them have waiting lists of RNs who want to work for them - while all the other hospitals around them have shortages. These hospitals have no problem finding RNs to fill their staff positions because of their efforts at retention that I just listed above. These are called "best practices" and are the model for Magnet Award winning hospitals. So hes right. There are hospitals that are doing it right - if there were more of them, nurses wouldnt be bolting from the bedsides.

    But there is no shortage of nurses right now. 500,000 licensed nurses are out there & just not working in nursing because hospitals WONT do these things. If more of them did, alot of these nurses would come back to work & the "bodies" would be there - just as they are in the hospitals that have waiting lists of nurses who want to work at those Best-Practices facilities.

    There is no reason to just shrug our shoulders about short staffing & live with the staffing shortages. There is every reason to make a concerted effort to vastly improve the working conditions & entice some of the hundreds of thousands of non working RNs back.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '02
  9. by   fedupnurse
    There is a reason why people that cross picket lines are called scabs. That is exactly what is inflicted-deep long festering wounds. I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the delusional suits where I work are going to force us out again this fall. I say force because they simply refuse to negotiate. They are convinced that we are well staffed (110 OT spots per shift for 3 straight months now! and that is just on my unit) and don't seem to be counting the hundrerds of thousands that they are blowing out the window on Agency staff by not participating in good faith bargaining and by having no retention/recruitment incentives. They truly have their heads in the sand. I will vote yes just as I did 9 years ago and I will honor that line every day just like I did 9 years ago. This time I won't be as nice about it and neither will my colleagues.
    None of us here want to be forced away from the bedside. We all became nurses to help people throught the best and worst times of their lives. I wish I worked in a facility that had such great working conditions that we didn't need a union but there is no such animal within a 50 mile plus radius of where I live and there are tons of hospitals in my area.
    Words of advice: Don't be a patient or a nurse in a striking hospital in my neck of the woods. It's just a bad situation for all concerned.
    Tom, I agree with -jt and Peeps. There is no excuse for crossing any picket line. There are more honest and noble ways to make a buck rather than knifing a fellow professional in the back and enabling the suits to prolong the strike. Just my opinion. Having been there and done that strike wise, I can tell you proof positive that the scabs enabled our strike to last as long as it did. Had no one crossed for whatever lame excuse you want to dream up, our strike would have ended in a week or less.
  10. by   teeituptom
    Howdy yall
    from deep in the heart of texas

    Well jt and fedupnurse as for yall being hardcore union supporters fornursing thats fine. I respect that. But remember Im in Texas, and there is not an inkling of unionization for nurses here because the unions are unable to get even a toehold in this state as far as nursing goes, and they wont be able to in the forseeable future as this is a hardcore republican state, and george Bush and the good ole boys who run things and will continue to run things will not allow it to happen. But I do respect yalls choices in how to conduct your lives. This a Free country with freedom of choice.
    My choice seeing as unionization has no impact on me here in Texas is to do what is right for me. And I would expect the same courtesy from yall in supporting what my decisions are in regards to my beliefs. I will cross a picket line to line my pockets, and why shouldnt I. Again this is a free nation, rather capitalistic in nature but it is who we are. If I feel this is right for me then, so be it.
    I will respect your freedom of choice, please at least be courteous enough to respect my freedom of choice.
    And by the way let me know if these strikes are going to happen. I could use some extra money for christmas.

    love ya both and respect your beliefs.
    But this isnt history when coal miners were shot for striking in the past. this is now.
  11. by   teeituptom
    Howdy yall
    from deep in the heart of texas

    Jt, yes Ive paid my dues, not to a union but to the realities of life , to my family, and to my nation, and to society at large. And if you cant see where those are dues, how about when I served as a hospital corpsman in the military. Those all seem like dues to me. We all pay dues some each in our own way. I respect the dues you have paid, again, respect the dues I have paid in my own way.
  12. by   teeituptom
    Howdy yall
    from deep in the heart of texas.

    Well jt, you said to work OT in a facility to make extra money. I do that also. But there is one problem inherent in that. And that is they take more out in taxes as you go into a higher bracket.
    Now Im not against paying Taxes, but why should I pay more and penalize myself for working OT.

    Peeps. I was trying to think of something nice to say to you. But instead I will just ignore you. And that is the nicest way.
  13. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Dear Tom,

    You must realize that as a human being you have limitations set upon you by societal expectations of moral behavior. Persons within those moral boundries will expect that you join them in order to be counted as part of society.

    I've been thinking about you Tom. Please consider:

    Cognitive Dissonance:

    Leon Festinger (1957),
    refers to an individual's motivation to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) caused by two inconsistent thoughts. We might feel uneasy about a discrepancy that exists between our attitudes and our behavior. The absence for the internal justification for the difference between what we believe and what we do creates dissonance (Harmon-Jones & Mills, 1999), Psychology Santrock 2000.

    I think there is some dissonance your experiencing as can be evidenced by your effort to justify what you are doing outside of the moral boundries of society. Earning money is not a moral issue. You must consider what is, I'm not going to draw that line for you.

    "We justify the negative things we do in life. We need to convince ourselves that we are decent, reasonable human beings." and this is where I make a point I think will communicate what I see Tom, "We also have a strong need to justify the effort we put forth in life. We positively evaluate goals that require considerable effort.(in your case,security for your family from an honest, hard days work) Whether we reach the goals or not, we engage in the process of effort justification. The reasoning goes like this: If we work hard to attain a goal(pay our dues) but then evaluate that goal in a negative way,dissonance would occur. If we put forth considerable effort, yet still do not reach the goal, (an honest days wages) how could we reduce the dissonance? We could convince ourselves that we did not work as hard as we actually did, or we could say that the goal was not all that important in the first place." Santrock (2000).


    I believe that your goal in the begining was to just be a great nurse, and earn a secure living for your family, while promoting the profession with your expertise and work ethic. I think you believed that(as we all did at one time) you would work your way up and someday earn the respect and wages you deserved.............and when that didn't happen within an acceptable time in your career moral structure started to collapse against the pressure of constant effort justification............. or rather dissonance.



    "Our most intense justifications of our actions take place when our self-essteem is involved" (Aronson, 1999)

    Anyone that knows me will tell you that I don't take to psychology much, but when I read this I was so encouraged by what it said that I just had to share the insight.

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