nursing unions --- anybody belong to one?

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    I am a student nurse about to enter my senior year after this grueling summer of ob and peds. during a nursing issues lecture we discussed how Duke University is considering a nursing union. Nursing unions are new to the south. Does anyone have first hand info. on the pros and cons of them? I love the south and the north, but will be residing in the south and entering my nursing career here. So much to think about.... unions, employee retention, nursing shortages, mandatory overtime in my local hospital.... etc.... Makes me want to stay a student for awhile.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

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    Originally posted by nursling2001:
    I am a student nurse about to enter my senior year after this grueling summer of ob and peds. during a nursing issues lecture we discussed how Duke University is considering a nursing union. Nursing unions are new to the south. Does anyone have first hand info. on the pros and cons of them? I love the south and the north, but will be residing in the south and entering my nursing career here. So much to think about.... unions, employee retention, nursing shortages, mandatory overtime in my local hospital.... etc.... Makes me want to stay a student for awhile.
    Actually, the union considered is a non-nursing union. The current issue of TarHeel Nurse presents an interesting perspective from both sides of the issue from two nurses who are employed there. I would encourage you as a senior (especially) to become involved in your nursing future, including membership in your professional nursing organization, NCNA. I have also been a member of NYSNA and INA, both of which have a collective bargaining arm, and I come from a family where one parent was union and the other was not.
    If an employer treats employees fairly, listens to them, gives a good wage for work performed, and otherwise adequately compensates them, a union will not be voted in. My comments are way too simple for such an important issue, but you owe it to yourself to become knowledgeable. You will hear a great deal during the next few months and probably in other posts. Become aware.
    Good luck in your senior year; the worst times are behind you

    [This message has been edited by maikranz (edited July 18, 2000).]
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    Our hospital is union. I belong, but don't really do much with it. You don't hear much from them most of the time, but recently an issue came up. Staffing is poor as it is in many places, so admin decided they were going to institute a policy that everyone had to pick up one extra shift per pay period. The union stepped in and told them uh-uh, no way. They have apparently done this at other hospitals in the area that are non-union, but aren't able to do it to us, thank heaven.
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    I have never belonged to a union. Rumor has it that in states that have them in hospitals reveal the ability to fire a nurse for personal reasons of the manager would be violation of the nurse rights. the comment about mandatory overtime and understaffing would be addressed, I suspect, in a more fair manner. In Florida if you are in the "loop" and a manager who keeps the numbers on the grid in the envelope you have a steady job - if you have patient safety and care as your top priority - you will not stay long. At this point I don't think unions would be any worse - but Fla needs a larger one than the food service union - for professional RNS

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    We are in a unionized hospital. There are pros and cons to this issue. The cons are that individuals do not necessarily keep their voice after unions become the gatekeepers to the contractual agreements. Remember that they are a business entity and their goal is membership and dues and to make themselves look good. The pros are that contracts offer protection and usually mean that pay and benefits are improved. Agreements also are in black and white, which means that everyone should be treated the same. Our contracts put a Professional Practice team and a Labor/Management committee in place, where some exciting work is being done. No one feels as if their job is in jeopardy. If anything, it is harder to get rid of a poor performer once union protection is in place. If you are looking for a union, SEIU is the union of choice for the professional RN's. Our wages go from $15-27 an hour and diffs are $4/hr on weekends, 2.25 on eves and 3.50 on nights. We also have CE funds and low census protection language. The nurses in the hospital where I work are happy generally with their benefits and work environment. We too are experiencing shortages and are currently working on improving internal problems to keep staff happy and motivated.
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    I helped start a union...you may email me!

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  8. 0
    Originally posted by nursling2001:
    <STRONG>I am a student nurse about to enter my senior year after this grueling summer of ob and peds. during a nursing issues lecture we discussed how Duke University is considering a nursing union. Nursing unions are new to the south. Does anyone have first hand info. on the pros and cons of them? I love the south and the north, but will be residing in the south and entering my nursing career here. So much to think about.... unions, employee retention, nursing shortages, mandatory overtime in my local hospital.... etc.... Makes me want to stay a student for awhile. </STRONG>
    I have worked in management, been a union member and worked as a union representative. The unions which do the best are the ones with the most active membership (not the largest membership) . A union with 500 members with fifty active participating members is not strong when compared to a union with 300 members and 150 actively participating. The leadership of your local in-house union is the key to union success. It is not the national leaders and their association that effect change at your local hospital. They are to effect national or state change. They will not throw the weight of their membership into your issue if it does not have a positive effect overall. No fault of their own, they do represent a larger base.

    I worked at one place where the most active members and the leadership was comprised of 4 ICU nurses. If it wasn't an ICU problem, it wasn't a union problem.

    In short, it is not the union, it is the local leadership in the union. Ask these questions?
    Who are the local union leaders?
    Are they good leaders?
    How active is the membership?
    How is the leadership divided?
    Are they all from ICU or are they dispersed along service lines i.e. ICU, Med-Surg, Surg, L&D, etc.?
    Is this a nursing union or a branch of a national labor union?
    As to the pros and cons? It depends if you work for management or staff. Good luck
  9. 0
    First off, congrats on making it this far in your schooling
    I am in Canada where all nurses are in provincial unions (we have provinces, not states). I worked in the US at a non-union hospital and I am NEVER doing that again. Unions can be a pain because promotions are often based on seniority and the nurses that are useless are hard to get rid of, but the benefits far outweigh the downsides for me. I do not have to work overtime, the hospital can't force me to return to work on any vacation time they granted, etc. Most importantly the union is an avenue for nurses to adress their concerns with the hospital and how it is being run. There is a lot of power in being unionized if the other members are active.
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    the hospital i work for has 3 different unions, one for the RN's, One for the LPN's and one for everyone else.I sure like the idea the union is there for me-to lobby and keep my best interest up front. I have worked in both union and non-union. I will take unionization over the other anyday.
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    Here in Australia, we have a choice whether to join the nursing union. Each state has one, and while I am a member, there are a lot of nurses who would not join. The only reason I joined was incase of problems and legal reasons, as they will represent you in court, if the need arises, and it is free


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