should nurses be unionized, if so who should represent them? - page 2

Should nurses be unionized? If so, who should represent them? :confused:... Read More

  1. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from tavalon
    In my opinion, one of the characteristics of a profession (and the professional people that make up the profession) is the ability to come together and identify common issues that are important to the profession as a whole, to unify and take meaningful action to ensure the survival and advancement of the profession. This does not usually involve a union. Unions are for (forgive me if I offend anyone) skilled workers that are usually paid by the hour and are not able to rally themselves together, exert their influence, and bring about change. The question we should ask ourselves is not if we should become unionized, but rather, are we really a profession.





    And there you go. We pretend we are a profession. We pretend we are white collar professionals. Physicians are professionals. We are not. I think we should be able to take on that mantle but we consistently shoot ourselves in our collective foot. We need unions because we are so far oppressed that we can't stand together. One day maybe we'll get our collective act together but in the meantime. Lets unionize and stop pretending that we are what we so obviously are not.
    tavalon, I agree with you so completely, I do not need to write a response to the OP, as you have stated exactly what I believe.
  2. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    tavalon, I agree with you so completely, I do not need to write a response to the OP, as you have stated exactly what I believe.
    DITTO for me too!
    We can't even get our act together closely enough to want a single entity to represent us as we strive for independence.
    I read in a post that the ANA is the union for RNs. What about the rest of us?
    As long as nurses do not stand together, nobody will take us seriously!

    For the other professions to recognize us as professionals we first need to stand together. Once we can stand together and support one another then and only then will we have a chance.
  3. by   ADNCyn
    We have a such a highly proficient group of people in this profession, skilled workers, etc... Call me me what you want, don't call me too late to come eat LOL. I take the offense off the defense and leave the rest to the pretense.
  4. by   explorer
    Quote from cheerfuldoer
    Uhhhh...I say "YES!" to your question, and I should represent them.
    At the Kansas City VA the RNS have their union and the Health Techs and LPNS have their union and it seems to work fairly well when you need Union Representation.
    If you don't have the union when there is a problem, you are on your own against the organization.
    Last edit by explorer on Jul 5, '04 : Reason: I had some more thoughts about the subject.
  5. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from explorer
    At the Kansas City VA the RNS have their union and the Health Techs and LPNS have their union and it seems to work fairly well when you need Union Representation.
    If you don't have the union when there is a problem, you are on your own against the organization.
    I haven't been a big union suporter for a long time now, but many nurses feel we should be unionized. I won't argue that point here. What's important here is that if nurses are going to be unionized, that union should represent all nurses in the facility.
    LPNs and RNs should demand ALL nurses be represented together. This is how nurses begin coming together. What if you strike? Years ago when I worked at a university hospital the RNs, represented by the ANA, went on strike. LPNs and management did a great job of holding the place together. Yes, a lot of elective procedures were put off or done elsewhere because we simply did not have enough staff. But, the pts that had to be there received great care and and this lessened the effect of the RNS strike. The hospital was hurting no doubt because of the lowered census but imagine how much better it would have been if ALL the nurses walked!
    That's my point. Nurses, in general should demand all nurses be in the same union. Keeping us apart at the bargaining table is just another tool the facility can use to maintain an upper hand and thus prevent us from ever reaching the common goal. For nursing to be considered a profession.

    As far as having a problem, well, I've neve had one with any facility or agency for that matter I've worked at.
  6. by   Destinystar
    United We STAND. Divided We Fall. Unions are formal organizations. You should call one and find out what they are about. In California many moons ago employers used to call all RN's supervisors thinking it would disqualify them from Unionizing. I complained against a large company to the NLRB because they told me I could not form a union, my complaint was the straw that broke the camels back and the NLRB turned it into a Class Action law suit. It was determined I was not a supervisor and neither were a lot of RN's who tried to form unions and were illegally prevented by employers to form unions. A land mark decision was made that RN's could unionize as a result of my complaint and many others. If you think these big corporations are representing you. GUESS AGAIN.
    Quote from clint
    Should nurses be unionized? If so, who should represent them?
  7. by   bluesky
    Quote from RN4NICU
    Anyone ever hear of the Screen Actors Guild??

    Unions are not just for Joe Shmoe at the factory. People who make a lot more money than us are unionized. At 2.7 million strong, I think our voice could be heard. Docs may not be unionized, but they have a lot of lobby power in the American Medical Association. If ANA had as strong a presence and was as active for its members, perhaps nurses would be heard (if we could ever agree on anything, that is).
    AND, people seem to forget that most doctors work for themselves. They don't have to worry about fighting for their rights and good contracts because they control the affairs of their own offices.

    Nurses have been organizing in professional organizations since the occupation began and these haven't been able to profoundly influence policy OR the working conditions of nurses. It is my belief that in a profit driven system, administrative powers will always act to exploit workers. Like it or not, nurses are workers. I am not ashamed of this. I am proud to be part of a tradition (labor movement) that brought you the weekend, overtime pay, the ADA and MANY more. Those factory workers that you have so much contempt for built this country with their sweat and tears and I am proud to follow in their tradition.

    Please note that the "you" in this post is not directed to any one person.
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Destinystar
    United We STAND. Divided We Fall. Unions are formal organizations. You should call one and find out what they are about. In California many moons ago employers used to call all RN's supervisors thinking it would disqualify them from Unionizing. I complained against a large company to the NLRB because they told me I could not form a union, my complaint was the straw that broke the camels back and the NLRB turned it into a Class Action law suit. It was determined I was not a supervisor and neither were a lot of RN's who tried to form unions and were illegally prevented by employers to form unions. A land mark decision was made that RN's could unionize as a result of my complaint and many others. If you think these big corporations are representing you. GUESS AGAIN.
    WooHoo!

    You go, DestinyStar!

    Thank you!
  9. by   RN34TX
    [QUOTE=Quickbeam]This isn't an emotion filled topic for me but I have seen both sides of nursing. I worked for 15 years in non-unionized nursing settings. It seemed like everyone I knew got "special deals", rules were only for those without connections and it just so happened that the close friends of the manager never worked Christmas or other holidays. /QUOTE]


    I too worked both union and non-union and completely agree with what you said about being the manager's friend and getting scheduling deals, etc.
    When I worked union up north I was an LPN. I offered to work Christmas for the double pay and the contracts stated a certain number of RN's and LPN's on each shift (the "Grid"). Staffing ignored my request and gave my shift to an RN. They ended up having to pay my Christmas double time anyway because they already had enough RN's and the opening was for an LPN and if an LPN wanted to work you could not give the shift to an RN and vise-versa.

    Honestly, that was the only time I felt that being unionized was to my advantage. I'm not strongly for or against but this is what I saw during my union times up north:
    1. The Grid: I worked on a step-down respiratory vent unit. If we had too many LPN's on a shift to meet the grid standards, we had to float a vent-trained LPN and received an RN often from Rehab or psych who's skills obviously did not match our unit and never took care of a vent patient in their life. We could thank the RN's union for that one.
    2. RN's and LPN's were represented by two different unions. Someone else earlier stated that they should be represented by the same union and I agree with that because I believe that this caused many rifts and for RN's and LPN's not to work together as it should be. The RN union had the LPN scope of practice so narrow that I wasn't even allowed to start IV's, touch central lines, or insert NG tubes. They would tell tales at their meetings that if LPN's were allowed to do those things that RN jobs would become eliminated. Talk about paranoia!!
    I now work in Texas as an RN and LVN's do just about everything down here as it should be. RN jobs were not eliminated and never will be. You can't run a hospital without RN's, period.
    3. I saw the union protect the lazy, mediocre, barely meeting minimum standards worker and you can never get rid of them. You could complain about someone who was always cranky, difficult to work with, bad attitude, or never would help out when someone else got slammed and spent most of their time in the break room or off the unit. There were many burned out nurses with bad attitudes who had been there for many years and knew that they couldn't be touched if anyone dared to complain about them.

    I understand why people want to unionize. I have worked under outright evil administration who ruined people's careers and lives with false BON reportings and the dreaded Texas plague known as "Group One" where an employer can literally run you out of town.
    I do believe that a union might be helpful in protecting us but I would never want it to be the way it was when I worked up north and I'm not sure how it could be different.
  10. by   purplemania
    Unions are for factory workers. I want to be considered a professional nurse, not just a warm body. I see unions are causing a chasm between management and staff, instead of working together to resolve issues.
  11. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from purplemania
    Unions are for factory workers. I want to be considered a professional nurse, not just a warm body. I see unions are causing a chasm between management and staff, instead of working together to resolve issues.
    There is already a chasm between management and staff. The unions did not cause it (as evidenced by its presence in non-union facilities). Greedy administrators who couldn't give less of a flip about the patients or the nurses caused it. Are you truly being treated as a professional when you are expected to just bend over and take whatever management decides to give you?
  12. by   RNPATL
    Quote from RN4NICU
    There is already a chasm between management and staff. The unions did not cause it (as evidenced by its presence in non-union facilities). Greedy administrators who couldn't give less of a flip about the patients or the nurses caused it. Are you truly being treated as a professional when you are expected to just bend over and take whatever management decides to give you?
    I have to agree with you that unions have not caused a chasm between staff and management, I think management can take credit for that all on their own. There have been few, if any, hospital systems I have worked for where management really had the interest of their nurses at heart. The majority of places are concerned about the bottom line. It is very important for nurses to have a unified voice and a collective agreement that fairly represents them to management. Up until I joined the VA, I had never been involved in the union, but I do see its benefits and believe it is a good thing for nurses to do. Even though we do not have strike power, the fact that someone is representing your interests makes it worth while.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from purplemania
    Unions are for factory workers. I want to be considered a professional nurse, not just a warm body. I see unions are causing a chasm between management and staff, instead of working together to resolve issues.
    That would depend upon where you work. I was never a union girl til I saw for myself what good can come.....Actually since becoming unionized, things at my hospital have improved vastly. Pay, respect, it all improved. I am in awe of what unionization did for the nurses there. It was positive, after things were worked out initially, for all involved, admin, managers and the nurses. At least in our case, the union IMPROVED relations among us, patching HUGE divisions and soothing anger on the parts of nurses who had just shortly in the past, been abused outrageously.

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