should nurses be unionized, if so who should represent them? - page 3

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

  1. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    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.
    Funny, the way I see it, managment created the chasm between managment and nursing.

    I would love to be able to join a union. If I ever get the opportunity, I will jump at it.

    Unions would not exist if workers were treated fairly.
    They did not evolve in a vacuum.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Jul 6, '04
  2. by   melsch
    Coming from Canada where most nurses are unionized I definitly see the benifit in a union. We also belong to a professional organization (regulating body) and have to in order to maintain our registration. Our professional organization (RNABC in British Columbia) tells us what standards we need to meet in order to continue to practice, but don't do anything for our working conditions or wages etc.

    Our union is the body that fights for our working conditions and as far as I can see it is better at bargining for our patient welfare than RNABC. RNABC seems to be good at setting the guidelines but if the employers don't think that they have the funding etc to carry out the guidelines we just have to try to meet our standards with the staffing we have etc. Our union goes to bat for us in order to make our jobs competitive in a global market so we can attract new RNs to the province and be able to meet the standards that RNABC sets out. I am trying to explain how we can be both professional and unionized.

    I used to be anti-union, (came from a family who worked for a non-union company, that treated the staff like gold and they didn't need to unionize), but started working for a health authority (hospital) who are trying to stay within budget and would cut back on those who provide frontline care in order to keep the six figure saleries of the upper managment, giving them bonuses if they stay within budget etc.

    Due to the nature and history of healthcare I strongly believe we need to have a union, as nurses we have been treated like handmaids to the doctors for years and without our unions I believe we would still be seen as such. We have organized to bring our voices together to let the public know what our jobs are and what we really do, and to let the public know that we are professionals and deserve the respect and working conditions that we have fought for. I do not agree that we ever need to be violent in order to get this message across. I do believe we need to maintain a professional image while fighiting for our contracts or we do more damage to our image than good. Our unions have failed us at times in the need to educate the public rather than look like we are just being greedy.

    Right now we are renegotiating our contract, not for better wages, most of us agree we are well paid, but for better woking condititions, flexable schedules, etc. I hope that this time the media and union can get the message out to the public that we are fighting in order to provide better care to our patients and not just trying to make more money.

    Sorry this got so long.

    Melodie
  3. by   husker-nurse
    I said it once, but it bears repeating; the world needs factory workers and laborers. Do you not spend most of your work day "laboring" as a Nurse? I know I do! As unions are the only way to unite at present, I will pay my dues, gladly, if it makes life at the workplace better for all of us. "united we stand"........
  4. by   hipab4hands
    Quote from clint
    Should nurses be unionized? If so, who should represent them?
    I would love to be able to work in a hospital/medical office, where my skills were appreciated and I was compensated appropriately.

    Unfortunately, in today's health care system, it is not going to happen. The hospitals and even medical offices, are still trying to get the cheapest labor possible. i.e. bring in foreign nurses and pay them about half of what the rest of us make.

    The last non union place I worked for had 6 physicians working together in a medical group. I was paid about 50% less than hospital nurses, I worked 12 hr shifts, and floated between all 6 docs. I didn't get vacation time off, because there was not enough staff/. In addition, because of the high cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had to work a 2nd job on weekends. I had to listen to the complaints of doctors, because I couldn't work a full Saturday schedule, since I had to go to my other job. I explained that if I was paid appropriately, then there would be no need for me to work a 2 nd job. ( They then offered me a whole 50 cents an hour raise after working for them for 2 years.)

    The reality is that if we want to be paid appropriately, we need the power of an Union to negotiate on our behalf, otherwise, the hospitals would be more than happy to pay us miniumum wage, if they could get away with it.
  5. by   bluesky
    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?
    Unions don't always have the chasm effect. At my hospital, the nurses booted out the AFL-CIO, started our own union, and obtained our best contract ever by consensus negotiation. It's funny I was smoking in the gazebo once and this nice lady who also smokes came out and we did the intros and she was the one who represented the hospital for labor relations so (without telling her I was a union broad all the way baby) I asked her about the process and representing the hospital and she wholeheartedly supported the union and praised them for working with management. You know it doesn't always have to be a contentious relationship.

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