Defend RNs Right to Unionize, and Advocate for our Patients - page 3

300 Nurses from across the country converge in Chicago Tuesday to Defend RNs Right to Unionize, and Advocate for our Patients... Read More

  1. by   pianaplayernurse
    Thanks you for your elegance. I only disagree with one thing you said. CNA is not an advocate for nurses!! They let SEIU do all the work of organizing a hospital, then step in at the last minute, make themselves look good, and don't leave enough time for the nurses to figure out that they are not on their side. The CNA forms bonds with administration that completely undoes the staff's ability to use the union for positive change.
  2. by   stephrnmedsurg123456
    in answer to wtbcrna's post that only in california are there ratios, i found something to the contrary on the daily kos showing other laws union nurses have passed that improve staffing:

    florida: seiu healthcare florida nurses are leading a coordinated campaign to pass the patients right to know act. the campaign has seen a constant flow of nurses lobbying, roundtables with cosponsors, making progress, building relationships and building awareness on staffing and mot at the same time.
    pennsylvania: 2008 seiu healthcare pennsylvania nurses leading on aggressive lobbying and a strong media campaign to vote ban on mandatory overtime out of committee.
    washington: 2008 seiu 1199nw nurses out in front on passing legislation which requires bedside nurses at staffing decision-making tables; reporting by hospitals of actual staffing and nursing sensitive indicators; and whistleblower protection.
    2007 legislation puts bedside nurses at safe patient handling decision-making tables to set policies; mandates lifting equipment and staff training; gives hospitals a tax credit for purchase of lifting equipment.

    by seiu on wed mar 12, 2008 at 02:32:34 pm pdt
    [ parent ]
  3. by   RN Power Ohio
    Quote from stephrnmedsurg123456
    In answer to wtbcrna's post that only in California are there ratios, I found something to the contrary on the Daily Kos showing other laws union nurses have passed that improve staffing:

    All of these SEIU activities are wonderful things. I will address staffing specifically. There is a difference between the committee approach for safe staffing and the mandate approach. It is highly controversial among nurses. I do not agree with the committee approach because there is too much wiggle room for the employer and no accountability. It is clear that these committee laws are ineffective in the states they have been passed in. The approach is similar to the requirements for Magnet. I don't know about you but I have worked at Magnet hospitals that were dangerously staffed.

    SEIU supports the "industry legislation" when it comes to staffing both in the states and at the national level.

    I guess it really comes down to how much "good faith" you think the hospital industry will have when it comes to these bills.

    It is true that the only 2 places in the world with minimum mandated staffing are Victoria, Australia and California, US.

    I wish more RN's felt free to discuss these issues in their workplace.
  4. by   stephrnmedsurg123456
    I have heard really mixed things about the CA ratios from travelling nurses who have worked there. Yeah, many hospitals have the appropriate number of nurses now, but support staff has been cut in many places leaving nurses to do non-nursing work and/or lots of mandation. Anyway, the fact that CNA and other groups have been working for ratios state by state for years and have not achieved them anywhere outside of California suggests to me that these other efforts may be more worthwhile.

    As for the comment about ratios being less flexible, somebody still needs to enforce them. None of these laws mean anything if direct care nurses are not organized in each and every hospital to enforce them when and where it matters.
  5. by   bluesky
    Quote from wtbcrna
    If you would take the time to go back and look at the problems that unions have caused in the U.S. as well as helped you would understand where that comment comes from. At what point is there enough benefits...? There are thousands of out of work people because their unions basically put them out of job. I am for cutting any CEOs salary, but over a large hospital system with thousands of nurses how far do really think that will go?
    If you don't care if the hospital system goes bankrupt why not just go find a new job now, and what will happen to your pension if the hospital goes bankrupt?
    Please feel free to list any healthcare organizations that have closed related to union activity. Please also present your evidence of such a causal relationship.

  6. by   micurn55
    I wish we had more union hospitals in Ohio. Almost the only way to make real money here as a nurse is to work agency. My observation is that the benefits are getting really bad too. HOw long before smokers and "overweight" people can not get any healthcare benefits at all working at a hospital?
  7. by   Chico David RN
    What has historically driven jobs out of this country more than anything else is the development of a piratical business ethic in which no amount of profit is ever "enough". And unfortunately, in a business model, profit driven healthcare system, even the non-profit hospitals tend to act like sharks, with little regard for either their patients or their workers.

    Here's my basic take on unions in nursing:
    The defining characteristic of a profession is that a profession sets its own standards for practice.
    The defining characteristic of nursing as a profession is our obligation and calling to act as patient advocates.

    Try doing either of those as a lone nurse when what you believe is right seriously conflicts with your employers imperative to make money. You'll get the opportunity to find a new job real soon.

    We can only set our own practice standards and act as effective patient advocates when we do it in concert with other nurses. And the more nurses do it together, the better we are.

    The most professional act a nurse can do is to join together with other nurses to assert their control of their profession.

    The hospital you work for is almost certainly a member of both state and national hospital associations. Their dues to belong run to the tens or hundreds of thousands. They think it's a good investment because they know that there is power in numbers.

    The CEO and other senior managers at your hospital almost certainly have written contracts setting the terms of their employment. Those contracts likely guarantee them generous severence if they are fired. But without a union, almost anywhere in the US you are an "at will" employee with no rights whatsoever except for a few forms of banned discrimination.

    Most Americans suffer from the illusion that the law somehow protects them against gross unfairness at work. But it doesn't. You can't be fired because of your race or gender or age. But guess what: it's perfectly legal to fire you for absolutely no reason at all.

    Whew. Once I get going, it's hard to stop. Enough for now.

    Oh and one last thing: a union, at least a good union, is not "just another business" The union staff make decent salaries, but they work damn hard for it. The decisions are made by member leaders who mostly donate their time (I'm one of them in my union). Nobody makes a profit and the money all goes back to the cause of winning better contracts, organizing more nurses and building the power to make a better healthcare system where the needs of patients and those who care for them take precedence over the bottom line.
    Last edit by Chico David RN on Mar 23, '08
  8. by   Alex_RN2b09
    You're in luck everyone!

    I want to go into federal policy and represent nurses on a national level in Washington. Reading all the debate on this forum is wonderful it's great to see people being politically aware and expressing their opinions. Nursing contains a very diverse group of people, I want to help solidify that group into a powerful force for change and reform. I just wanted to let you know there may be some hope for the future, so don't give up just yet!

    -A young and idealistic student
  9. by   RN Power Ohio

    Keep your ideals! Don't let anyone tell you they are niave, silly or far-fetched. Then you will be a great advocate. Can't wait for you to get in there and do your thing!
  10. by   StopForeignNurses
    Kindred Healthcare (Harborlights Nursing and Rehab Center) in South Boston is notorious for firing American Nurses and then replacing them with Foreign Contract Nurses who are de-facto slaves. The most obey their Kindred Masters less they lose their job, and work visa and be deported. American Nurses would never allow themselves to be abused by such a greedy and cruel Employer. Kindred Healthcare is about profits not people or patriotism.
    Last edit by StopForeignNurses on Jul 9, '08
  11. by   herring_RN
    I've attended classes with Kindred nurses who were so concerned for their patients under illegal unsafe staffing they reminded me of veterans with PTSD.
    Except they were going back.

    ALL nurses should be paid the same regardless of how long they have been here.
    Any less is unfair to them, to American nurses, and our patients.