LPN's and unions...help me understand

  1. I have been trying to do some independent research on this but I'm getting nowhere...

    It is my understanding that under a supreme court ruling, Licensed Practical Nurses cannot form their own union, because their job is "technical" (although I beg to differ) and therefore they need to join with other non-licensed personnel unions.

    Is this still the case, and if so, is it possible to fight to change that? And what is the process for doing so?

    To an extent I guess I understand why we should not have the same unions as RN's, but I think that we should have our own collective bargaining rights, separate from non-licensed personnel...
    Last edit by MattiesMama on May 5, '09 : Reason: clarify
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    13 Comments

  3. by   FlowerbuddRN2B
    I could not find anything clearcut when searching on if LPN's could form a union on their own.
    I'm right there with you on begging to differ. on my job at the hospital, i took a team of patients, with the same acuity as the RN's , same amount, and was expected to give them the same level of care that they did. the only thing different was that i could not iv push or hang blood. I had to get one of them to do it. at the end of the shift one of them would run around and sign my charts. And the hospital got to pay me about 8-10$ less an hour. I did all the same paperwork, charting, and had all the same responsibility. Now granted the majority of LPN's in our facility did not do that, there are some in facilities out there who do. That is why I think there needs to be levels of LPN. And why I think there needs to be an easier way to go to RN from LPN. I am hoping this fall semester coming up will be different from this first one I just sat through because it was really boring and the only thing that made it bearable was the short time the classes are compared to LPN classes, and helping my friend through.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    under the national labor relations act

    (12) the term "professional employee" means--

    (a) any employee engaged in work (i) predominantly intellectual and varied in character as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work; (ii) involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance; (iii) of such a character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time; (iv) requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual, or physical processes; or


    (b) any employee, who (i) has completed the courses of specialized intellectual instruction and study described in clause (iv) of paragraph (a), and (ii) is performing related work under the supervision of a professional person to qualify himself to become a professional employee as defined in paragraph (a).


    (13) in determining whether any person is acting as an "agent" of another person so as to make such other person responsible for his acts, the question of whether the specific acts performed were actually authorized or subsequently ratified shall not be controlling.


    (14) the term "health care institution" shall include any hospital, convalescent hospital, health maintenance organization, health clinic, nursing home, extended care facility, or other institution devoted to the care of sick, infirm, or aged person.
    [pub. l. 93-360, 1(b), july 26, 1974, 88 stat. 395, added par. (14).]

    what are the rights of registered nurses?
    answer: there is no change from current law on the overtime protections for rns.

    the final rules make no change to current law regarding overtime protection for rns. rns paid on an hourly basis are entitled to overtime pay under the final rules. rns who receive overtime pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement are expressly protected under the final rules. in general, rns have been viewed as performing the duties of an exempt learned professional since 1971 – a position reflected in the old rule 541.301(e)(1). new 541.301(e)(2) reiterates the longstanding view that rns satisfy the duties test for learned professional employees while licensed practical nurses and other similar health workers generally do not, regardless of work experience and training – because possession of a specialized advanced academic degree is not a standard prerequisite for entry into such occupations.
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/comp...pay/faq_pf.htm



    justia :: 29 c.f.r. 103.30 appropriate bargaining units in the ...
    29 c.f.r. 103.30 appropriate bargaining units in the health care industry.

    (a) this portion of the rule shall be applicable to acute care hospitals, as defined in paragraph (f) of this section: except in extraordinary circumstances and in circumstances in which there are existing non-conforming units, the following shall be appropriate units, and the only appropriate units, for petitions filed pursuant to section 9(c)(1)(a)(i) or 9(c)(1)(b) of the national labor relations act, as amended, except that, if sought by labor organizations, various combinations of units may also be appropriate:
    (1) all registered nurses.
    (2) all physicians.
    (3) all professionals except for registered nurses and physicians.
    (4) all technical employees.
    (5) all skilled maintenance employees.
    (6) all business office clerical employees.
    (7) all guards.
    (8) all nonprofessional employees except for technical employees, skilled maintenance employees, business office clerical employees, and guards.
    provided that a unit of five or fewer employees shall constitute an extraordinary circumstance.
    (b) where extraordinary circumstances exist, the board shall determine appropriate units by adjudication.
    (c) where there are existing non-conforming units in acute care hospitals, and a petition for additional units is filed pursuant to sec. 9(c)(1)(a)(i) or 9(c)(1)(b), the board shall find appropriate only units which comport, insofar as practicable, with the appropriate unit set forth in paragraph (a) of this section.
    (d) the board will approve consent agreements providing for elections in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, but nothing shall preclude regional directors from approving stipulations not in accordance with paragraph (a), as long as the stipulations are otherwise acceptable.
    (e) this rule will apply to all cases decided on or after may 22, 1989.
    (f) for purposes of this rule, the term:
    (1) hospital is defined in the same manner as defined in the medicare act, which definition is incorporated herein (currently set forth in 42 u.s.c. 1395x(e), as revised 1988);
    (2) acute care hospital is defined as: either a short term care hospital in which the average length of patient stay is less than thirty days, or a short term care hospital in which over 50% of all patients are admitted to units where the average length of patient stay is less than thirty days. average length of stay shall be determined by reference to the most recent twelve month period preceding receipt of a representation petition for which data is readily available. the term “acute care hospital” shall include those hospitals operating as acute care facilities even if those hospitals provide such services as, for example, long term care, outpatient care, psychiatric care, or rehabilitative care, but shall exclude facilities that are primarily nursing homes, primarily psychiatric hospitals, or primarily rehabilitation hospitals. where, after issuance of a subpoena, an employer does not produce records sufficient for the board to determine the facts, the board may presume the employer is an acute care hospital.
    (3) psychiatric hospital is defined in the same manner as defined in the medicare act, which definition is incorporated herein (currently set forth in 42 u.s.c. 1395x(f)).
    (4) the term rehabilitation hospital includes and is limited to all hospitals accredited as such by either joint committee on accreditation of healthcare organizations or by commission for accreditation of rehabilitation facilities.
    (5) a non-conforming unit is defined as a unit other than those described in paragraphs (a) (1) through (8) of this section or a combination among those eight units.
    (g) appropriate units in all other health care facilities: the board will determine appropriate units in other health care facilities, as defined in section 2(14) of the national labor relations act, as amended, by adjudication.
    [54 fr 16347, apr. 21, 1989]

    due to the above national labor relations act rules, unions are seperate for lpn and rn due to level of educational training and requirements to be deemed professional employee.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 6, '09
  5. by   herring_RN
    LVN/LPN nurses are in the technical employee bargaining unit at my hospital. They are with the respiratory therapists, radiology techs, and others.
    We work together for our patients.

    I understand completely that LVNs being nurses understand nursing as the others cannot.
  6. by   MattiesMama
    any employee engaged in work (i) predominantly intellectual and varied in character as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work; applies to lpn (ii) involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance; applies to lpn (iii) of such a character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time; applies to lpn (iv) requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual, or physical processes; applies to lpn, although the word "prolonged" is subjective...i would dare anyone to tell me that my lpn education is not a prolonged course of intellectual instruction!
    any employee, who (i) has completed the courses of specialized intellectual instruction and study described in clause (iv) of paragraph (a), and (ii) is performing related work under the supervision of a professional person to qualify himself to become a professional employee as defined in paragraph (a). applies to lpn

    (13) in determining whether any person is acting as an "agent" of another person so as to make such other person responsible for his acts, the question of whether the specific acts performed were actually authorized or subsequently ratified shall not be controlling. i need this translated to english, but i'm assuming this refers to delegation and would apply to an lpn since we are delegated to by professionals (rn's and md's) and we are responsible for delegating to cna's and ma's


    in general, rns have been viewed as performing the duties of an exempt learned professional since 1971 – a position reflected in the old rule 541.301(e)(1). new 541.301(e)(2) reiterates the longstanding view that rns satisfy the duties test for learned professional employees while licensed practical nurses and other similar health workers generally do not, regardless of work experience and training – because possession of a specialized advanced academic degree is not a standard prerequisite for entry into such occupations.-is an associates degree an "advanced academic degree"? no, it isn't...but that is all that is required to be an entry level registered nurse. this needs to be clarified. and again, i would object to being categorized with "other similar healthcare workers" because imo, the only similar healthcare worker to an lpn is an rn. furthermore, i believe that the education of a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse is quite different than most associates degree programs, in the degree of difficulty and in the lecture time and clinical hours that need to be completed, so it should be weighed differently.

    i guess my point is, with all due respect to the ma's and cna's of the world, an lpn is not in the same category. they are trained technicians-and lpn's are licensed practical nurses. we are taught not just how to carry out the nursing interventions that we are allowed to perform under the nurse practice act, we need to know the rationale behind those action and why it is necessary. we learn how to write a nursing diagnosis, a care plan, a discharge plan...the only difference is that we need to have it approved by an rn and we have more limited scope of practice. and in ltc settings (which paragraph 12 states is considered a "health care institution") lpn's are often the charge nurses running the floor, with minimal input from the rn. like i said, i acknowledge that we are not on the same level as a registered nurse, but are people really under the impression that we are not professionals in the field?
    Last edit by MattiesMama on May 6, '09 : Reason: clarify
  7. by   herring_RN
    I think of LVNs as professionals. But the labor laws do not.
  8. by   ohmeowzer RN
    LPN' s are profesionals but the union dosen't think they are. we don't have a union where i work,but my sister' hospital does and LPN's ( the few they have left) are not part of the union. The RN's were the only people asked to join, LPN's were excluded. Her hospital is not hiring LPN's anymore and they have maybe 20 left, she works in a 500 bed hospital.
  9. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from MattiesMama
    I have been trying to do some independent research on this but I'm getting nowhere...

    It is my understanding that under a supreme court ruling, Licensed Practical Nurses cannot form their own union, because their job is "technical" (although I beg to differ) and therefore they need to join with other non-licensed personnel unions.

    Is this still the case, and if so, is it possible to fight to change that? And what is the process for doing so?

    To an extent I guess I understand why we should not have the same unions as RN's, but I think that we should have our own collective bargaining rights, separate from non-licensed personnel...

    I can agree. I am a city worker under 1199. NYSNA supports registered nurses for city hospitals. 1199 does represent RNs, also, however, not with city agencies. We are bunched with many other technical positions. Seems to me we ought to have our own, also, but apparently, they don't agree.
  10. by   NRSKarenRN
    iv) requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual, or physical processes.


    lpn education is considered to be at introductory nursing level; duration averages 12 months of ft study, not a prologed course so does not meet the above definition.

    don't shoot the messenger....
    (was lpn charge nurse night shift for 5 years, started as charge 2 months post graduation on 26 bed medical/respiratory unit--just me and the 2 aides who were my right arms and taught me the ropes!)
  11. by   ohmeowzer RN
    my sister's hopital LPN's are called "allied heath workers" . i don't know why that's just what she told me.
  12. by   MattiesMama
    Quote from nrskarenrn
    iv) requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual, or physical processes.


    lpn education is considered to be at introductory nursing level; duration averages 12 months of ft study, not a prologed course so does not meet the above definition.

    don't shoot the messenger....
    (was lpn charge nurse night shift for 5 years, started as charge 2 months post graduation on 26 bed medical/respiratory unit--just me and the 2 aides who were my right arms and taught me the ropes!)
    it is probobly different with every school...all i know is my nursing program is 15 months long, we have class m-w, 8am-2:30pm, and on thurs and fri we have clinical from 6:45 am-2:15pm. we have an average of 3-5 hours of homework and/or studying a night and that is a conservative guess... i've been in school for about 4 months and i've already learned how every type of cell, organ, and body system operates, and how the pathophysiology of disease will affect them. i've learned (and been tested on) every vitamin and mineral that the body needs in order to function, what can cause deficiencies or toxic levels, what lab values indicate a deficiency or toxic level, what symptoms present with a too-high or too-low value, what can result from adverse values, what conditions co-occur with these adverse values, and what interventions are needed if any of these situations...and today, i learned to debride a stage 4 pressure ulcer. i could go on and on, but i think you get what i'm saying it's not an advanced degree program, but i don't think you could describe that as being "trained to perform routine manual, mental or physical tasks"
    isn't letting the labor laws get away with describing it as such demeaning to all nurses?
    Last edit by MattiesMama on May 7, '09 : Reason: a
  13. by   herring_RN
    Quote from MattiesMama
    It is probobly different with every school...all I know is my nursing program is 15 months long, we have class M-W, 8am-2:30pm, and on Thurs and Fri we have clinical from 6:45 am-2:15pm. We have an average of 3-5 hours of homework and/or studying a night and that is a conservative guess... I've been in school for about 4 months and I've already learned how every type of cell, organ, and body system operates, and how the pathophysiology of disease will affect them. I've learned (and been tested on) every vitamin and mineral that the body needs in order to function, what can cause deficiencies or toxic levels, what lab values indicate a deficiency or toxic level, what symptoms present with a too-high or too-low value, what can result from adverse values, what conditions co-occur with these adverse values, and what interventions are needed if any of these situations...And today, I learned to debride a stage 4 pressure ulcer. I could go on and on, but I think you get what I'm saying It's not an advanced degree program, but I don't think you could describe that as being "trained to perform routine manual, mental or physical tasks"
    Isn't letting the labor laws get away with describing it as such demeaning to ALL nurses?
    I'm so glad you are enthusiastic with your tough schedule.
    I was an LVN for many years before going back to school.
    LVN school was much more difficult partly because there is SO MUCH information to learn in too little time.

    I found my ADN and BSN programs much easier. I think anyone who can finish LVN/LPN school can be an RN if they want to and circumstances allow.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 7, '09
  14. by   navvet
    To: Matties Moma, thankyou for pointing out All that applies to LPN in the afore stated Labor Law statutes. I agree. But, look at the revision date. 1988. This was probably Profit and Politically Motivated ( isn't everything). Just about that time + - a few years CNA's and MA's were just begining to come about and most had to have some sort of organized training (certificate) Granted I have not researched the aforementioned statement. Does it not seem odd, that now, most LPN's are relagated to LTC and home health care agencies? Don't forget that the ANA amongst others, all lobby congress in Washington, to get that win win deal for both the REGISTERED nurse and the Corporations of the Health Care Industry. Crap rolls down hill. Dr. to Dr. "She/He is just a Nurse". RN to RN "She/He is just an LPN". LPN to LPN "She/He is just a CNA or MA. Get my drift. The funny thing is, while LPN's are being pushed out of the hopitals to save MONEY and FACE. The Baby Boomer Gen. Will be needing a lot of LPN's in the next ten to twenty years. And I don't know of Any LTC, that will be willing to pay a staff of ALL RN's to run their facility when they can pay LPN's $5.00 to $10.00 less. I dare say, that those who eat their young and play on the steps of the Capitol, may have shot themselves in the foot due to Vanity. IMO

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