Need Union Advice:

  1. I am a union member at my hospital. There are about 300 RN's employed and it is closed. We each pay about 500.00 a year for dues. We just negotiated a new contract and settled it in 3 days. This is why:

    Our union president ran into administration in the elevator and the admin says...Hey, rumor has it that you guys are asking for 5 an hour raise, 5 and hour noc shift diff, and 3 percent for next year. Our president says...yeah, you heard right. A week later, this admin goes to our pres while working and says....we'll give you, 3 an hour, 4 for noc shift diff and a 3 percent raise next year. Our presidents says...Hey, Cool, we will take it! She then goes to the individual reps who represent our units, told them, they would take it or we would not get anything from the hospital. The reps then spent the next 3 days spreading fear among our nurses that if they didn't vote yes, we would not get a thing. A few notes were posted, a vote was held (we could call in our vote) and it passed.

    Is this the way unions operate? If so, I'm not sure I want to be a part of this professional organization. I am a part timer and the only reason I knew about the vote, was I happened to work during the two days they had posted the vote notice.

    I called our state office and complained. I'm not the only one upset about this. What do you all think of this?
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    About lorster

    Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 229; Likes: 54


  3. by   gonzo1
    I saw stuff like this go on all the time when I worked a union job for 20 years before being a nurse. When the plant I worked at was shut down and we were all layed off all the union officers got jobs somewhere else in the company and all the rest of us were gone.
    They saved themselves after stealing from us for years.
    Needless to say I am not big on unions and try to avoid them.
  4. by   blueheaven
    I haven't seen that happen where I currently work. We are not a closed shop. You can choose to be in the union or not.
    However, one place I did work...the union was totally worthless and sided with administration everytime there was an issue.
  5. by   rjflyn
    NO thats pretty shady. What's your contract say about negotiations? Which means the whole thing could get tossed if someone were to complain to the NRB.

  6. by   Cherry2000
    It is not ok to intimidate the other workers into voting for a contract. BUT it is common to ask for more than you expect to get. The idea is that the Union and the Company will meet in the middle, which is where you wanted to be anyway. From the sounds of it, that is what happened.

    To answer your question, not all Unions are like that. It all depends on who is running the union, and that is determined by who is elected by the union members! Did you go to your representatives and ask them if this is true or if its just a rumor? If you are unhappy, and it is true, the only way to change anything is become involved.
  7. by   smoke over fire
    The settlement seems kinda good, but am I understanding that you didn't agree that the President accepted to the CEO immediately right?

    I guess my recommendation would then be that you need to really question the way decisions are made. While I am always looking to a democratic process, I'm wondering if your union contract negotiators (usually president & vice) had already decided in advance with other members of the team that the lowest they would go would be for example 3 dollar raise 3 dollar diff & 3 percent raise? They could have dragged on & on for more, but may have felt that the offer was better than what they would have settled for.

    Read more threads. Its a common feeling amongst nurses that they would rather NOT strike (which is ultimately our final tool). Also were there any more benefits you may have overlooked? Sometimes we gain retirement, paid days off, education pay, etc.

    I hope you use that disappointment to burn a fire in your activist spirit and get more involved in YOUR union. Make your leaders answer your questions. Hold them accountable. And ultimately work with them to be sure that your newly won contract is enforced.

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”-Plato
    Last edit by smoke over fire on Oct 9, '08 : Reason: add quote
  8. by   herring_RN
    Or run for office an BE a leader.
  9. by   adawg67
    1: All union contracts should be negotiated by an bargaining team elected by the membership.
    2: Bargaining surveys need to be distributed to all members and tallied to get a feel for what the members want want to achieve in bargaining their next contract.
    3: The members as a team should be bargaining with mgmt and then give feedback to nurses and so forth. There is a lot more that goes into a contract other than economics. Layoff language, education money, PTO, pension, just cause, union leave.
    4: Get a copy of the union's bylaws and you should get a group of people together
    to protest the process
    5: Most union bylaws should require the membership to ratify a contract.
    6: one caveat - if the members are lazy bums, indifferent to their union, not participating, don't know how to participate, etc the union leadership may have been inclined to take what mgmt offered, but that still does not justify circumventing democracy and process rules.
    7: The union is every member so get involved and become a steward.

    I'm on the bargaining team at my hospital in Oxnard, CA ad we (3 hospitals) have been bargaining for 6 months. We are scheduled to strike next week and now have been called back by the federal mediator to return to the table. The nurses have been chomping at the bit to strike. Why? because they know it is their way of showing the boss who has the power.
    We even gave a 12 day notice instead of a 10 day notice required by law.

    What union represents you and your coworkers?
    Please get involved - that is the way change happens.