Nursing Unions - page 2

I am looking for information regarding nursing unions... the advantages, disadvantages, how they work, etc. I am in my last semester of a BSN program and this info will help me to prepare for a... Read More

  1. by   NRSKarenRN
    See the post from Daisey Mae in Tuscun under New Nurses Organization AARN:

    "In Tucson we have "Southern Arizona Nurses Coalition. This is strictly a volunteer group. See our website please Thanks Daisymae in Tucson.

    Info re "Signposts on The Road To Organizing" from United American Nurses, AFL-CIO, the union by nurses, for nurses.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 16, '02
  2. by   -jt
    <If people in the US are getting called in for mandatory OT, low salaries, crappy working conditions, etc - What is being done about it? WHY have unions NOT popped up? Are people not that unhappy with the way things are, are they afraid to take the risk and rally together to fight for better treatment, or are they pursuing other ways of achieving solutions?>

    What is being done is that we are trying to obtain state & national laws to stop the employers from carrying out these abuses.

    And in the meantime, also doing it locally thru union contracts. Unions are all over the place - even in the South - even for nurses in the South. Our labor history is similar to yours in Canada. In the 60's, my longshoreman father was on strike every year for better pay, shorter work days, a safer workplace, medical benefits, pensions, always something, until by the 70's, they had everything they needed. Decades before that, my grandfather had his legs broken by hired thugs (called "strike-busters" not because they replaced the workers but because they busted them up like this) with chains and baseball bats while he was walking his strike line - unarmed. But he didnt quit. These unionized men got what they and their families needed back then & are still reaping the benefits of their fight even now in their retirement.

    Many Northern states are big-time union towns. Unionized workers are in every field of employment (from actors, construction workers, carpenters, dentists, electricians, firemen, mine workers, MDs, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, etc). The thing in this country is that we have employer-friendly laws in the right-to-work states (made by businessmen and their legislator friends) and the mindset of the population is different than it is the northern states. Even now, you hear nurses complaining of horrendous working conditions, poor salaries, dismal benefits, no pensions, but when you mention unionizing, many say "ohhhhhh, no, never. We dont believe in unions". Why is that? I have no idea. Surely they dont believe in putting up with these working conditions. Unionizing with my states professional nurses assoc was the best thing we ever did for ourselves professionaly at my hospital.

    A lot of other nurses dont believe that being a part of a union is a "professional" thing to do. Others look down on it as being what they call "blue-collar". Some have family members who had bad experiences with their own trade unions & they have a skewed perception of professional nurses unions based on that. Some base their opinion on stories they hear from people who have not been a professional nurses union or have not been in an effective union. Unionizing is hard work because of the fight the employers put up against it & rather than unionize to change things, many nurses choose to just leave nursing. Or hold out hope that the employer will listen to their concerns & try to accomplish that thru other means like meetings and committees.

    Some will work strikes where other nurses who are unionized are trying to better their own working conditions, and will earn enough to not have to work again for a long time or until the next strike so they dont have to put with the same poor conditions on a regular basis.

    The effort that employers put forth to stop their nursing staff from unionizing is enormous, hard-fought, and expensive. Yet they pull out all the stops to prevent their nurses from unionizing. That in itself should tell people there must be something to being a union if the employer tries so hard to stop us from doing it. Unfortunately, many times, the nurses will back down. They succumb to the intimidation, scare tactics, and fear.

    Unionizing is a federal right by law. No US worker can be fired for talking about a union or unionizing or for engaging in union activity & if they are fired, they can sue the employer for infringing on their rights, win back their job, & win back lost wages. But many nurses dont want to have to deal with all that. Some believe the propaganda & threats handed out by their employer. I dont know what it is with nurses here. We have some excellent nurses unions but still a lot of nurses are too afraid to unify.

    Maybe it has something to do with the dichotomy of women in this country.
    Last edit by -jt on Feb 16, '02
  3. by   donmurray
    "DNC"??? But I get the impression you disagree.
  4. by   shay

    DNC = Democratic National Committee

    Yes, I do disagree.

    Karl Marx/Communist Manifesto = 'Cult of the Individual'

  5. by   kewlnurse
    I don't have an answer for you healingtouch, all i know is from postings on this board and several others as well as people i have talked to, most non union places are the same if not BETTER than where i work. As I have stated, we are a large union, 10-12 acute patients is the normal assignment on 3-11 and 11-7, i have seen it as bad as 16 patients each, no not rehabe or ltc either. See my post "Would you live here?" cuz i really don't feel like typing that much again.
  6. by   Jenny P
    Kewl, take it from me, you have a lousy union!

    Is it a hospital wide union or is it an RN specific union? My guess is it is a hospital wide union because of the terrible staffing ratios. If one union is representing all of the employees, housekeeping, dietary, maintainence, and all non-nursing staff may have more say over staffing ratios and nursing salaries than the nurses!

    Sorry, fella.
  7. by   kewlnurse
    It is an RN only union, not hospital wide. I told ya our union sux. It's not the first union i have been in that was bad either. Back about 12 years ago i was in another union, not as a nurse and our hourly wage was $6/hour and really crappy insurance.
  8. by   -jt
    Is it the union leadership thats making it so ineffective or the non-involvement of the nurses in that bargaining unit?

    If its the non-involvement of the nurses themselves, no union will be able to do anything for them. But if its the union leadership that is the problem, why havent the nurses changed to one that does a better job of representing them the way they want to be represented? They dont have to be stuck with an organization they arent happy with.
  9. by   NSCU RN
    How much do nurses pay for union dues?
  10. by   NRSKarenRN
    NSCU, it is different for every union. Some have a flat fee, some percentage of earnings.

    When PSNA had collective bargaining activities in the early 1990's, as a non-union member I payed about 450.00/yr. Think the union dues were another $200.00 on top of that.

    Not been involved in a unionized facility. Hopefully union members can give advice.
  11. by   -jt
    <How much do nurses pay for union dues?>

    That depends on the union, its bylaws, & the members.

    My union is also my state professional association for RNs. Nurse members who are not in its union branch pay an association membership fee of about $300/yr. Retired nurses, disabled nurses, and student nurses pay a reduced membership fee.

    Members who are also represented by our state association for collective bargaining in its union branch pay an annual fee of 1.6% of the lowest base salary in their region of the state. The way we came up with who pays what is decided by the members -proposed at convention by the members & voted on by the members there. Our state association membership fees include membership in the ANA as well.

    At convention in Nov 2001, our collective bargaining (union) members voted to increase their dues from 1.2% of lowest base regional salary to the present 1.6% in order to fund collective bargaining services that we want to implement and/or expand.

    Our union represents only RNs.

    The trade union that all the other non-RN employees at my hospital belong to charges their members an annual fee of 2% of their salary.
  12. by   NSCU RN
    jt- so if I wanted to work at your hospital and NOT join the union I would have to pay the $300/yr? For those that are members they only pay the 1.6%,not the $300 also?
  13. by   donmurray
    So get involved, and make it work for you. I go to union meetings, and see the same faces most times. I cannot understand why anyone would pay their dues, and not ever go along to see what was being done with them. It is all too easy to sit on the sidelines and carp, but how are they supposed to know what you want doing if you never go along and say?
    Worldwide, nursing and nurses are in demand as never before. Now is as good a time to press management for improvements as any, but only if union members stand up and say so. There is nothing more disheartening for a representative to do, than (figuratively!) bang on management's door on some issue, on behalf of the membership, then turn to find that, when it comes to the crunch, the members are suddenly busy with something else!
    Perhaps conditions are similar in non-union hospitals because they have to offer competitive pay and conditions to attract staff, so that effectively the unions are driving improvements in non-union areas as well. Do you want to stand up for your rights, or take a free ride on others' hard work?

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