Survey: Would you cross a picket line when RNs were striking? - page 13

This months survey question: Would you cross a picket line when RNs were striking (at your own hospital or another)? Yes or No? FYI: Here are the results from this survey: Q: Would you... Read More

  1. by   pickledpepperRN
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Dave123
    [B]"I was in a union as a nurse and I found it was a terrible situation. I found it protected the dirt bags and kept the hardworkers from rising thru the ranks quickly."...

    I have experienced workers who claim the union will save theis jobs even if they will not (or cannot) do the work.

    Conversely I have seen the finest nurses FIRED for speaking up on behalf of improving patient care. This is done to frighten others into accepting unsafe assignments.
    I thank God I am in a nurses union that along with representing nurses works to make the safe therapeutic quality care possible.
  2. by   Jay Levan
    What you are speaking about, goes on with or without a union, I have also experienced similar situations for thirty years, in almost all the hospitals where I have had the opportunity to work. The question is, "Why doesn't a nurses union, accomplish for it's members, what other professional unions accomplish for their members???" Can someone please answer that one for me?
  3. by   4XNURSE
    I would. I have.

    First time I crossed was 2 weeks after I started a new job. I had agreed to start work. The person that hired me told me a union rep. would invite me to join the union. They never contacted me. I had no say, so I did what I had agreed to do, - work for my patients. If the union rep. had asked me it might have been different.

    Second time was as an agency nurse. My friends in the ER where I work (still) a lot wanted me to cover them so they could participate in the strike. some of them worked with us registry staff. Administration needs to get the picture, but the patients need to know that the nurses are there for them. People get sick and injured the same whether we are being treated right by the hospital or not. Somebody has to take care of them.

    I see a lot of comments here from nurses in big cities on the east coast. I see a lot of references to a national union.

    How many of you have ever worked in a small town? Where, say you are the charge nurse in the ER, you are also the house supervisor, There are 2 nurses (a RN and aLVN) down on med/surg, (where there are 6 patients total) and you have a LVN to help you in the ER. The next closest hospital is at least an hours drive away. - I have. I know a fair number of nurses who have. The perspective changes some in those situations. How can a nurse who has never been out of a city like NY presume to be able to impact what is going on in "small town USA"? Some of you may know a little about what is going on, but a lot of "big city" nurses have no clue.

    Yes I've crossed pickett lines. Yes I would do it again. Would I honor a pickett line. Absolutely! That depends on the circumstances. Can I make that determination for someone else, 3000 miles away? I surely can NOT.

    Let's do our jobs and not assign a value to someone who does it a little different. We have no idea why they are doing it.
    Last edit by 4XNURSE on Feb 19, '02
  4. by   live4today
    I never have, but have been asked by several nursing agencies to do so. The pay and bonuses for doing so are fantastic, I must say! Guess if I really needed the cash flow, I'd do it.

    I remember just starting a travel nurse assignment at a large university hospital when their nurses went on strike. Since I was already on duty as a traveler, I stayed.

    What I learned by doing so was quite impressive as the nursing staff from the staff to the DON all stuck together and supported one another. Now, THAT in and of itself was a joy to behold!
  5. by   Teshiee
    I trip out how nurses say striking nurses are abanding patients well let them not pay us a dime would most of us work for free? I think not ! Lets not forget the issue why nurses strike and why unions are imposed. If the administrators did respect what we did things may not have gotten so bad. I am tired of hearing nurses saying our duty is to the patient! True but not at the cost of killing them because of sorry nursing care overloading us with too many patients, bad management. We as nurses can do only so much. How can you be a good nurse when you get 10-12 patients and your expected to work mandatory overtime and take abuse from arrogant MD'S. Please! What nursing should be and what it is is two different meanings. When I am at work I give my all. And if we do on strike then I will respect that. I don't know why nurses fall in that trick bag of being responsible when it is the administrators that set the tone.
    Last edit by Teshiee on Feb 19, '02
  6. by   KatWright
    It frustrates me to see nurses arguing about hypothetical situations. I read the posts from people who say that they would NEVER "cross the line" and say hurtful things to and about people who make different decisions. We all lead different lives with different responsibilities and what works for one doesn't work for another. I am grateful that I live in a world with full of diversity. Please, respect each other and honor them as well as their decisions.
  7. by   Brownms46
    I have never and will never cross the lines of ANY strikes!

    If I'm going on a travel assignment, and I get ANY hint there is goiing to be a strike.. I would not take the contract. I have received info while doing a contract, about travel assignments to work for outrageous hrly rates. I look at them and after thinking ...WOW...that's a LOT of money!!! Being a single parent I could definitely use that! I throw it in the trash!!! Why? Because I think about how they "ADMIN" could have used that money to pay better wages, hire more staff, and provide safer working conditions for those who are striking. Yes....I realize that the pay they use to pay strke breakers comes out of a seperate fund. I also know they wouldn't need that fund if they weren't so willing to take all the profits they could to place in their own pockets. THEY don't even think twice about leaving pts. in the care of overworked, sleep deprived, burned out, nurses. Nor do they think twice about throwing them to the wolves when these poor souls make mistakes d/t the working conditions they face. THEY are the ones responsible in a large part for the "nursing shortage" today. There are plenty of nurses out there....who have walked away from the profession, because they refused to be a part a system, that charges pts. whether the market will bare, and give them little in return. They walked away because they were tired of providing substandard care, working themselves to death, feeling guilty everytime they leave their units because they feel they may have forgetten something. Feeling that they should have been able to stay in the room with a pt. who was scared about surgery, or give comfort to a family member who was losing their love one.

    When I first started in nursing 22yrs ago, I LOVED every minute of it! I had NO trouble working double shifts as I couldn't seem to get enough! There were many days I would just about float home from work, as I thought how lucky I was to be in this field.

    Now I work for the most money I can, and only when I have to! What a change the years have made. I myself wish there would be no need to for a nurse or anyone else to strike. I'm NOT a union person...but I support nurses and anyone else standing up for themselves. If management doesn't want to treat their staff as professionals and negotiate in good faith, then I say strike away.

    And for those who oppose the strike...please don't take the pay increases the striking nurses win. Please don't take the help offered because they won better working conditions. Please continue to work the OT instead of allowing someone else to do it. Please don't take any of the benefits that come from a better contract they have won. And to the soul that said she didn't go into nursing for the pay let me say this. Neither did I. But I do expect to be compensated for the work I do, and I do expect to be able to pay my bills, and take care of my children. I didn't come into nursing to live in proverty, or to be mistreated and or abuse by those I care for. I expect to be treated fairly and with respect. Yes...I realized sometimes pts. and families reacted porrly d/t the stress, fear, and their conditions. But I also gives them (pts/families), unerealistic expectations with the hype they put out to attract "new business". If you want to be walked over...please continue to stand in the middle of the highway. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    So continue to cross the picket lines all you dear souls who have decided to put the worth of others before your peers, your family, and yourself. But please don't come on the boards and complain about any of the problems you face daily. You have lost your credibility to complain or be upset with the conditions you allow to continue unabated. I believe everyone has the right to make their own decisions. But you must also be ready to live with results of those decisions.

    Last edit by Brownms46 on Feb 19, '02
  8. by   RNPD
    Very eloquent Brownie. I don't know that we have always seen eye to eye, but you are right on here. If more nurses had your courage & ehtics we would be able to stick together & accomplish so much.

    For the travel nurse who remained at an assignment once the strike began, did you research your options? What would have happened if you broke the contract due to your ethical aversion to strikes? Of course I realize that you stated you WOULD work a strike for enough money, so obviously you have no personal ethical aversion to a strike. But I wondered if a nurse did, would they be allowed out of the contact. After all, when a strike begins, it is no longer the same environment in which you contracted to work.

    "What I learned by doing so was quite impressive as the nursing staff from the staff to the DON all stuck together and supported one another. Now, THAT in and of itself was a joy to behold!"

    If only nurses-true staff & Admin alike- could have stuck together when it mattered, BEFORE it got to the strike point-THAT would have been a joy to behold indeed!
  9. by   KatWright
    So I guess the ONLY side is the Union side, huh. I have been a nurse for 30 years and have worked in union facilities and non-union.........I would NEVER work in a union hospital again because it is filled with angry nurses that want it their way and are not willing to admit that there are two sides to everything.
    Whether I choose to work in a union hosptial or not or whether I choose to cross the line or not, I WILL ALWAYS BE CREDIBLE. I am a person of honesty and integrity and THAT wouldn't change by crossing a line.
  10. by   CANRN
    The decision to cross a picket line or not cross a picket line has nothing to do with "...the ONLY side is the Union side..." It's about supporting our nursing sisters. Whether your union or not has no bearing on it. At least that is my way of thinking. Personally, I would never cross a picket line. There is no need to, As nurses there is plenty of work fo rus, we don't need to slap our 'sisters' or 'brothers' in the face to earn a lving.
    Just my opinion.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    I could not personally cross my sisters' and brothers' picket lines.
    What they are doing is too important for me to ignore and disrespect so. I could not throw stones at those who choose to cross them but the fact that scabs WILL cross is why hospital administrators don't take their negotiation responsibilities seriously. Just another reason we should 'stick together'---we could really make our working conditions better if we had some solidarity.
  12. by   live4today

    I was NOT given an option by the agency I worked for to leave the university hospital because they were told the strike would be over before it would get started good, and they were right. It started one morning, and the next day I came to work, it was over. So, for eight hours, I personally got to witness the pulling together of management and staff for that 24 hour "walkout", and moving around of patients to ease the nurse/patient ratio.

    Apparently, the nursing admin had been telling the hospital admin and docs that they would take matters into their own hands if they refused to adhere to important changes the nurses were seeking to have implemented. That started on a Thursday, was still talked about all day Friday, and on Monday when I came into work, those nurses and nrsng admins. went into action, and I was so caught up in the glory of my comrads marching forth with their demands and implementing them themselves which totally made the docs and hosp. admin. irate -- to put it mildly. As a matter of fact, I gladly helped the nurses on duty move patients and their beds around from one unit to another unit to ensure the nurse/patient ratio was satisfactory to the nurses advantage, NOT the docs and hospital admins.

    I was very beneficial TO THE NURSES during that transition that I saw no reason to leave. Now, had I been "aiding and abetting" the "enemy" (hsp. admin/drs.), you darn skippy I would have left in a heartbeat! I felt really good about being a nurse then because all the nurses were sticking together, and no patient was left abandoned in the process of the strong message they were implementing with ACTION and not just WORDS as many strikes are notorious for.

    I said that I had been asked on occasion to go where strikes were already in progress, BUT I flat out refused...hung up the phone and told them not to call me again to work in a situation where a strike was going on.

    Yes, the $$$ and the benefits for having taken those "strike" assignments were awfully tempting - FOR A MOMENT IN TIME - but knowing what taking those jobs would have indicated to my fellow nurses, the morality of it all far outweighed my going for the gold.

    In many situations - such as a strike, etc., - travel agencies do come to the assist of their nurses and would have gladly transferred them elsewhere. My agency was no different, but in lieu of the fact that the situation I had just started working in being a "brief encounter" of a strike nature, there was NO need to pull in the travel nurses working there. I'm sure had the strike gone on past that time frame, they most certainly would have.

    Also, the way the 24 hour strike was carried out was awesome. The nurses only carried the strike signs on their "offshifts", so their were plenty of nurses on duty equal to the ones "off duty" who were manning the "strike" - if you will, the entire 24 hours.

    Hope this clarifies my stance on this much better than my post last night. [I was in a hurry to go to bed, if you know what I mean, so I kind of whipped through my comments. I'm sure you catch my drift here.] And, you are absolutely right in saying nurses and nursing admin. should be supportive like that BEFORE things get out of hand, not just afterwards.
    Last edit by live4today on Feb 19, '02
  13. by   fergus51
    I don't like the notion that strikes only happen because us union fanatics are demanding a completely unrealistic utopia to work in where we'll be paid a million a year and only have 2 patients to care for at a time or something. Our last contract dispute did not progress to a strike as we no longer have the legal right to strike, but I feel like I need to defend us. We were not demanding anything unrealistic and we aren't a bunch of union thugs. Strikebreakers often complain they are portrayed negatively and deserve respect, and it should go the other way too.

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