Unions - page 4

I was just wondering peoples views on Unions, from reading other posts I got the inpression that unions are not a standard thing. One of my lectures this semester was two of the big nursing unions... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    I cut and pasted the following from another thread. I hope the author will forgive me, but I felt the need to ask for understanding. Isn't Minnesota a big union state? Here you have a Minnesota nurse with 30yrs experience. Why is she anti-ANA, why isn't she promoting unions?? I just don't understand why, if unionization is the answer, the experienced people aren't in agreement. Here's her post:
    ************************************************** *
    Senior Member

    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Central Southwest Minnesota
    Posts: 53
    and while I'm at it..........
    ............and while I'm at it.............

    I'm also SICK TO DEATH of the "caste system" we have in our Profession.

    We have you and me, on the FRONT LINES, in THE TRENCHES, and BEARING THE BRUNT of this very serious problem.

    WE are level #1.

    Then we have: corporate level "Nurse" administrators, managers, and supervisors, who are level #2 and sit on their laurels inflicting further abuse upon us by demanding (mandatory overtime for example), or threatening ("if you don't stay you can kiss your job goodbye") and exist in their own little world of ping-pong "management" taking orders from above in order to save their own arses and paychecks.

    Level #3 consists of the over-educated, pontificating, seminar-holding "experts" in our field who have never even set foot inside of a health care institution as an "employee" for a nano-second, and march around with a dozen letters after their names trying to convince you and me that "this isn't so bad, settle down now, and come, let us reason together."

    Level #4 consists of the rest in our profession who are so far removed from reality they should all be taking antipsychotics by the boat-load............our own ANA, Boards of Nursing, Professional Journal Editors and Staff, the NLN, our lofty State Nursing Associations, etc. etc.

    Levels #2,3, and 4 SHOULD be the POWER behind our punch, but they are ALL "comfortable" right where they are.........so why should they make themselves "uncomfortable" for you and me, and God forbid..........for our patients that we serve day after day??

    As I see it..........


    Bonnie Creighton,RN, MHCA
    Mental Health Consumer Advocate

    Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged

    12-14-2001 10:41 AM

    just wondering...
    Last edit by nurs4kids on Dec 14, '01
  2. by   OC_An Khe
    You are missing an important point which gives the "Union" more power to negotiate a contract than an "individual or group of nurses". There is no legal force requiring an employer to negotiate with an individual/group that hasn't asked for protection under the NLRB ( group formed into a Union). Without Union's legal protction the employer can say no, get out of here or you are termnated. This can not by law happen with a Union in place. With Union status there are mandatory areas of bargaining that the employer can not refuse to negotiate.
    I have been employed by hospitals, at various levels of responsibilities, since the 1960's and rarely found individual employment contracts for nurses except for a few high level executives and they had difficulty enforcing those contracts.
    There is an old saying in organized labor circles that I learned in my graduate school class on labor management: The Union doesn't organize the employees but it's the management of the employer that does.
    Nurses Unions don't go where they are not invited. If you chose not to invite them that is your choice and one that should be respected.
    In an employee at will situation, virtually all non union employment in the health care feild, all your conditions of employment , compensation and benefits can be changed at the whim of the employer without legal recourse by the employee. This can not happen at a Union facility.I have expirienced this many times in a non union facility. Granted the reverse happens in times of shortage but that happens far less frequently then the former.
    You have a choice about being pro or anti union, but base it upon the history of Nursing Unions and not the hisory of all unions.
  3. by   nurs4kids
    Will you guys, PLEEEEEASE, instead of telling me a non-union group has no bargaining rights quote me the law that says an employer ONLY HAS to bargain with a union..a group is ONLY protected by the labor relations act IF they are union??????????

    Also, they are only required to negotiate with you to a point. Just as the Air Traffic Controllers were ordered back to work, by the president...same can and probably would be done with nurses during a shortage. I don't find that a form of protection.
  4. by   OC_An Khe
    Pleeeease read and learn. Of course there is no law prohibiting an employer from negotiating with a group,just as there is no law COMPELLING them to negotiate with you. I have been personally been in that position. If the employer doesn't want to negotiate they don't. A group action threatens their, the employers power and this they usually don't give up willingly.There is a law, The National Labor Relations Board and similar Acts to be specific that compels the employer to negotiate with the Union.
    As for your reference to the Air Traffic Controllers they committed an ILLEGAL ACT AND SUFFERED THE CONSEQUENCES. It had nothing to do with their ability to negotiate.
    If you don't want to be represented by a Union and have its legal protections that fine, but don't try and equate the legal protection afforded by an NLRB protected Union and a "group" of
  5. by   -jt
    <to think we'd be so lucky as to find someone willing to DONATE their time.>

    We are not paid for the work we do as reps. I am a staff RN in an ICU at a teaching facility & I do only get 2 pts because that is the staffing ratio we determined for my unit & had written into the contract. That staff RNjob is the only job I am paid for. The other work I do as a union delegate, bargaining unit executive council officer and member of the negotiating teams, as well as UAN delegate IS a donation of my time - because improving my workplace, my conditions of employment, and the environment for my pts is my professional obligation to myself.

    None of us are paid to be union reps.
  6. by   donmurray
    Can you be eloquently succinct, or succinctly eloquent? Anyway well put. Better than I did!
  7. by   -jt
    <As a union, you have no more power over your employer than a "group" would have. The power is in numbers, not in being called a union.>

    Sorry to disappoint you but that is incorrect. You must have missed this part:

    Doing all that you would be doing as a group but doing it as a union of nurses, instead of just a group of nurses, turns the tables in your favor and PUTS THE POWER OF THE LAW behind you.

    Thats the difference.

    A UNION of nurses certainly does have a hell of a lot more power than just a group has. A UNION of nurses has federal legal rights that a mere group does not have. A union of nurses has not just the power of numbers behind it. It has the power of the FEDERAL LAW behind it. A "group" of nurses has nothing but what the administrator will allow. And youre wrong too about there being no difference between a union & a group when it comes to negotiating with the employer. For one thing, when the administrator will not negotiate with a "group", they have no power to do anything about it - other than to accept whatever he wants to do to them or quit. Conversely, a union of nurses has the POWER OF THE LAW TO FORCE him to negotiate.

    There is no such law saying an employer may not negotiate with a "group" of nurses IF HE WANTS TO. The key there is IF HE WANTS TO> As a "group" of nurses, you are dependent on what the employer wants to do. Unionized nurses are not. The law says the employer MUST negotiate with the "union" of nurses whether he wants to or not. Thats the difference in power. The point, if I may try to make it clear again - is that WHEN THE EMPLOYER REFUSES TO NEGOTIATE WITH A "GROUP", THERE IS NO LAW THAT WILL FORCE HIM TO AND THERE IS NO RECOURSE FOR THE GROUP. The group either bites the bullet, does what the employer wants, or moves on. HOWEVER, When an employer refuses to negotiate with a "UNION" of nurses, there ARE laws that WILL force him to - the union of nurses MUST be a partner in the decsion-making that affects them - the employer is not in sole control of the reigns. Thats a huge difference in power, dear.

    The difference is the recourse. A mere group of nurses has none. A union of nurses has many & they are upheld by the power of the law. A group of nurses is dependent on whatever the employer decides and allows. A union of nurses, by law, is guaranteed equal partnership in making those decisions and is not dependent on what the employer wants to allow.

    Regarding the air traffic controllers, Im sure you understand that they are federal employees and under the law are prohibited from striking. Thats why they were forced to go back to work - because they took an illegal action. There is no such law governing nurses in the private sector. Workers in this country have a federal right to strike and that right, like all the others, cannot be usurped, so your argument does not apply.

    Regarding the unhappy nurse in Minnesota, youd have to ask HER why she is not happy.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 16, '01
  8. by   -jt
    <begging for an answer
    a group is ONLY protected by the labor relations act IF they are union??????????>

    There are laws that apply to members of organized unions which would not apply to non-union workers. There are also laws that favor employers of non-union workers which do not apply to employers at unionized facilities. But No need to beg for an answer......

    Since you dont seem to be understanding the answers that have been given here, you can look it up very easily on the NLRB website or any employment law site.
  9. by   wildtime88
    Nurs4kids, arguing with JT is pointless.

    She has told you how the laws support formal unions and even force employers to negotiate with them.

    Then she posts this on another topic.

    "The Registered Nurses at St Catherines of Siena Catholic Health Systems (CHS) on Long Island, NY have been on strike for 20 days because their employer refuses to address their serious concerns about short staffing, mandatory OT, retention and recruitment incentives (salaries and benefits) as well as other working conditions."


    Like I said, you will never win with her.

    What makes matters even worse is that she has been posting on the Nursing Activism/Politics section in favor of legislation that will actually weaken union/nursing bargaining power in the future that I have posted against.


    jt simply follows the union and ANA doctrine and regurgitates it without much thought.

    You can not win an arguement with a person like this.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 16, '01
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    Whenever people/groups bargain collectively it requires compromise, whether this is in a union or non union situation doesn't matter. In the union setting there is a requirement to talk, in the non union setting there is none. During these collective bargaing situation there sometimes comes a time when one side or both don't want to compromise any more. Then different tactics are used. In St. Catherines case you cited, the Union group decided to withhold their services (strike) just as a non union situation you could with hold your services and presumably go elsewhere. The tactic on the employers side is to refuse to talk further with you. Again no difference at this point from the Union/ non union position. At this point in the collective bargaining process, its a test of both groups power and committment to their positions. In a non union situation the process can and usually does end here. In the Union situation both sides know they will sit down and talk again, a legal requirement, its the timing that is uncertain at this point. As to which side will prevail who knows. But it is for certain that in the Union situation talks will resume.
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    jt, your experience in union activities really shows in your articulate posts. i have never worked in a unionized facility but have participated in many discussion with nurses in my county when we had collective barganing groups under pna at local hospitals and understand that the weight of our laws is behind those who are unionized forcing employers to negotiate in good faith. my nursing colleagues in delaware county, pa have now formed pasnap because the administrators at several area facilities wouldn't listen to their voices when they were only a " nursing group".

    some nurses are able to negotiate for themselves, but i see this as happening in the minority of healthcare facilities.

    from ocankhe:
    whenever people/groups bargain collectively it requires compromise, whether this is in a union or non union situation doesn't matter.
    compromise is what nurses do best at our ana meetings! we listen to each other's voices, debate activities to participate in, positions to take and policies to inact, always considering the best interest of nursing. some of our house of delgate meetings were pretty contensious debates in the late 80's! some of us changed our stand on postions after we reflected on another's viewpoint or learned a different angle to the legislation being considered for support.

    found these informative links re labor law, especially the first one which points out that federal law supercedes state laws in many situations.

    lii : legal information institute- cornell university

    labor: an overview
    the goal of labor laws is to equalize the bargaining power between employers and employees. the laws primarily deal with the relationship between employers and unions. labor laws grant employees the right to unionize and allows employers and employees to engage in certain activities (e.g. strikes, picketing, seeking injunctions, lockouts) so as to have their demands fulfilled.

    the area of labor law is governed by both federal law, state law and judicial decisions. it is also governed by regulations and decisions of administrative agencies. states are preempted from
    interfering with federal statutory law or with the guidelines promulgated by agencies established under federal law or by the u.s. constitution

    hieros gamos
    many links including international law.

    labor law links- university of hawaii
  12. by   nurs4kids
    I know I can't "win" with jt, just as the numerous people who keep PM'ing & emailing me to say the same. I must conceed as karen's post above points out, I looked on the site last night and the NLB does only cover unions. BUT, I guarantee you there's a law out there to cover the individula employee too.

    I'm starting to figure that the union dues MUST go to the ANA since jt or none of the others will specify where the dues go. They have stated above that they VOLUNTEER, so the dues obviously do not go toward representation. I just can't see paying $300+ per year for union dues when the benefits are no greater than those of non-union hospitals. It just looks like someone in the middle is not only taking money from the employer, but also from ME.

    I also have a hard time with the image we claim we need to reflect and the desire to unionize. When I think of union, I think of less "respectable" careers (ie; mining, auto, steel, atheletics, etc). The closest career to nursing that I can think of that is unionized is teachers, and we all know that hasn't done much for their profession.

    Anyhow, I'll let it rest. My fear was that other's were being blindly led. Now, I know that isn't true. It's funny that several of the emails I received stated the same thought I had from the beginning..something Jt and other blood and guts ana/union supporters will never recognize. People are always fearful and leary of anything that someone endorses 100% without the ability to be objective. NO organization is without it's cons. To try to project that everything is always perfect in an organization only brings about distrust.
  13. by   wildtime88
    The term "compromise" is being tossed about here as though it is a good thing. Let me just point out that "compromise" is the same thing as settling for less than what you want or giving in to someone else in some form or degree to someone else.

    Nursing right now as a group and with the power of the shortage could be mandating the terms. Nursing still sees it's self as easily replaced. This is more than evident by the actions we see and the actions which are being pursued by the ANA as a whole by trying to enact legislation to expedite that process, before there has been actual resolution to our basic problems.

    As a group and a profession are we really this weak? Is this how we really value ourselves? This is what we are telling everyone whom we are battling with in a halfhearted attempt at gaining control of our own profession and professional practices.

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