Unions - page 8

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   wildtime88
    RNKitty, you need to contact your senator and representative. You will be able to find their e-mail address and other contact information with the web links that are near the end of my starter post at

    Do you think I should start another topic and spell it out like I did with my last post on here?
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 20, '01
  2. by   njrn
    First time here and I am amazed at the misinformation out there.
    I am incredibly impressed, however, with some of the thoughtful and educational information written in some of these messages.

    The RNs in my facility unionized for years ago. We are now in negotiations for our second contract. Before joining a union, we organized ourselves, elected representatives, and had several meetings with administrators before they refused any further meetings. So much for not needing a union and representing ourselves!

    We have a Staff Representative from the state office of our union who helps us run our local. During negotiations, they help write and present the proposals because we are not familiar with many of the legalities involved. However--and this is critical--the staff rep works for the members of the local. We do not answer to him/her. They answer to us. There is no third party, as many people claim when talking about unions.

    I am incredibly proud of being a member of my union. For those who say it is unprofessional, who do you think is getting the legislation written and passed that protects nurses and patients? It has not been the ANA, and it has not been individuals. It has been the combined efforts of the unions that represent nurses.

    My union--Health Professionals and Allied Employees--is a part of the Health Care Division of the AFT. The officers of HPAE are all nurses at present. Our staff rep is an RN. Much of the emphasis of the union is on legislation. HPAE has been instrumental in writing and passing bills including the first "Baby Bill", prohibiting hospitals from forcing new mothers and babies out after 24 hours, to mandating the use of safe needles.

    If health care workers do not look out for themselves and fight for the opportunity to provide quality care to their patients, who will? While it would be nice to think that all employers will do the right thing, that patient care is the top priority in health care policy today, and that all nurses will be treated with dignity and the value of their work acknowledged, we know this is not happening everywhere. And that is the value of belonging to a union!
  3. by   RNPD
    Wild-I never said the ANA doesn't oversee the UAN. The UAN is the labor arm of the ANA so of course they are intertwined.

    As for the legislation to recruit more nurses-you see it one way, I another. As the RN workforce is aging out there will NOT be enough nurses to replace us-even if suddenly all the facilities decided to pay double our salaries and allow us autonomous practice. That would help in the short term, since there are presently thousands of nurses who do not work at the bedside or even in the profession, and that might entice them back to work. However, within the next 10 to 15 years, even those nurses will be too old to practice, no matter how much better conditions might become. AND THERE IS NO ONE WAITING IN THE WINGS TO REPLACE US!!!! Get it??? So unless someone does something to recruit new nurses, it won't matter how much we get paid or how good our benefits are, because there will be no one to take advantage of it.

    I really have to wonder about your twisted logic sometimes.
  4. by   wildtime88
    RNPD, here is a little more of my twisted logic as you call it.

    How about fixing our problems first before and try to bring all the experienced nurses who have left as well as keep the experienced nurses whom are planning on leaving. Would you rather have a new nurse or an experienced nurse?

    How about changing thing so those nurses who exist today can honestly say that it is worth being a nurse to everyone? Don't you think that in it's self would be a great recruiting campaign? The majority of nurses today are telling everyone they know not to come into nursing because of the conditions that presently exist. How about changing this first before we flood the market with new nurses who will be under a financial obligation to work no mater what and thus take away the power to change things that we face today?

    How about actually waiting until we have changed things before we pursue this legislation? If things are change we might not actually need this legislation in the first place.

    Now let me ask you a few more questions. Have you ever thought about how this legislation might actually drive off experienced nurses who have been on the fence deciding to leave or stay? The nurses who have been holding on thinking that things might change for the better soon. What do you think they will do when all of a sudden they see things are not going to change? Do you think they will continue to hang around without a good reason to do so? The nursing shortage has given many nurses hope that we could once and for all force change and now you want to take that all away.

    I am sorry but it is not my logic that is twisted here. It is yours and the ANAs who are pushing for this legislation that will take away the power of nurses in general to actually affect change. Now why are you so insistent on cutting the nurses throats who work at the bedside just when progress is starting to be made?

    On another topic you have said that you did not have to really work and that you only work part time. Guess how many nurses do not have that choice?
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 20, '01
  5. by   -jt
    <<no matter how much better conditions might become. AND THERE IS NO ONE WAITING IN THE WINGS TO REPLACE US!!!! Get it??? So unless someone does something to recruit new nurses, it won't matter how much we get paid or how good our benefits are, because there will be no one to take advantage of it. >>>

    Besides that, he would like people to think that ANA nurses are blind and doing nothing about the conditions we all work in & he would like people to think that ANA nurses want to flood the market with new nurses and do nothing about the environment we are working in. Except what he would like people to think is not true.

    Why he persists in ignoring the OTHER parts of the Safe Staffing legislation that the ANA developed & now has before Congress (along with the support of other nurses unions as well) & which address nurse RETENTION and working conditions - including zero tolerance for mandatory ot & establishing safe staffing ratio guidelines, is beyond me. Why not tell everybody about the REST of the legislation that this recruitment piece is picked from?

    Because it might make people realize that ANA nurses really are fighting for the nurse at the bedside (which they themselves actually are).

    Consistently harping on just the recruitment part of the Safe Staffing Campaign (and saying we dont need it!) while choosing to ignore THE REST of the legislations for safe staffing and working conditions that goes with it, is the only way he can get it to fit his bash-fest agenda. Unless he doesnt even know what the rest of the legislation is. And here he is writing to nurses and elected officials to OPPOSE new nurse recruitment.

    Oh Yes, that makes a lot of sense - lets just shoot ourselves in the foot & do nothing to bring in students. In fact, lets even fight against any effort to send new students to school so that in 5 yrs when we all start retiring in droves, there will be no workforce left - and only THEN can we start looking for students to send to school & tell the pts to just hang on until they graduate. Oh yes. That'll work. That is so misdirected it isnt even funny.

    In saying we dont need to recruit new nurses now, he doesnt seem to realize that the new students recruited today will not be ready to even enter the market for several years. By then it will be too late to START recruiting new students to enter nursing school to replace the mass retirements that will already be happening. They have to be FINISHED with school and ready to roll as the mass retirements begin in the next few years. Recruiting now is perfect timing and preparation for that.

    In the meantime, while beginning recruitment now AT THE SAME TIME that we work on obtaining national legislation that addresses RETENTION of current nurses and repairing workplace conditions like abolishing MOT, (instead of leaving it up to the employer to decide to repair it himself), we are hitting all angles of this crisis at the same time.... taking care of the present conditions and retention problems for now, while new students are being prepared for the near future. Why wont he recognize those parts of the legislation package? Because they make sense....... and because they were developed with the ANA.

    Maybe we are talking to a very narrow mind with blinders on, who cannot see that this nursing crisis will not be solved with JUST one piece of the legislation or the other? As the ANA and others have said, the crisis is multi-faceted & needs solutions on ALL facets AT THE SAME TIME. There is not just a recruitment effort going on as he would like people to believe (and it is very much needed as RNPD has pointed out), but there are also retention, workplace, and safe staffing efforts in conjunction with that. Its curious how he consistently ignores those parts of the legislation.

    And yes, there is an attempt to increase the representation of minority groups within the profession, including men, or would he rather that nursing remain 99% white, female while the pt population is not.

    Talk about elitist.

    Educate yourself W, and read some of the Congressional testimonies, solutions and ALL of the legislations made by ANA nurses on these issues. Youre showing your ignorance of the issues and the facts.

    (of course I know that anything said by any nurse here who is a knowledgeable, active member of their professional association will be dismissed by you, in your infinite wisdom.)

    "ANA maintains the current nursing shortage will remain and likely worsen if changes in the workplace are not immediately addressed. The profession of nursing will be unable to compete with the myriad of other career opportunities available in today's economy unless we improve working conditions. Registered nurses, hospital administrators, other health care providers, health system planners, and consumers must come together in a meaningful way to create a system that supports quality patient care and all health care providers. We must begin by improving the working environment for nursing......."

    - from the US Senate Hearing Testimony June 27, 2001
    of Anne O'Sullivan, RN
    for the American Nurses Association

    Full text at: http://www.ana.org/gova/federal/legi...01/govaref.htm
  6. by   -jt
    <How about actually waiting until we have changed things before we pursue this legislation?>

    WHAT??? Why should we have to correct one thing before we are allowed to correct another? Why cant we correct several simultaneously? Why should students have to wait for those corrections before they can begin their studies? Why should we have to wait at all?

    We're doing it all AT THE SAME TIME.

    And why cant we do it while new students are in school learning to be nurses? And when they come out of school as we begin to retire, they will have better conditions than we did because we corrected those problems while they were studying.

    Dont you know about the Patient Safety Act? The RN Staffing Act? The Mandatory OT Bill? and all the rest of the Safe Staffing Campaign legislation that is before Congress & is where the education bill youre talking about came from?

    Sorry W, but your speculation, perspective, and opinion on things is just that & is not shared by everyone.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 20, '01
  7. by   wildtime88
    JT, as I have said in the past. What legislation do you think will get through congress first and without objection, legislation which will benefit the CEOs and the American Hospital Association or legislation that will cost them?

    You are all over this board talking about how the CEOs are ignoring nurses while at the same time filling their pockets with money. You talk about how the demands of nurses are going ignored in strike after strike.

    Do you think these people and group is going to lay down silently and let legislation pass which will in effect take money out of their pocket? Decreased nurse to patient ratios will take money out of their pockets. Even with decreased nurse to patient ratios that does not address the need for more staffing on the part of support and ancillary staff.

    If you read my other topic where I point out how legislation against mandatory OT along with this legislation would actually benefit CEOs, then you would not have brought it up.

    Let's not just stop there. There is also legislation that will increase the limits on foreign nurses that is active. CEOs and the AHA are actively pushing it.

    We have already heard from Filipino nurses on this very bulletin board that there is a surplus of nurses there. So do not try and tell everyone that is not a reality that we will have to deal with as well.

    According to reports the nurses at and around the Cleveland Clinic have already had to face that reality as well as it's affects.

    JT, you are so good at talking double talk. Now whose side are you actually on the nurses or the ANA? It sounds like you are trying to play for both sides and in this situation the side that stands to loose is that of the experienced bedside nurse.

    JT you ask:
    "WHAT??? Why should we have to correct one thing before we are allowed to correct another? Why cant we correct several simultaneously? Why should students have to wait for those corrections before they can begin their studies? Why should we have to wait at all?

    We're doing it all AT THE SAME TIME."

    JT there is a basic lack of logic here on your part and the ANA's. If it was all coming together under one bill it would be a different story, but it is not. It is not "at the same time as you say". Do you remember way back when I said things need to follow a set order to insure that things are done right inorder to obtain the best results? You know 1, 2, 3, 4, ... and not 4, 2, 5, 1. I said that if things were not done in order that it could actually be counter productive and actually back fire against nurses.

    Do you remember me saying that if the problems were fixed that some of the legislation might not be needed at all?

    Do you remember me saying that by running to congress instead of allowing nurses to fix the problems that the first thing they were going to jump on was legislation to recruit more nurses as they have done in every other nursing shortage?

    Do you remember me saying that this legislation would fly through but that the other legislation would crawl through, if it made it through at all?
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 20, '01
  8. by   -jt
    <What legislation do you think will get through congress first and without objection, legislation>

    FYI, the rest of the legislative packet is also in Congress so yes several things can be done at the same time and are - including fighting against the AHA on increasing importation of foreign trained nurses. The American HOSPITAL Association has MILLIONS to wage their war with - millions to lobby, and persuade the lawmakers to take their side in that. The American NURSES Association has ONLY the funding from 8% of the nurses in this country but still we are going up against the mega-bucks AHA to fight increasing the numbers of nurses to be imported. If you dont want to see more foreign trained nurses imported, make a donation to the ANA to help in the fight against that - if you cant do anything to win the war, you really can have nothing to say about it.

    But to answer your question, I HOPE its the Nurse Reinvestment Act and N.E.E.D. that is passed immediately so that while we are getting all the rest of the safe staffing legislation through Congress, we can have students already in school beginning their studies so they can be already finished and available to step in as we begin to retire in a few years.

    In order to do that, we need to have more educators, expanded programs, better funding, and we need to have better representation of minorities, including men, in this profession. So I hope the first thing that gets passed is the very legislation you are so against - helping more people enter the profession and train while we correct the rest of the problems driving nurses away from the bedside.

    I happen to see the whole thing differently than you do & I do not see helping more people become nurses as being harmful to current nurses. They will not be ready to be nurses tomorrow. They are not going to affect supply and demand. Helping more nurses become educators, helping expand more nursing programs to admit students, and helping more students to be able to enter programs now to be the workforce of the future does not hurt our efforts in repairing present working conditions and environment now.

    You are on a crusade - but you can have your opinion and everybody else can have theirs.

    Case closed.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 21, '01
  9. by   -jt
    <Now whose side are you actually on the nurses or the ANA?>

    See, this exemplifies the difference in our perspectives - me being in there (and a bedside RN) & you on the outside knowing nothing about the organization.

    Look at your statement up there. You see the nurses of the ANA and the ANA itself as being 2 separate things.

    I see them as being one & the same.

    The ANA IS us nurses.

    But we've already gone thru that "discussion" many times so thats something you should already know. I have no intention of taking up this thread (or any other) playing that game with you. Ciao.

    To the person who started this thread asking about union vs non-union, sorry it "somehow" got off track.

    As far as my answer to the question: I will never again work in a facility that is not unionized by my state nurses association.

    Happy Holidays!
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 20, '01
  10. by   wildtime88
    JT, you are really kind of funny. You really expect intelligent people to buy into what you have said. Just because a piece of legislation that has made it to congress that does not in any way guarantee that it will pass. There have been literally thousands of pieces of legislation that have not passed through congress. There have also been many pieces of legislation that have gone through congress which were altered.

    The ANA my have millions of dollars to pay, but I guarantee you that the American Hospital Association has a lot more money to spend toward lobbyists and campaign contributions. Do you think that they are not going to work together to protect their interests? Do you not think that they are not going to take advantage of other legislation that will in the long run be beneficial to them?

    Jt please take this as being constructive. You are so hardcore ANA that you actually epitomize the reason why many nurses do not want to join the ANA. I wonder if you have a plaque saying "1. The ANA is always right. 2. If you or anyone should ever question the ANA, then see #1." There have been many nurses who have written to me telling me how you have actually turned them away from not just the ANA but unions as well. Your not perfect, I am not perfect, but mention in anyway that the ANA or the union is not perfect and watch you jump all over it. In short, to you it is either the ANA or union way or no way.

    I am not anti-union, but I do realize that there are a large number of nurses who are not in the union. I also realize with the proper leadership and national organization that they would and could benefit from many of the same tactics used by the labor movement in general.

    The more I see from you, the more I am turned off by the thought of once again being in a union. Now I am sure that there are others who see you as something different than I do. I see you as someone who would be great in management coming in saying that the company is always right. I have worked under people like you who share the same mentality of being a yes person in the past. They run in spewing the company/hospital line and defend the company/hospital under any and all circumstances. They have always left a sour taste in my mouth. You do not seem to realize that the ANA could be making a big costly mistake nor will you even consider the possibility. Take some advice and think about what you and the ANA are doing.

    One more thing, if you think people have not noticed how you dance around and avoid key issues in many of your replies in the past, then you are mistaken. Although I have to say you will make a great politician when you do make it up the ladder in the ANA. It is quite evident to many in that is your ultimate goal.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 21, '01
  11. by   nurs4kids
  12. by   Jenny P
    Okay, I'm not on the BB much for a couple of weeks, and Wildtime and JT are back at each others' throats again! C'mon guys, back off and count to 10.
    While reading through this thread, I see that there are a couple of comments made about both me and MNA.

    Wildtime, you stated "One union strike after another caved in without regard for the nurses at the other hospitals. I can still remember JennyP and others posting "next time we will........". So where is the true solidarity that you speak of? If this had been one large single group of nurses with the same demands and not willing to back down until all their demands were reached by all the hospitals in question, then things would have been far different. It would not have made one difference if they did not belong to a formal labor union. In fact, if the hospital could not count on reimbursement for the cost of temporary replacement nurses then they might have agreed with the demands much faster." Did you miss the part of it being different strikes? We had our union (MNA), but each hospital was bargaining separately with the union. And we were offered different contracts,- similar, yes, but different. It was not "WITHOUT REGARD"

    Wildtime, you keep knocking the ANA, but you don't offer anything better. I remember YOU saying that a group of nurses you worked with were b*#@$ing and you decided to be the spokesman and go into the managers office and complain; AND NO ONE BACKED YOU UP when the manager came out and asked others about your comments! That's the problem with nursing or trying to do things as an individual group of nurses. As someone said earlier on this thread, you can't get a group of nurses in a room to agree on the color of the walls in the room! There are always a lot of people who are willing to b*#@$, BUT NEVER GET UP AND DO SOMETHING TO FIX THE PROBLEM!
    So why knock JT and those of us who are willing to stick our necks out and do something for the profession? It isn't easy being involved as a rep for the union activities. It's a lot of hard work and it is something I choose not to do because I don't need that headache-- it isn't where I would excell.
    I'm a staff nurse in CV-ICU ; but I do enjoy being involved in my district, state and nat'l. nursing organizations. I am also a member of AACN, but because I invest my energy in ANA and MNA, I am "just" a dues paying member of AACN. My dues for ANA, MNA, and AACN are used for many different reasons, INCLUDING paying lobbyists to tell senators and congressmen what nursing (or at least THIS NURSE) desires.
    You talk about AHA and the AMA spending $$$ in Washington DC and elsewhere for their own interests. Well, ANA and AACN both do that too. MNA also sends out alerts with info so that we (the members) can also contact our legislators and tell them what we want. Here in Mn. we had a slogan several years ago that "1 in 44 voters is a nurse". Just THINK of the power we would have if each nurse contacted our legislators and told them what we thought of each of these bills or laws. Have you contacted yours? I do remember your saying in previous threads that you didn't think that government belonged in nursings' business. Guess what? The AMA and the AHA will take these issues to the government and make them into laws for their own good and we, as nurses, need to speak up for ourselves. And my membership in these organizations helps pay for our own voice in Washington DC. But I also use my personal voice because MNA and ANA encourage me to contact my legislators and tell them what I think.

    I'm sorry I'm off the topic here, but I did think it was necessary for me to put in my 2 cents worth also.
    Last edit by Jenny P on Dec 21, '01
  13. by   Jenny P
    One of the things that makes MNA different from southern state nursing associations is the high number of board members who are staff nurses. Our newly elected President is a Nurse Practitioner, but she was a bargaining unit chair for her hospital through most of the '90's and even received MNA's highest award for Economic and General Welfare and was chair for our Assembly of Bargaining Unit Leaders. Our 1st and 2nd VP's arestaff nurses as is our treasurer (I don't know the Secretarty, so can't say what she does. On our Board of Directors, 5 of the 7 are also staff nurses, then 1 is an educator and I don't know about the last one. I know this is slightly off topic, but MNA is an active collective bargaining organization and I thought I'd throw this info out for you to think about. Your state organization's BOD can be made up of whomever you vote in IF you are a member of the organization.

    BTW, Wildtime, you asked about Write Stuff writing about being against unions and ANA and MNA. I wrote to her and she does not work in a contract facility, has not looked into MNA, and has only been in Minnesota for about 3 years. I hope to encourage her to check it out in the near future... whether or not she joins is up to her, but it is always wise if a person looks at and studies an organization BEFORE they decide it isn't for them.

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