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Do I have to join the Union?

Union   (2,569 Views | 11 Replies)

anne_marie_oregon has 6 years experience and specializes in Nursing.

1 Follower; 5,793 Profile Views; 150 Posts

Hello nurses,

I am starting a new job in Northern California where the nurses are represented by CNA. During orientation, I raised my hand to ask if joining the union was optional or required. I didn't get a straight answer, but I did get a long discussion about the good things the union does in the organization.

I agree, labor unions and CNA in particular does a lot to help with fair nurse/patient ratios and to negotiate raises. But I have a few concerns ... why is CNA authoring bills (such as SB-562 the Healthy California Act) ... that may not represent the interests of its members? What if I don't agree with SB-562, now I have helped foot the bill for this legislation to be enacted?

Also, quite honestly, I have been a member of a nurses union previously (in another state) and I had a scenario where the Union representative of our unit asked me to sign a petition regarding our retirement plans. I felt very pressured to sign, and when I said I wanted to understand what I was signing better, the Union Rep got very annoyed and started to challenge me, asking me why I didn't care about our retirement plan.

I do care about the retirement plan!! But that doesn't mean I'm just going to go along and sign everything the Union wants me to sign!!! I get to have a personal opinion, too ... right?

And it's actually really expensive to be a part of the Union - over $1,200 per year. I asked about Union dues during the presentation and the question I asked was, "Is this pre-tax or after-tax?" The guy looked at me and told me I would need to ask my accountant that information ... and he said, "That's what you pay your accountant for, right?"

Not everyone has an accountant, by the way. Some of us just use turbo tax. I googled it - and it is an after-tax expense. I really felt like my questions were unwelcome and that if I don't just tow-the-line with the Union, that I will be persona non grata.

It just feels to me a little bit adversarial.

I honestly do NOT want to join the Union. I asked if I could just take the paper and think about it and I got a shpeal about how it's easier to sign up now. I really do feel pressured to enroll in the union - but I don't want to do it, quite honestly.

I understand that there is a law that states I do NOT have to join the Union if I don't want to - I have read that ... "Workers have the right, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to refuse to join a union."

Supreme Court Ruling Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions - The New York Times

I am just trying to educate myself on this issue and understand my own opinion about labor unions.

What are the pros and cons of belonging to a nursing union? How many nurses out there have chosen NOT to be a part of the Union, and has there been any repercussions?

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pedi.

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The article you cite is about government employees and whether or not they can be required to pay dues if they don't join the union.

California is not a right to work state so, as far as I am aware, you can be compelled to join the union as a condition of employment.

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anne_marie_oregon has 6 years experience and specializes in Nursing.

1 Follower; 150 Posts; 5,793 Profile Views

Yes, I agree. I am trying to understand the difference between a right-to-work state and a forced union. Yes, I agree that I may be compelled to join the union. Which is fine. Just wanting to better understand my rights.

I just wish the Union Reps would have more directly answered my questions, rather than just giving me a schtick about how great the union is. If I have to join ... then I will. But I will be silently objecting ;-)

And who the heck is setting the rates for the Union dues? I hope that is something we get to vote on!!!

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pedi.

1 Article; 7,344 Posts; 68,609 Profile Views

Yes, I agree. I am trying to understand the difference between a right-to-work state and a forced union. Yes, I agree that I may be compelled to join the union. Which is fine. Just wanting to better understand my rights.

I just wish the Union Reps would have more directly answered my questions, rather than just giving me a schtick about how great the union is. If I have to join ... then I will. But I will be silently objecting ;-)

And who the heck is setting the rates for the Union dues? I hope that is something we get to vote on!!!

I don't know about California but in my state monthly union dues are 2x your hourly rate but there's a minimum and maximum.

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10 Followers; 3,594 Posts; 26,238 Profile Views

A "right to work" state means you cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of your employment. The opposite being a "closed shop" where you must. My facility is unionized however we are "right to work". This means anybody who chooses not to pay dues can be employed and enjoy the rights and benefits of the union contract that everybody else pays for but they don't. Kind of slimy if you ask me. My dues are post-tax but can be claimed when I itemize for tax purposes. I admit I'm not up to date on our national union's political activities, the state chapter is not particularly vocal about any issues. We are also a "no strike" union. Honestly, my experience with the union has been predominantly positive.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

4 Followers; 6,611 Posts; 68,669 Profile Views

Up until the Janus decision, you could choose to not join a union but still have to pay the costs associated with negotiating the contract that covers you, you weren't required to pay for union costs such as political lobbying. After Janus, you don't even have to pay the cost related to negotiating the employment contract that covers you, allowing you to essentially take advantage of the union's efforts without paying for them. There are pro's and con's to this, unions do sometimes become a bit lazy since they get paid whether they do a good job negotiating or not, those whom the union represents should be able to express their displeasure with the union by not paying them. At the same time, nurses are clearly better off when represented by a union.

I often disagree with union parent organizations as well, but I'm not sure why you feel SB-562 "may not represent the interests of their members" since it's an act that ensures equal access to healthcare services, which is a core interest of nurses.

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wondern has 20 years experience as a ASN.

1 Follower; 694 Posts; 11,191 Profile Views

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I'd sure try to join one if I was going to work again and if a union was even available to me still after all these years. Are they still not too big in the south? Who/what keeps them away? The big hospital corporations, lobbyists, who, who, who, who?

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ArmyRntoMD has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

314 Posts; 720 Profile Views

Probably lack of interest. I along with most of my coworkers aren’t interested  in unions. I make WELL above the average income for my area as well as have an amazing schedule. I don’t feel like paying extra money for dues or being told when I can work 

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Catedi has 9 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric.

30 Posts; 1,926 Profile Views

First, I must congratulate you for having the opportunity to work in the most glorious of situations - that of a nurse in a state that employs safe nursing/patient ratios. To say I'm envious is an understatement, as 300,000 patients a year die due to RN understaffing. Right to Work laws essentially gives the EMPLOYER the right to let you work ON THEIR TERMS. They are not worker-centric laws. I live in Ohio. I belong to a Union. I am a nurse. What I've learned is, no workplace has a union simply because the thought it a cute idea. The union was sorely needed. Be supportive and pay your dues, and know that without that union your paycheck would be so much lighter than the dues you pay and your back would be so much closer to retirement than you could believe. Good luck with your career! 

 

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41 Posts; 692 Profile Views

Unions are evil.  They protect the incompetent, the lazy and the stupid.  I would never join a union or go into a company that has one.  I have honor and integrity.  They do not. With a history of poorly made products and connections the mob.  Only lazy, incompetent fools join them.

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10 Followers; 3,594 Posts; 26,238 Profile Views

@ORDC pretty sure you’re a management shill given the timing of your bringing up all these necro-posts and the fact that in the middle of a pandemic where we are being treated as disposable nurses are realizing that the only way they have a voice is as a collective 

We don’t need your moronic stereotypes right now. 

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

14 Followers; 3,701 Posts; 38,464 Profile Views

On 3/27/2020 at 7:41 PM, ORDC said:

Unions are evil.  They protect the incompetent, the lazy and the stupid.  I would never join a union or go into a company that has one.  I have honor and integrity.  They do not. With a history of poorly made products and connections the mob.  Only lazy, incompetent fools join them.

Big on adjectives.  Short on content.  I smell management shill for sure.

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