Agency nurse and the potential local strike!

  1. I am an agency nurse that really only works at one local hospital. I love this hospital and the staff and really fit in well!

    Well...a few of the nurses told me yesterday that they 'MAY' strike come Monday r/t labor dispute and new contracts. I got sick to my stomach right away! Oh no! I want to support them so much, and I believe in why they are striking...but I am agency, need the money badly, and well...hello...I am the scab because I am agency!

    So I get a call this AM...yep, must be true since my agency offered me shifts all week and the next, so many that I had my choice of excellent shift bids! Oh crud, I would rather picket with them and support these wonderful nurses...but, uhhhhhhgggggg!!!!!!!

    So I talked to my hubby, who is paramedic, and their staff is thinking of going union right now. I asked what I should do and he is in the same boat as me...we just bought a new house, and without my income we can't pay the house payment let alone any other bills! We both sighed and complained for a long time about these issues. But the bottom line...I have to go to work and cross the line...as sad as this is!

    I am not working Monday...and feel that I still want to support them in the informational picket planned. Should I still go and help them even though I have to cross the line the next day??? I feel that is a catch 22 in a way...support one day, then scab the next???

    What are your guys thoughts????
  2. Visit Antikigirl profile page

    About Antikigirl

    Joined: Oct '04; Posts: 2,757; Likes: 415
    Happily in Nursing Education!; from US
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    13 Comments

  3. by   clee1
    Ultimately, you have to do what is right for yourself and your family.

    You are not a union staff employee; you have no legal or moral obligation to support a strike you had no vote in calling. Strikes are never any fun for anyone involved, but you shouldn't feel pressured to follow the rest of the pack.
  4. by   Brita01
    Since you're agency, is there another hospital or other facility that the agency can send you to? I'm just thinking of the possible hostile working environment that could exist when the strike is over, and you have to work with these same nurses who watched you cross the picket line.
  5. by   Antikigirl
    I live in a very rural area and it is a long drive to the closest hospital...so I work at that one exclusively.

    I am well liked thank goodness...they are even thinking of buying out my contract and having me work there full time.

    I think if I support them, yet tell them I have to work and why...they will understand very well. I know they will be very worried about their patients, and having me help the patients may be a good thing since they know and like me very much. I am sure that a few of them will not be able to stike either due to financial reasons....

    Just a sticky situation..thanks for your comments..keep them comming!
  6. by   CoffeeRTC
    That is an iffy place to be in, but who will pay your bills? No one. Only choice is to work.
  7. by   gr8rnpjt
    Maybe a sign inside the car window, something with your company name, so they know you are not a scab, but a contracted employee who needs her job to pay the bills.
    I used to work on site at different hospitals for an insurance company. Any time I had to cross picket lines, I made sure I had the company logo on my car.
    Maybe a little sign saying, "this (your company name) agency nurse supports the nurses of "brand X" hospital and the issues involved."
  8. by   MomNRN
    While I can fully understand your need to pay your bills, trust me - they will not forget easily. Remember they are going without a paycheck too!

    I was involved in a strike 2 years ago. It got very ugly and scars remain to this day. There is nothing you can say that will make them understand your perspective.

    The scabs are considered the enemy. For those poor souls who crossed the picket line, it was very loud, very personal, and a hostile environment.

    I feel for you. It is a difficult decision to make.
  9. by   MarcusKspn
    I don't think there should be a problem with you crossing the line. They are striking for "THEIR" contracts, "THEIR" benefits. You are not an employee for the hospital, you are not affected by their contracts, you gain no benefits if they get what they want. You work for an agency, an impartial party to the strike. Go to work, let your friends know you support them, let them know that you hope they will win and that you will take good care of their patients for them while they are fighting the man.
  10. by   nursing 101
    You are in a danmed if you do and danmed if you don't situation . But me personally I would not cross that picket line bills or no bills. Because as someone said these co-workers will never forget unless you go to another floor after the strike is over. I know I wouldn't! Yeah you are not part of the hospital you are agency but you have to work with these people and at the end of the day the agency will not be there to defend you either. They are not the one entering the facility, you are. You are the one these co-workers know and worked with. The agency is just trying to make a buck. I would never cross a picket line but this is just me!
    Please think about this carefully as you have said that this is the only closest hospital in your area. You might end up looking for another job anyway after the strike because most co-workers won't make it easy for you.
    You have also said that the hospital might buy out your contract, do you think a nurse manager would hire you after crossing the line? (Just food for thought).
    So please think about this and keep us posted:spin:
  11. by   Nella
    It's tough. You are trying to pit income you need against principles and what you believe in..........tough call.

    I personally do not cross picket lines, especially if I am familiar w/ the issues and believe in the reasons strikers are walking the line. It may be their issues, but if I cross a picket line, I have taken an action that directly undermines them.

    Hope for the best. Maybe the strike will be settled quickly.
  12. by   SFCardiacRN
    You WILL ruin your future there if you cross picket lines! The union nurses won't forget and won't understand. If your current employer can't understand,change agencies. You need to go to another hospital while the strike is on.
  13. by   tencat
    It would be worth it to travel to another hospital, at least while the strike is going on. Those who walk picket lines don't forgive and forget. You will ruin your chances of being able to work at that hospital in a safe environment again. You won't be able to trust those you work with if you cross the line.
  14. by   Nella
    I disagree with the 2 posters above me. I had a good friend in management who had to cross a line within the hospital system I worked for.
    I wasn't thrilled w/ her, but understood.
    I think it's a morals question. You believe in what you believe in, or you don't.
    Walk the talk.

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