non-union, union, and a national nursing organization, does this make sense?

  1. Here is a simple question that has been on my mind for a long time.

    How come the ANA who oversees the United Nursing Association has not used it resources to rally lead nurses nationally to show some muscle and take charge and ultimate control of our own profession?

    They do not seem to have a problem with it when it comes to a labor union. So where and how do they or nurses who are opposed, for one reason or another, to being in a labor union benefit from the double standard?

    We all know that you do not have to be a dues paying, formal labor union member to say and do the same thing as union. So why have they not tried to unite every nurse nationally union and nonunion alike in the same tactics used on a national simultaneous basis?

  2. Visit wildtime88 profile page

    About wildtime88

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 379; Likes: 11


  3. by   Jay Levan
    Hey Wildtime, where ya been haven't seen you much lately
    Of course you are Right, this makes no sense. However you know as well as I that, this is the way it is, and always has been in our
    profession. I have been a vociferous supporter of a National Nurses Union for over twenty-five years now. I have pushed my
    brethren, towards this conclusion for most of that time. Lately
    I've been getting much more "positve" feedback. I have Posted here, that opinion, as well as asking the question; "Wouldn't it be nice to be able to make decisions based on Majority Rules
    I believe the answer is through a vehicle such as this, where all
    "Nurses" could register and vote on any issue that affects us directly or indirectly. Of Course as always, my feeling on this is that an active License to practice, would be required, in order to participate in the decision making process. As far as discussion is concerned, I would welcome all Input, but as far as Voting is
    concerned Valid,& Active License Good to "See you Again"
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    volunteers needed for ana biennial convention coming to philadelphia!
    ana biennial convention coming to philadelphia
    area nurses and nursing students encouraged to take active role in event

    the pennsylvania city of brotherly love, philadelphia, will host the 2002 american nurses association biennial convention june 28 - july 2 at the philadelphia convention center. highlights of the 2002 convention include over 100 educational sessions covering a variety of timely topics; three plenary sessions featuring nationally known speakers; ground rounds poster session; an exhibit hall chock full of valuable products and much more.
    as the hosting constituent member association, the pennsylvania state nurse association (psna) will play an integral role in the success of the convention. one of the largest areas in which psna is responsible for is volunteers; nearly 200 are needed to assist in a variety of ways. volunteer activities include:

    assembling registration packets (will take place the two days prior to the convention)

    working as a monitor for continuing education sessions

    assisting with the house of delegates sessions (this is a great activity for nursing students)

    providing support at the convention registration table

    helping ana staff in various ways as needs arise

    this is an exciting opportunity for new or long-time members, students, or non-member nurses who are interested in learning more about ana and would like to network with other nursing professionals. incentives for volunteers will be offered based on the number of hours worked. incentives might include rebates on convention registration, goodies bags, free gifts and more. you will have fun, we promise!
    to lend a hand or for more information, contact lori anne artz in the psna communications program at 1-888-707-7762, ext. 208 or email

    dear nursing supporters:

    please consider volunteering your time for this event. you do not have to be an ana member to participate. this is a once in a lifetime happening. come rub shoulders with nursing leaders from across the us and abroad. conventions are such invigorating events. see first hand nursing live as the house of delegates debates policy, procedure and directions for the ana to take over the next two years. ceu sessions are also available.

    i've been to three national conventions and left enthused about nursing again each time. i'll will be there as on bod of delaware county nursing assoc. next door neighbor in philadelphia suburbs. promise a philly soft pretzel and cheese steak from the reading terminal market (next door to the convention site) to any one of my contacts who assists along with a guided tour of philly if interested and time allows!

    karen o' hara rn, bsn
    any vacation time available to come and participate and have your voice heard, see us in action. love to introduce to rocky's stomping grounds too if interested. could work on housing for you. karen

  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    Here is a simple question that has been on my mind for a long time. How come the ANA who oversees the United Nursing Association has not used it resources to rally lead nurses nationally to show some muscle and take charge and ultimate control of our own profession?
    You've seen by posts on this bulletin board, some especially diverse opinions and heated topics that concensus building is EXTREMELY difficult.

    "You can lead a horse to water but can not make it drink."

    There is a lot of apathy and uncaring by some nurses who view nursing as a JOB rather than a CAREER with professional responsibilities.

    Check here to see what the organizations overall activites are and benefits of membership:

    Check here to see the latest months national activites:
    "In the past two years, the ANA has focused its work on core issues of vital concern to the nation's registered nurses - staffing, health and safety, workplace rights, continuing competence and patient safety/advocacy."

    An organization is only as strong as the MEMBERSHIP WHO PARTICIPATE. Down to just 5 nurses actively coming out to support nursing activities out of over 110 members in my district. Twenty years ago we averaged 40 perons with 800-1000 members when unions part of the district, still less than 10 %participation.
  6. by   nurs4kids
    Da MAN is back!!! I see him winding up for the "pitch". LOL

    Excellent points wild and Jay!
  7. by   -jt
    #1 The ANA does not "over see" the UAN. The UAN is a separate branch within the ANA. The members of the UAN - collective bargaining nurses - over see the UAN.

    #2 Both the UAN & the ANA operate as a democracy abiding by the majority rules system you mention. Its structure is based on that of the House of Representatives in Congress:

    The number of "Representatives" (delegates) is proportional to the member population of each state. The Representatives are nurses elected by the members in their states to work for them. & to represent their vote on organization business for them.

    Majority rules.

    #3 The UAN IS organizing in every state that nurses have asked it to organize in. It doesnt barge in on nurses & try to recruit them to organize. It goes where it is invited by a group of nurses who are interested in organizing at their facility. That includes the South. So if you are so inclined, get a group of like-minded nurses together from your facility & invite us .......

    The UAN is already organized in the following states:

    District of Columbia
    New Jersey
    New York
    North Carolina
    Virgin Islands
    West Virginia

    Since you always have so many questions about the ANA & frequently seem not to understand how it operates or know what it is doing, it might be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more & have your questions answered by attending the ANA National Convention in Philly this summer.
    Its open to non-members & CEUs are available. So instead of trying to get your info straight off message boards, why not just go to Philly & learn it first-hand. Not only is it a business trip tax deduction but you will be able to give your many ideas, comments, & criticisms right to the source itself. You always have a lot to say about the ANA. Heres your chance to say it where it will be heard.

    Hope to see you in Philly.
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 30, '01
  8. by   wildtime88
    Karen, I found the info interesting, but this does not answer the question I posed.

    If the ANA can approve of their very own nursing union, then why have they not put forth the same effort in trying to organize and rally nurses nationally using the same union tactics? Do nurses truly have to belong to a formal labor union to use the same tactics? Do they have to pay dues in order to be lead?

    The California Nurses association in many ways does not think so. They have rallied nonunion and union nurses into protesting.

    Is the main reason for the appearance of labor unions in nursing a direct result and an alternative of the poor leadership of the ANA of the past and present?

    I did like you analogy of leading a horse. Here is something to think about in that context. What if the horse does not want to go in the direction it is being lead. What if the horse wants to go somewhere else which it sees as better. No one wants to drink stale or dirty water. Some do not want to be lead a hundred miles out of the way either.

    I personally look at the ANA as an organization which has in so many ways become two faced.

    They control a labor union and receive money from that organization, but they have not actively tried to rally nonunionized nurses into using the same tactics as they approve of with respect to the union they over see. They claim to speak for all nurses yet they actively make differences that are apparent as the proof previously mentioned. Now when someone claims to speak for someone else, for some reason I believe they mean represent them and lead them as well. As we can all see this has not been the case. Yet it seems that it has been very unequal. This is pretty much the way things have been in the past when they were focused on the NPs and others and ignored the concerns of the bedside nurses.

    So I ask again, why has the ANA not tried to rally all nurses both nonunion and union alike into a national protest using the same tactics it support as head of the United Nurses Association? Do we really have to join a formal labor union and pay dues to be united as nurses and use the same type of tactics to say NO MORE?

    A good national nurses association with good leadership could lead us all in a unified national simultaneous movement in which we could take charge and gain control of our own profession. A good national organization dedicated to all nurses would not make any distinction between nonunionized and unionized nurses. Under these definitions the ANA would not be considered a good national leader for nurses. It would not even be considered an organization who speaks for or represents all nurses.

    All this being said and the blatant segregation apparent, then why would I want to support of even participate in such an organization, let alone help support them financially? If the best response to this is because it is the only national organization that we have, then would it not be better to find a replacement and cut the money supply to this one so it will die?
    The low participation and membership by other nurses including myself is not a myth, it is a statement of fact. There are reasons for it. I for one do not see the ANA as a national leader and I am willing to bet that the majority of 93% of nurses across the U.S. do not as well. In fact, this is the reason some state nursing associations have broken away from the ANA all together.

    Here is part of another post on a different topic and hold so true with the question and confusion I have:

    <A lot of us know that in reality it is our own fault for allowing it to get this bad and even continue to get worse. We could have stopped this as a group many years ago. Sorry guys, but I wish we had a national organization with the guts and muscle to lead us into taking control of our own profession. Instead the only one we have chose to run to Washington for help basically saying that we were not able to fix our own problems, let alone take charge and control our own profession. Someone basically pulled out the dusty old manual titled what to do in a nursing shortage which has been around for a century and used every 10 or so years and followed the same old steps that did not actually fix the problems then and will not fix them today. They have succeeded in getting legislation started to throw money into nursing school, increase visa limits, which incidentally were lowered just 6 or 7 years ago, but not a whole hell of a lot more. They succeeded in opening the door for the hospital association to step in and run with the ball on that one. I am sure the nurses who work for and around the Cleveland Institute are very grateful for that. I am sure there will be many of us before it is over with that will be grateful as well.

    Well anyway that is already been set into motion and it seems like the nursing leadership, and I use that word loosely, is content to let it continue. I have yet to see a call from them for a national protest which actually would hit home saying we are not going to allow it. Has anyone else? But on a side note they did raise their membership dues and I am sure that each state under their control will follow and not just to cover their increase either. Nurses at the bedside, for the most part, have not gotten any substantial raises in the last 6 to 8 years, our out of pocket expenses have continued to rise as well. So I do not want to hear about how much money it is costing to send out this or that or anything else. I am sure that no one near the top of the organization is staying at Motel 6 when they travel to this or that. Do you?

    Anyway enough said about that. Now, would it not be great if we did have a national organization who would lead us and rally us all together to say NO MORE!, from now on we are going to be in charge of out own practices and profession. We are going to set the rules under which we practice under. This includes staffing ratios, including ancillary and support services. This also includes the paper work which is filled out as well as the initial evaluations and assessments for other departments such as dietary, social services, case management, physical therapy and the like. They will have to actually come to the bedside to see the patient and do their own initial evaluations and assessments. Customer service is not a nursing function so if you want to promote the atmosphere of the Ritz then you will have to hire non-nursing personnel to do it. And one more thing, you pay other companies for nursing time so now you will have to find a way to pay us what we are actually worth and if that mean you personally take home a million or two less each year in pay, bonuses, or benefits, then too bad. We will not feel bad if you have to give up your luxury car for a mid sized chevy or start sending you kids to public school with ours.

    How nice would that be. How many changes do you think we could make for the better? How long do you think it would be before we could say to someone without hesitation thinking about coming into nursing that it truly would be a great choice as a career and profession? >

    Do not forget this all comes from my original question and maybe a reasonable answer to that might allow me to understand.
  9. by   wildtime88
    Jt I am so glad you jumped in on this one. Have you not only actually caused me more confusion on this topic, but you have in a way helped me to prove a point.

    <JT---#1 The ANA does not "over see" the UAN. The UAN is a separate branch within the ANA. The members of the UAN - collective bargaining nurses - over see the UAN.>

    Wildtime--I have come accross statements on the ANA website were the president of the ANA resides over the UAN. The wording may be different but the meaning is the same. Even your wording <a separate branch> mean they is no real separation. The UAN is not a separate and independent association. The president of the ANA is ultimately at the head of the UAN.

    <JT---#3 The UAN IS organizing in every state that nurses have asked it to organize in. It doesnt barge in on nurses & try to recruit them to organize. It goes where it is invited by a group of nurses who are interested in organizing at their facility. That includes the South. So if you are so inclined, get a group of like-minded nurses together from your facility & invite us .......>

    Wildtime-- Hey this is all fine and good for the UAN, but as I remember the ANA is suppose to be a national organization dedicated to nurses, both nonunion and union alike. As an organization it claims to speak for and represent all nurses. As such, do we have to ask them to lead us? If the ANA condones as well as promotes the use of labor union tactics for some nurses, then why not try to organize all nurses in a national simultaneous movement using the same tactics without the need to join a formal labor union? What about the nurses that do not want to belong to a formal labor union? Are they seen some how less deserving by the ANA? In order to stand up and say NO MORE, do we really have to join a formal labor union or would the leadership of a good national nursing organization truly representing the interests of all nurses not serve the same purpose. Could not a good national nursing organization unite all nurses using labor union tactics in order to help the nurses out there who do not belong to a formal labor union?

    Ok lets recap, the UAN is not over seen by the ANA, but they are a branch that the president of the ANA is ultimately over. They are not an independent and separate association, but the ANA has no control over them even though the president of the ANA is ultimately over them. The ANA has not or will not use the same means that it allows its branch to use in order to unify nurses nationally unless they intend on becoming a dues paying member of the UAN. The ANA ultimately practices segregation of nurses, Union vs Nonunion.

    Wow, now that really clarified things for me. LOL <laughing out of confusion>

    I still do not see a reasonable or rational answer to my original question. Sorry, but this last attempt just seems to boil down to a lot of double talk.

    Sorry, I have everything right here to help you, but you are in the wrong line. If you will step into the line next to you, then I will personally be more willing to help you. Did I forget to mention, they will be an added fee for this.
  10. by   -jt
    <The UAN is not a separate and independent association. The president of the ANA is ultimately at the head of the UAN.>

    Once again you are wrong. Mary Foley, RN, is the President of the ANA. She is not in charge of the UAN. Nobody at the ANA is in charge of the UAN. The only members of the UAN are collective bargaining direct-care nurses. And only they vote on issues pertaining to the UAN. ANA members who are not collective bargaining direct-care nurses have absolutely nothing to do with the UAN & no input on decisions and activities of the UAN.

    It is a separate branch within the ANA because the whole idea of its creation was to have a labor union for nurses that is affiliated with the national organization for nurses. Our members did not want to go the route of CA & Mass. They wanted to stay connected with the ANA & also have their own labor union. So thats what they created. Although the ANA supports collective bargaining for nurses, it is not a labor union. It has a different purpose. The UAN is the labor union. You keep saying that the ANA over sees the UAN. It does not but Im sure you will never believe you are wrong.

    Cheryl Johnson, RN, a staff nurse in Michigan, is the President of the UAN and also holds a seat on the executive board of the AFL-CIO. Anne Converso, RN, a staff nurse from NY is the Vice President of the UAN. Susan Bianchi--Sands is the Executive Director of the UAN. She is directed by the UAN Executive Council which is comprised of elected staff nurses - this term from NY, Illinois, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota, & DC.

    I am not going to argue with you. You dont believe anything anyone involved with the organization says anyway & none of us can give you any information which is to your satisfaction. You have things so twisted and distorted with your own spin on everything that its no wonder youre confused.

    It seems to me you dont want to learn the answers to your questions. You have been invited many times to help sort out your confusion & have been given NUMEROUS opportunities over the past yr to come & observe, ask questions, give your comments, ideas & criticisms, yet you have not taken any one of those opportunities to clear up your confusion. I doubt you have ever contacted the UAN for information via mail either. So I have to wonder how interested you really are in having your questions answered and your confusion cleared.

    You have been offered a ton of opportunities to be proactive but you prefer to blow steam on a message board & continuously post inaccurate information about an organization which you are not involved with & refuse to learn anything about. Far be it for me to stand in the way of your enjoyment. Have fun.
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 30, '01
  11. by   wildtime88
    Hey JT, Do you really want to continue this farce or would you like me to continue posting contradictory information from the ANAs own web site? This is how much control the ANA exerts over the UAN. Now, why does the ANA not rally and lead all nurses in the same way?

    <The ANA Executive Director shall have the authority to manage the UAN and is responsible for implementing the policies established by the National Labor Assembly and the Executive Council. >

    <establish and implement an effective national labor program within ANA; >

    <The purposes of the UAN shall be to further the purposes of ANA >

    <The ANA Executive Director shall have the authority to manage the UAN and is responsible for implementing the policies established by the National Labor Assembly and the Executive Council.>

    < establish and implement an effective national labor program within ANA >


    < Material in boldface italics is from the ANA bylaws >

    < The purposes of the UAN shall be to further the purposes of ANA >

    < The nurses, from the American Nurses Association (ANA) and ANA's labor arm, the United American Nurses (UAN) >
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 1, '01
  12. by   OC_An Khe
    Back to your original queation.
    All RNs can join the ANA if they wish to, and in some cases non-RNs also(if my memoery serves me correctly). However there are many RNs that are precluded by LAW from forming or joining a labor Union.
    For example RNs in managerial postions (including in some cases an RN that assumes charge on a unit) are excluded from NLRB protection. In fact there are many case law examples that require the managerial RN to represent first and act in the interest of the employer first. In fact if they act in behalf of their patients and or profession ahead of their employer they can be fired for cause and have no legal recource. Its difficult to be a patient advocate or come to professional consensus when your means of making a living is threatened. This cross interests in the law also makes it extremely difficult to have one organization that represents all RNs let alone all members of the nursing feild.
    Find an organization that has the potential to meet most of your goals, no organization will meet them all and become an active member. Become active politcally also, as elected officials do respond to constituent pressure. Much of what is wrong in the employment setting in Nursing can not be fixed without federal funding and laws that level the playing feild.
    Whether you believe in Unions or not doesn't matter but there is one truth that must be acknowledged. There is strenght in both numbers and unity of purpose. It is what our nation was founded upon.
    Last edit by OC_An Khe on Dec 1, '01
  13. by   wildtime88

    Your response still does not answer my original question or explain why a national organization, supposedly dedicated to all nurses, has not attempted to rally all nurses both nonunion and union by using the same tactics it encourages on one hand into a unified simultaneous protest.

    There is a bias that exists here. The only difference I can actually see is the additional revenue collected from the dues paid in from members of a formal labor union.

    The ANA could lead all nurses in the same tactics in a unified simultaneous action and in the process get rid of the need for a formal labor union all together. This is the reality. The only thing they would actually loose would be the revenue they collect.

    Maybe someone has said, why offer and do something for free that we can make money from?

    As for another national organization, which one would you suggest that would step up and unite all nurses LPN and RN alike?

    Maybe we need a new one. Maybe we need a new one who is strictly dedicated to the betterment of our profession and who strictly focuses on nurses at the bedside. The choices are non existent.

    As of right now, for many nurses it is the ANA or nothing. Many nurses have shown that given that choice they would rather have nothing. In fact, when you take into account of nurses willing to join the ANA, it is running at 93% or so in favor of nothing. I seriously doubt that any other national organization actually dedicated to all the members in a profession with good leadership and focused on improving the conditions for all has that dismal of a membership base.

    This is another cold hard fact. A strong, dedicated, and wise leadership focused on the problems of the majority of the profession they represent, who use all the tactics at hand for the good of everyone, promote active participation and increased membership in and of its self. An organization who actively promotes and practices segregation lives and also benefits by the results.

    Yes, we do need unification and there is more power in numbers. This is why, more now than ever, we need a national organization who can through its vision, leadership, and strength of all nurses in the profession lead us as a united group and not justify the difference between what it does on one hand and not on the other.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 1, '01
  14. by   WashYaHands
    My understanding is that the ANA is a professional organization for nurses that utilizes the political process to change and create laws that benefit the profession of nurses across the board. One example is the Needlestick Safety Act. I saw this law enacted in my facility when we transitioned to needless systems. It was not a labor union or union members who mandated the transition, it was national legislation. In addition, my state nurses association in conjunction with the ANA lobbied to prevent a law from passing in the state legislature that would allow facilities to renig on paying overtime for any hours worked over 12 in one shift. Fortunately, the law did not pass, so facilities must pay nurses overtime for any time worked over 12 hours in one shift in my state. My view is that one of the roles the ANA serves is to lobby congress (Political Activist Committee) to support or vote against legislation that effects nurses and the nursing profession across the board politically. I think they do try to rally nurses to be politically active where laws and legislation is concerned, but their focus is the political legislative arena.

    Conversely, a labor union (or this arm of the ANA) and its members seek to change policies within a facility or facilities for fair labor practices that benefit the nurses who are employed there. For example, a nursing strike in one city at one facility may be beneficial to the nurses who are employed there (and I fully support any nurse who strikes for the profession or patient care), but their victories may not effect the facility where I work.

    To attempt to answer the question, my view is that the reason that the ANA does not rally nurses, union or otherwise, to protest and lead in facility policy change is because that is not their mission or purpose, their purpose is to serve as political change agent for the profession and the public by working with congress to change laws.

    ANA membership is an option. I do not always agree with their positions and I believe they realize this of their members, therefore, using labor union tactics is not appropriate for the purpose of the organization.