scab nursing

  1. tonight at work, my coworkers and I saw a fax came through around 5pm, mentioning a 'possible nursing strike' at an unnamed hospital in my state. The only other information provided was the maximum weekly pay, the need for a one-week minimum, vague mentions of all-expenses paid for transportation/lodging, and a phone number to contact if interested. When someone mentioned that they might call, another (very experienced) nurse said that they would be considered a 'scab nurse' if they crossed the picket line to work at the facility where such grievances are present.

    I've never heard this term used before, although I can gather that stepping in to work at a facility where nurses are on strike doesn't exactly get greeted with smiles from colleagues. Where did it come from? Have any members of the board ever been a part of this kind of nursing? What's it like on the other side, to be the nurses that utilize collective bargaining to meet their needs?
  2. Visit defyinggravity2009 profile page

    About defyinggravity2009

    Joined: Apr '09; Posts: 16; Likes: 19
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in Complex care, tele


  3. by   klone
    "Scab" is considered a derogatory term (I used it here once and was roundly chastised).

    I would never do it, but more due to fear of personal harm than out of allegiance.

    Those who do travel nursing might do this quite often, although I imagine that many travel nurses would turn down a strike assignment.
  4. by   MN-Nurse
    The hiring of replacement nurses is something the striking nurses know must occur. They (the striking RNs) know patients cannot go completely without care.

    It is the cost of the "scabs" or replacements that places a burden on the hospital.

    I'm in a union and if I went on strike I would wish only the best for the RNs brought in to take care of people.
  5. by   evolvingrn
    "scab' is generally the deragotorry term for people that cross lines at factories and a hospital replacement nurses are a must during a strike.
  6. by   TriciaJ
    I wouldn't cross a picket line to undermine anyone's collective bargaining efforts. Striking nurses generally provide critical care staffing pools for the sickest patients. Most nurses will not strike on a whim or for better pay (as the media likes to imply). When nurses strike it's almost ALWAYS an issue of appropriate staffing levels and safe patient care. Why would you want to undermine anyone's effort to achieve that?

    I've worked where there is a union contract and I've worked places without a union contract. Guess which I'd choose every time? And I would dumpster-dive before I would undermine other nurses.
  7. by   Merlyn
    I tried it once but here in Jersey they were throwing lead around and about. So I quit. It can get pretty ruff. It was a time when people just wanted to bring the hospital to a stop. The hell with the patients.
    They wanted more pay and benefits. After ten days of the supervisors taking care of the patients. The strike was over. The nurses won. But for years after the nurses that did not strike were looked down as Scabs not to be trusted. This was back in the 70's.
  8. by   Aurora77
    I heard a couple of nurses from my hospital went to CA and supposedly made fantastic money as scabs. More power to them. I don't believe in unions for middle to upper middle class workers, so I'd be very comfortable doing the same should the opportunity arise.
  9. by   Flo.
    I strongly believe in unions. I would never cross a picket line.
  10. by   dscrn
    Quote from evolvingrn
    "scab' is generally the deragotorry term for people that cross lines at factories and a hospital replacement nurses are a must during a strike.
    a scab by any other name is still a scab...Hospitals on the verge of a strike often contract with out of state nurses,,provide lodging, transportation, and sizeable salaries-and patient care often suffers...maybe hospitals should try to treat employees to the same "ride" that scabs are offerred...
  11. by   TrafalgarRN
    Its amazing when i see people say we don't need any union and yet they come crying to AA when the Sh*t hits the fan. I see people cry about having 10 ER patients, 7 Medsurg Patients or even 4 ICU patients . I see people cry how they got laid off without reason since their boss hates them or even fired without any investigation. So many complains and yet when offered a chance to unionize they claim they are better for those who don't want to unionize and have an opportunity i say tough luck.
    Back to the topic:
    1. Union forever ; i would never cross a picket line.
    2. Yes they are scabs...the money is good..there were rumors about people making almost $1500 for working a 12 hour shift + Transportation, accommodation...
    3. We don't unionize for money...we unionize for better working conditions, patient safety, better treatment of workers....that's why i gladly pay my union dues and i see them work. 5 % increases a year, Patient ratios enforced; Clear guidelines on clinical ladder advancement, no mandatory overtime, no work place harassment , unfair firing practices e.t.c....> that's what a union is for. My union has fought for 3 successive contracts where i get free medical, dental and vision coverage....corporate attempted to take it once but we held six 1 day strikes and they got the message..yet they earned billions and claimed to be non-profit.

    Its not easy to be unionized; sacrifices have to be made. Its ridiculous when people buy management's position that unions will create loss of jobs ...blah...blah...> Yet same management withhold opportunities, wages,pay the CEO and other executives millions , benefits e.t.c ...but when it comes to nursing they downsize departments, don't hire enough staff and don't even pay them reasonable wages. Wake up people...smell the coffee
  12. by   DeliveryRN2007
    Although I personally would not strike nurse, the nurses on strike have to realize that SOMEONE needs to take care of the patients.
  13. by   hiddencatRN
    It's a union term for strikebreakers. It doesn't come from nursing specifically.
  14. by   bagladyrn
    I come from a background of generations of union workers all the way back to the formation of unions - there is no way I would ever cross a picket line and choose not to work for an agency which staffs strikes. I do not have respect for those who do so. I would not be vengeful toward them but would never look at them with any degree of respect again. Harsh, but there it is.
    And to clarify for those who think they are "costing the hospital" by being highly paid for strike breaking - hospitals fund this out of an insurance fund they all pay into. The cost of strikebreakers does NOT come out of the hospital's operating budget.
    As for "someone has to take care of the patients", when a strike is planned the facility is given (required) 10 business day notice of "intent to strike" to allow time for transfer or discharge of patients. In the case of specialized care not available elsewhere or patients too fragile to move arrangements are made for union nurses to go in to care for those patients and then return to the picket lines without any detriment to them. So that argument doesn't wash either.