Union facilities vs non-union

  1. Hi all,

    I just finished up my nursing education two days ago (yay!). I will be graduating with my BSN in two weeks. I am currently in hunt for my first nursing job and I was wondering what some of you all thought about union vs non-union facilities and the pros and cons of both. By the way, I live in Chicago; local examples/opinions/experiences would be a plus.
    Last edit by Nrskiwi on Apr 28, '09
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    About Nrskiwi

    Joined: Jun '07; Posts: 3; Likes: 1

    10 Comments

  3. by   RN1982
    Well, I don't necessarily think that just because nurses at a certain hospital have a union means that it is better. I just know from complaints from friends who worked at a unionized hospital and when it came time to vote on a new contract, only a 1/4 of the nurses turned out to vote. To me thats sad. I work at a non-union hospital and I think the pay is comparable to the hospitals in the area, union and non-union. I'm not saying union is a bad thing, it is a good thing when utilized to its full potential.
  4. by   JBudd
    Pro: on the job protection from "at will" firings. In my hospital, scheduling protection and a voice in conditions and benefits.

    Con: having to pay dues, (they add up). Having my union support (with my money) political causes I am against, supporting politicians who will never vote my position on issues.

    In my case, pros very much outweigh cons.
  5. by   HippyGreenPeaceChick
    The way I was raised I was always taught that the union was yankee. And that the Non union was the South. I will always live south of the Mason Dixon Line.
  6. by   CABG patch kid
    I work in a union hospital, honestly I don't notice the union dues taken out of my check (it taken out pretax so that helps).

    The thing that I do notice is that we have a pay scale and we are GUARANTEED to make the hourly wage that our scale says we are to make. We are guaranteed raises at certain times of the year. Some people will say that this is unfair compared to merit raises, those who work not so hard make just as much an hour as those who work very hard. But in the same token, this prevents favoritism; you know your coworker didn't just get a raise because she's a brown noser. We also have many other "protection" things in our contract, such as no mandatory overtime, strict break rules (as in everyone gets their breaks), regular full time employees are always preferred for overtime before per diems and registry, things like that.

    Honestly I've never worked at another hospital as an RN but from what I've seen, the contract is there to protect the employees. Sure, 90% of the time you don't even think about it, but I sure am glad to have a job where I know in these tough times, I'm still getting two raises this year. There, I said it. :spin:
  7. by   BradleyRN
    Unions give you a bigger voice. In places without them, if someone speaks out against deplorable working conditions, they are made examples of, to send out the message that dissent will not be tolerated. There is no better example of what unions can do than the California Nurses Association, who fought to pass laws requiring ratios in every nursing department, rather than just in the ICU like the rest of the country has. :spin:
  8. by   llg
    I have worked in a unionized hospital and in several non-union hospitals. The pay and benefits were bettern in the unionized hospital -- but the relationship between the management and the staff was much, much worse as each looked at the other as "the enemy." The years of contentious contract negotiations had pretty much destroyed the relationship.

    The extra pay and benefits were not worth it to me as I would rather work in a hospital where there is a happier, more trusting relationship between the management and the staff. But every once-in-a-while, when I am unhappy with my current hospital, I wish they would get a little "scare" and feel that unionization is a possibility. :-) Sometimes, I can imagine myself voting for a union.
  9. by   nicurn001
    If you have a good managment at your hospital , you may not feel the need to unionize , but the management philosophy can change at any time , if it does you may no longer be happy and have no voice to pressure management to reassess its new philosophy .
    In a unionozed hospital the relationship between labor and management is spelled out in the contract BOTH sides agreed to . So no arbitrary changes can be made by either side .
    Friction comes about when one side tries to work around the contract ,because they are used to doing exactly as they please , in the majority of cases these acts are caused by a manager chaffing under the retraint of the contract .
  10. by   BradleyRN
    Quote from llg
    The pay and benefits were bettern in the unionized hospital -- but the relationship between the management and the staff was much, much worse as each looked at the other as "the enemy."
    Id rather management look at me as the "enemy" than as their "whipping boy". They are made up of businessmen or sold out nurses, and their profit-driven points of view will never align with my safety-driven one. :spin:
  11. by   llg
    Quote from BradleyRN
    Id rather management look at me as the "enemy" than as their "whipping boy". They are made up of businessmen or sold out nurses, and their profit-driven points of view will never align with my safety-driven one. :spin:
    That's the point of my original post. In the unionized hospital, years of contract negotiations had led to that type of poisonous relationship -- and I don't like working in that type of environment.

    In the non-unionized hospitals where I worked, the relationship between staff and management was much more positive. The managers have not been only "sold out nurses," but rather good staff nurses who were promoted to leadership positions. The worst management I have ever encountered was in the unionized hospital -- and I believe the years of contentious negotiations contributed to the development of those horrible management attitudes. In the non-unionized hospitals where I have worked, the relationship has not been so bad -- and the management has wanted to keep the relationship a positive one in order to prevent the staff from voting for a union. That has given those non-union hospitals a big incentive to maintain a positive attidute and reasonable practices.

    I have seen the threat of unionization be more powerful and a more positive influence than actually having a union.
  12. by   jmeng
    Here my view from my experience working in both union and non-union. If you are just planning to eventually go to school and advance yourself and you are a young nurse...beleive me go with non union. The pay is sort of comparable to non-unionized hospitals. and more young people and more good nurses who can honestly teach you good techniques...But if you want to create freinds, family and stay longer in nursing like settling...definetely choose unionized hospitals...you wont be fired easy and you will have freinds and family in the hospital...and it's more comfortable...and you also have lots of benefits...pension and so on...

    For my career goal...I always choose non-union hospitals...and plus nobody really bothers you for the littlest things...esp your manager or your co-workers...

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