Union, yes or no? - page 2

I am a new nurse and have recently heard that the nurses at my hospital are considering going union. It seems (at least on my unit) that the biggest issue is pay. Are any of you guys union and if... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    If anyone wants to see what hospitals are doing to stop us from being a union & having a legal say in what happens to us at work, check this out:

    motto: "you can't lose an election if there isn't one!"




    Our employers are spending million$$ on these tactics and union busting consultants just to prevent us from unionizng. Anybody wonder why they are willing to go to such lengths to avoid it? That alone should tell us something.
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 7, '02
  2. by   ohbet
    Im pro union,and of course there is the con side to belonging to a union.
    Unions can protect you from supervisors who make decisions,unmalicious the majority of the times,that are out of ignorance,bias,against the law etc. and etc. and these decicions can effect your life in a negative way.
    The union will protect you by refering to a legal contract
  3. by   Dr. Kate
    One thing to remember is that you can't compare the contract you get at hospital X with the one at Hospital W. They will be different if only because they were negotiated at different times. Unions will lead you to believe that you will get the same contract at your facility as they got at the one down the road--NOT. Each contract is a separate entity. Beware of the big promises that just seem too good to be true, they probably are.
    That's not to say you can't get some good things from a union contract. Just that each one is different.
  4. by   chartleypj
    Intersting posts and obvoiusly a hot topic.
    I work in a unionized facility. For twelve years nurses at my hospital attemped to unionze without luck. Our attempts were made with both our state nurses' assocation as well as SEIU; I believe a branch of the AFL/CIO. Each time the issue of unionizing came up, our facility promised it's staff the world and gave raises. They appeared to listen attentively to concerns, offer support and tell us how much better we would be off without a 'third party mediator'.
    At the 4th attempt, staff nurses became educated about the importance of becoming active in their states' nurses asscociation. They learned the importance of advocating for themselves in order to be come better patient advocates. They learned from past experience that voting union was the only way to empower themselves to advocate for patients.
    We have had a union for many years now; we have a process by which we can grieve issues. We have a voice in staffing issues. The more senior staff has the opportunity to choose a summer vacation before the less senior staff. We receive raises about every 18 mos. vs. every 3 years.
    I would just remind you to become educated in what it means to be a part of the union, it is only as strong as it's membership works at it.
    Good luck,
  5. by   IttyBittyBabyRN
    Originally posted by Gomer
    SEIU = Service Employees International Union. As an RN do
    ou really want to be labeled a "Service Employee"?

    Not really! Nor do I think that as professionals we should be required to clock in 15 min early and leave 15 min after shift ends just to make up for the time we rarely if ever actually get a lunch break! By the way, on that topic, in the midst of the union controversy and serious patient care issues brought up by the RNs, the top issue at our last staff meeting was informing us that there will now be a new time clock system that will be "more effective at keeping up with our tardies...." And our mgr. won't be able to authorize paychecks if we have a certain # of tardies unless she can document that she's reprimanded us in some way. We digress................. I know our state has a Nurses Association, but I understood them to be primarily a political voice in the legislature, not a union organization?? I don't think any hospitals in this state are unionized.
  6. by   -jt
    Only 26 of the 54 state nurses assoc are also unions. Some of them are in the South (ie: NC, FL, GA). Nurses in the states whose state nurses assoc do not have union branches can still unionize with the RN-only national labor union - the United American Nurses/AFL-CIO - a branch of the American Nurses Assoc - made up of those 26 state nurses assoc that are unions.

    More info is at: www.UANnurse.org
  7. by   Jenny P
    I've worked in non-union facilities before (including 1 where I was "shadowed" for 6weeks once because they refused to pay me my overtime for one shift-- I was there 3 hrs. longer because the nurse who followed me had no idea what she was doing and the pt. crumped!).

    I've worked in facilities where there was a general union (a public employees union in one place)for all employees and the nurses weren't the majority; so we were sort of at the mercy of the other union members--our concerns about safe staffing were ignored while petty grievances between maintainence and laundry were always brought to the forefront.

    And I currently work at a facility where the RN's have our own union through our State Nursing Association. I've been here 23 years; it is heaven compared to the other 2 types of situations!

    Concerning seniority; each contract includes terms that are acceptable to both management and union members. My hospital DOES give holidays off to senior nurses: those that have been at the hospital 20 or more yrs get holidays off. It encourages retention. The less-senior nurses work every other holiday and these rotate so that if (for example) you worked Christmas last year, you have it off this year. We close our units to admits when the CHARGE nurse says we are unable to take any more admits. And the supervisor cannot overrule the charge nurses' decision. (And I work charge occassionally and have closed my unit to admits, too).

    My personal opinion is that I don't ever want to work in a different type of work setting. I want to have my cake and eat it too!
  8. by   NCTraumaNurse
    I just left a non-union hospital where I felt my license and the patient's safety was on the line due to unsafe staffing ratios. I am now at a union hospital where the staffing ratios hospital-wide are significantly better. As a new nurse (May 02) I am finding that the education/orientation I am getting at the union hospital is much improved over the 'education/orientation' (or lack thereof) of the non-union hospital. At this point, I am finding those union dues WELL worth the money. The difference in the two facilities is astounding!!
  9. by   charissa
    Yes for sure. With no union you have no one to represent you and i am not just talking wages. I come from a family of healthcare workers, specifically nurses. Two family members work at a university hospital and one works at the Pit known as Aultman hospital. One recently left 23 years of seniority to come to the hospital i currently work at. Her hospital is considering going union, and the administration is actually breaking laws in its efforts to halt th process, as well as slandering nurses who so much as mention they are considering it publicly. The business of unions in nursing is a sensitive and powerful issue, but you know, if you've never worked at a union hospital dont slam it, you dont know what they do for us. I have representation from my union which is through the ohio nursinf assoc. in the event of unfair work practices or unjust proceedings against me from my employer. I have a mandated nurse to patient ratio that was worked out by my union and employer and i have in in writing in a chart on my floor that is always accessable. I have a group of support people because of the organization. If i getno where from proper channels in administration, i have somewhere else to turn. This is not just about wages. Contracts work for and against you. Ours gives us a sched. of step like wage increases, and is a three year agreement. It was made 2 years ago, and since then wages in my area have skyrocketed. So my hospital is getting quality care for less at the moment, and will continue to until we renegotiate. Ohio doesnt or didnt have laws concerning maditory overtime. My union worked out a plan with the hospital so that each nurse was responsible to pick up 4 hours extra per pay, ensuring that some employees wouldnt get dumped on from that wrong place wrong time syndrome. There are negatives, but in my case? I'll take the union
  10. by   LasVegasRN
    Interesting discussion. I was made an excellent offer from a union facility and am really split in the decision to go there or not. I have never been in a position where a union decided my pay raise - I've always received them on my own merits and they have always been positive.

    I'm truly split about leaving the corporate environment to go back to a hospital environment with a union.
  11. by   Jenny P
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN

    I'm truly split about leaving the corporate environment to go back to a hospital environment with a union.
    So is this your big secret, LV??????????
  12. by   renerian
    I used to be a teamster and they did nothing for me except get me a nickel raise for three years but raised the union dues which used up more than the nickel. At the hospital I used to work on we voted a union down, twice. Each time the hospital gave us a nice raise to entice us to vote it down. I would have a hard time walking out on a patient.

    Good thread. I love to read about people's experience in health care unions.

  13. by   charissa
    my hospital has had a union for 30 years, never a strike or walk out or sick ut. Also, the ohio nurses assoc. represents us, and right or wrong, i dont consider myself a "teamster". they dont tell me who to vote for, and my dues are nothing more than the price of my ona membershipwhich i would have even if i weren't in a union. Some are good some aren't i guess it just depends, you know? Not just on the union, but the administration as well.