Why no union! Without Nurses the hospital can't run!

  1. Don't take me the wrong way when I ask this question. I will be graduating in 08 and there are several things I question about nursing. I have seen who truly runs the hospitals in which truly I believe to be Nurses. Take the nurses out of the hospital and they will have to close. Why is it that nurses do not have strong unions that stand behind them or why is it that nurses choose not to have unions? For instance I have a friend who works for a Union as a electrician and when he decides to take a job he is protected by that union. If he is being treated bad they will back him and the men 100%. It is just so hard for me to grasp that nurses who possess such power and are so vital to hospitals would have to put up with administration the way many of you have had to do. Educate me on this! I truly do not understand this. I mean honestly, I do not think a Dr. or pharmicist can do the job nurses do and yet they are treated with roses. Just trying to understand!
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    About gospel Rn, BSN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 73; Likes: 12
    ICU RN, BSN
    Specialty: Critical Care

    49 Comments

  3. by   sequelae
    hmm i do think that the ANA is somewhat the "union" that nurses are affiliated to. however, you might have a point there
  4. by   justme1972
    Quote from gospel
    Don't take me the wrong way when I ask this question. I will be graduating in 08 and there are several things I question about nursing. I have seen who truly runs the hospitals in which truly I believe to be Nurses. Take the nurses out of the hospital and they will have to close. Why is it that nurses do not have strong unions that stand behind them or why is it that nurses choose not to have unions? For instance I have a friend who works for a Union as a electrician and when he decides to take a job he is protected by that union. If he is being treated bad they will back him and the men 100%. It is just so hard for me to grasp that nurses who possess such power and are so vital to hospitals would have to put up with administration the way many of you have had to do. Educate me on this! I truly do not understand this. I mean honestly, I do not think a Dr. or pharmicist can do the job nurses do and yet they are treated with roses. Just trying to understand!
    Nurses do not "choose" to not have Unions. Unions are a very, very difficult thing to organize, and you can blame the heads of corporations that own the hospitals and your state legislatures for making it easier and easier for any company (medical or not), to do everything it can to discourage workers from getting a union started.

    Hospitals are companies, some are private, some are public, but at the end of the day, they are still companies and like any company they require employees in order to run it. More and more states are going toward being an "employment at will" state. That means and employer can fire you at any time for any reason and does not owe anyone, including the state, an explanation for it....unless the EMPLOYEE can prove discrimination...which I can assure you they will be working up a case against anyone they want to get rid of....whether sex, race, age, sexual orientation, handicap, nation origin, pregnancy, is at the root cause of wanting the employee gone.

    Never think for a second that employers don't discriminate...because they do.

    It is against he law for companies to fire an employee for starting a union, inquiring about unionizing, or if one is started, signing a union membership card to sign up. The problem with getting a union started in a hospital, is that they will find a way to get rid of an employee before the union ever gets off the ground. Get rid of the source of the "infection" and the disease (ie. unions), are gone.

    There was a Wal-mart store that tried to unionize, and was very, very close it finishing the process....Wal-mart could not legally get rid of the employees because the process had gone too far under their nose. What did they do....THEY CLOSE THE STORE AND SHUT IT DOWN...That...is 100% legal to do...that is how far a company will go to not unionize.

    Have you ever noticed that you never hear about Coca Cola, Starbucks, Pepsi, or other companies like this trying to unionize? Want to know why? Because they are consistently among the top companies to work for...tops in employee treatment, tops in benefits, tops in retirement...when you treat your employees well, there is no reason for a union...unions were put into place because employers were abusing employees, not because companies voluntarily choose to treat employees well.

    If you read on the history of unions...pick any industry, in the end, it all works the same....you will discover that our culture is getting away from unions...and some employers are even showing anti-union videos during employee orientation...that is to send a clear message that they are against it.

    To anyone that is against unions, if you think child labor is wrong, if you like to get paid overtime, if you like your vacation, your work week, if you like having a safe place to work with heat and air conditioning, and health benefits...never think for a second that your employer, back in "the day" gave these benefits out of love for employees....they didn't have a choice but to give them to you and would take them away tomorrow if it was legal to.
  5. by   oramar
    I think you are better off with than without. The main reason there are few is that hospitals engage in anti union activities of all sort. The secondary reason is that many nurses have some anti union attitudes that come from their backgrounds and life experiences. Like I said I would vote yes in a heart beat.
  6. by   miko014
    There are 2 large hospital systems where I work. The one I work for does not have a nursing union, the other one does. I have experience at both places, so I can see the ups and downs of both sides. The nurses where I work now seem to be afraid of the union - there would be a tradeoff....they would get some things they would like and some things that they wouldn't like. It seems like the are mainly afraid of paying dues and mandatory OT.

    Awhile back, we all got letters in the mail saying that union members were trying to contact us (the nurses) and get un interested in that. The management was so against it, they didn't even want us to talk about unions. I don't think I would mind having someone in my corner...
  7. by   RNperdiem
    To have a union can mean to trade one set of problems for another. Nothing comes without a price.
    When my husband works in papermills, union guys won't even hold the end of the measuring tape to help him measure anything-even if they are sitting right where he is measuring and not doing anything else at the time. Union rules, ya know.
  8. by   justme1972
    I am a "pro-union" type of person (can't ya tell ? )...the purpose of the dues is to continue benefits and to pay a wage in the event of a strike.

    I certainly won't sit here and say that there isn't corruption in unions...there is in every union from time to time in history, even the strongest ones...but active and not participation is the key to a quality organization.
  9. by   llg
    I have only worked in one hospital with a union (and several that did not). The work environment and the situation in general was the worst in the hospital with a union. Yes, the pay was a bit higher -- but there was a big trade-off. Everything comes with a price.

    So ... I would prefer working in a non-union hospital with a good management. Yes, those do exist. However, I would vote for unionionization if I were working in a hospital with a leadership team that was very bad.
  10. by   gospel Rn, BSN
    Quote from Hopefull2009
    I am a "pro-union" type of person (can't ya tell ? )...the purpose of the dues is to continue benefits and to pay a wage in the event of a strike.

    I certainly won't sit here and say that there isn't corruption in unions...there is in every union from time to time in history, even the strongest ones...but active and not participation is the key to a quality organization.
    Hope, I am with you! I think nurses sale themselves short on the power they possess. It is kinda of like being told by an abusive parent all your life that you will never amount to nothing and believing it. I truly see a better future for nurses but it will take the majority banding together to reach it. Do you all think nurses have been told "they can't have" so many times they believe it?
  11. by   justme1972
    Quote from gospel
    Hope, I am with you! I think nurses sale themselves short on the power they possess. It is kinda of like being told by an abusive parent all your life that you will never amount to nothing and believing it. I truly see a better future for nurses but it will take the majority banding together to reach it. Do you all think nurses have been told "they can't have" so many times they believe it?
    Thanks, I appreciate it. The "shortage" actually works to the advantage of the industry, whether it's artificial or true. When quality nurses start being a dime a dozen, you'll start to see the benefits and salary decrease.
  12. by   Gromit
    Yeah, having worked in a union job (not nursing) and in non-union jobs, over all, I agree with most on here -there is ALWAYS a trade-off (either way) -you have to decide which is best for you. The Union is not a gold-paved road -"union shops" aren't always better places to work than non-union shops (anymore than the opposite is true).
    IF someone were trying to start one in my current facility, I would vote 'NO'. Our place treats us pretty well -I have no issues to speak of, with them and so don't see the need. When you have a union, you have inherently made a bigger "us vs them" attitude. Not that management ever considders itself part of the 'trenches', but a union seems to divide this even further (because there will always be those who fear that every move, every decision, comes with a higher risk -and there will always be those that exacerbate that very problem -from BOTH sides).
    You ask why all of us aren't covered by a union? There are many of us who choose NOT to be, and many who don't believe we need it.
    Of course, mine is a 'right to work' state, and a union has far fewer teeth here than in some of the more traditional settings and states.
    When I was with EMS, our union (Teamsters) was basically useless (other than getting dues every month) because we could not strike (by law -we were civil servants. Strike automatically meant jail) -so we really had no weapon per se. The county simply refused to negotiate with us, and we were at impasse for over a year. Non-binding arbitration (ordered by the state) ruled in OUR favor, but the key words here were 'non-binding'. The county simply said 'no'.
  13. by   gospel Rn, BSN
    Quote from Gromit
    Yeah, having worked in a union job (not nursing) and in non-union jobs, over all, I agree with most on here -there is ALWAYS a trade-off (either way) -you have to decide which is best for you. The Union is not a gold-paved road -"union shops" aren't always better places to work than non-union shops (anymore than the opposite is true).
    IF someone were trying to start one in my current facility, I would vote 'NO'. Our place treats us pretty well -I have no issues to speak of, with them and so don't see the need. When you have a union, you have inherently made a bigger "us vs them" attitude. Not that management ever considders itself part of the 'trenches', but a union seems to divide this even further (because there will always be those who fear that every move, every decision, comes with a higher risk -and there will always be those that exacerbate that very problem -from BOTH sides).
    You ask why all of us aren't covered by a union? There are many of us who choose NOT to be, and many who don't believe we need it.
    Of course, mine is a 'right to work' state, and a union has far fewer teeth here than in some of the more traditional settings and states.
    When I was with EMS, our union (Teamsters) was basically useless (other than getting dues every month) because we could not strike (by law -we were civil servants. Strike automatically meant jail) -so we really had no weapon per se. The county simply refused to negotiate with us, and we were at impasse for over a year. Non-binding arbitration (ordered by the state) ruled in OUR favor, but the key words here were 'non-binding'. The county simply said 'no'.
    Thanks for the information, this was very informative and shines a light in the opposite direction of how I am thinking.
    Thanks
  14. by   Sheri257
    Unions can be both good or bad. To me, at least, it depends on the circumstances such as:

    Does the union exclusively represent nurses? If they do, they tend to be more effective. If the union represents a bunch of other workers who have nothing to do with nursing, the union tends to get distracted and not represent nurses as effectively.

    Is there a lot of support for the union at that particular facility. If there is, the union tends to deliver better results. If there's a lot of dissention among the membership then, the union isn't as effective. This is why the same union can be really effective at one facility, but not at another.

    Generally, unions have been really great in my area. The unions have gotten pay raises and benefits that far exceeded the non-union hospitals. The only reason pay has improved in my area is because of unions.

    But, you can still work on a floor that sucks whether it's union or non-union. A lot of that will depend on the management and kind of nurses that are working there.

    People usually don't vote for a union unless there's major problems with management. In that case, a union can really help. But, if the management is good, then you may not need it.

    However, generally, union nurses do make about $6K more, on average than non-union nurses in the U.S. This has been true for years. And, they do tend to deliver better job benefits also.

    :typing

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