Has anyone ever worked a strike before? What was your experience?

Nurses Union

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Specializes in Burns/CVICU.


I was recently approached about working a strike and was wondering if anyone has ever done so?  There really isn't too much first hand information that I was able to find. Can anyone please enlighten me about what one might expect if one chose to work a strike?  From what I have read, it is obviously a very delicate situation.  Please keep comments to just your experience.  This is not meant to be a politically charged question and I am only asking as I genuinely would like to know your thoughts on your experiences.  Thank you in advance!

People tend to have emotion driven strong reactions to this topic that give precedence to their personal reservations versus rational discourse.

I was discussing this matter recently with someone at a social gathering (their spouse is an OR nurse) and I made the following points:

  • Surgeries have to continue, someone has to staff the trauma room, what if your loved one is involved in a traffic accident?
  • Hospitals are financially penalized for not negotiating with striking nurses when they have to pay crisis contract rates, the nurse crossing strike lines is actually helping the strikers.

The individual was so invested in their emotional reaction to the matter that they were incapable of rationalizing. Their arguments back were "the doctors can do everything for the surgery" to which I informed them it doesn’t work that way. They can’t do their job without nurses. Then they simply stated it would be necessary for their loved one to just die. That was the point when I realized that some people are so brainwashed that they cannot be reasoned with.

So I personally have no problem with a nurse crossing the lines. We need healthcare to continue. I just think we should make the hospitals pay through the nose for those travelers so they have a reason to be reasonable in their negotiations with striking staff. 

Specializes in long trm care.

Crossing a picket line and working makes you a scab! Donnot listen to the these strike breakers. Get a job elsewhere.

You just proved my point. People with this sort of irrational mentality are the reason jobs such as police and military eventually had to be legally prevented from striking. People care more about their ideology than the safety of society. 

Specializes in Community health.

As you can already see, the internet is not a good place for discourse about this. Consider your job offers, consider how you feel about the strike, talk to your loved ones, and then make a decision. Posting about any of this on message boards brings out extremists and you aren’t going to gain much insight. (Similarly, if you decide to take the job, don’t post about on your social media. Nobody needs to share their opinion about your employment.) 

Specializes in PeriOp, ICU, PICU, NICU.

Not a friendly topic to be discussed with internet strangers.  It is like debating politics.  I think it is such a personal decision and you have to delineate where you stand with your own personal ethics and morals.

I will share though that I have participated in strikes.  The patients were all well taken care of.  We are legally required to serve a 10 day strike notice.  The hospital then gets the cash they are not willing to shell out on safe staffing and fair compensation for example, and retain and hire picket line crossers.  The hospital leaders bused them in, had oodles of catered food, incentives, surprises lined up for them.  They were treated like royalty and paid exceptionally well.  Leadership had not issues taking pictures and posting on their social media to let the public know everything was all well inside and possibly even better.  The patients all got baths and massages in teams.  They were literally overstaffed.  So you can imagine how that made the people outside feel some type of way.

It is personally not something I would be able to do, but it doesn't mean I cannot respect the choices of everyone else.  In the end, it is none of my business and I do not need to make it my business.


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