I need opinions from practicing RN's for school project


  • Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.


I'm 2 weeks away from the end of my program and will be doing a presentation on the advantages and disadvantage of union nursing. I need to hear from 3 nurses who are either part of a union or planning to join to find out why they think it benefits them and why they joined.

I also need to hear from 3 nurses who either have no interest in joining or were once part of a union and no longer are. Also, if you could state your reasons for not being a union member, that would be great.

When responding, if you could put a sentence or two regarding how long you've been a nurse, your specialty, and what area of the country you're in, that would be terrific.

I thank everyone in advance who is able to help me in this project. I really want to inform my nursing class about unions, what they are and the pros and cons so that they can make their own decision about whether to join.


Graduate May 2005


10 Posts

Hi Lil' Red,

First let met congratulate you on almost being finished.

I am a critical care nurse in Oklahoma with 23 years of experience. I have never been in a union, and early in my career I did not beleive in nursing unions because of the strike issue. My views have now changed. Hospitals more and more seem to view nurses as an expense only item and therefore often do not have interest in or value our input. Hospitals depend on our co-dependent natures to get done what needs to be done no matter what, and at any pay. I think the collective voice of a union would require hospitals to step up to the plate and take responsibility for how they view nurses and how they treat nurses.

Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!!!



559 Posts

I am new to nursing, just a couple of years, and we have no union here. I come from union country though and know the value of being involved.


138 Posts

Specializes in OB/peds (after gen surgery for 3 yrs).

I've been a practicing RN for 24 years. I am not in a union now. At one hospital where I worked, union membership became manditory. As far as I could tell at the time, my only "benefit" from belonging related to the dues being TAKEN from my pay. I have never worked in a place that was so bad I would have wanted to strike. I guess I have been very lucky.


1,062 Posts

Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

Thank you for your responses....if ya'll could keep 'em coming....I need a few more nurses to post!!!

I appreciate everyone taking the time to write back. I have interviewed the nurses at our local hospital, but I really wanted to get feedback on RN's from around the country because it seems to differ from region to region.

Thanks again!!

Melanie :p


203 Posts

Specializes in ED, Tele, Psych. Has 9 years experience.

check the thread "union" in the "Nursing Activism/Politics" for more positions.

i have no desire to join a union. i work in college health in Arizona. the biggest reason that i don't want to join a union is that i generally disagree with their political actions. this is also why i refuse to join or monetarily support most 'charities', 'associations', and 'non-profit organizations'. i give money to exactly one non-profit, offer in-kind support to several others, and contact politicians directly about issues of importance(instead of through one of these groups). hope this helps.


38 Posts

I have been a pediatric nurse for 9 years, and currently work in DC. This is the first union hospital I've worked at, and find that the union stifles the nursing culture here. It is not mandatory to be a full member of the union but all RNs pay dues and most function within the rules of the union contract. They started a union because the older nurses seemed to be getting fired just before retirement age. A good reason, no doubt. However, at the time the union started, one of the inpatient units was starting to pilot a totally nurse-run unit; the union decided that this blurred the line of management versus staff and said "no." Raises cannot be based on performance according to the union contract, so everyone gets the same raise no matter what. This really affects the "extra" activities on the unit. Those who are internally motivated to make it a better place still are, but those who are externally motivated are no longer motivated by a bigger raise.

I recently went over to the dark side and took a shift coordinator(supervisor) position. In most hospitals this is not considered a management position, but here it has to be (you can't be in the union and part of the leadership team of the unit.) I am so glad to no longer be a part of the union, but it is very frustrating trying to make positive changes in a union environment.

Hope this helps-sorry it is so wordy!

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I have been a nurse for 27 years (now on the East Coast) and have worked for one unionized hospital ... a few that were not unionized and did not need a union because they were very well-run without it ... and 1 that needed a union because it abused its nurses.

I have seen some of the benefits of unionizations and also some of the disadvantages addressed so well by pedsERRN. For some hospitals (that abuse its staff) a union can be a necessary thing to stop the abuse. It can also drive up wages and benefits. The one unionized hospital that I worked had the best pay and benefits of my career. However, that hospital also had one of the worst relationships between management and staff I have ever seen. Each viewed the other as "the enemy." Trust and working together was unheard of: innovation was stifled: flexibility non-existent.

I would prefer to work for a NON-unionized hospital. But if a hospital abuses its staff, I would vote in support of unionization if I felt it was necessary to fix the serious problems. I would choose it as a "last resort" ... but I would choose it if necessary.


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