Just got job at a union hospital


Besides RN:Pt ratio, what are the benefits of working in a union hospital vs. non-union?

I've worked under a union as a teacher which limited class size like the RN:Pt ratio but I can't put the ways the teacher's union affected my day-to-job into a scenario that fits what I know of bedside nursing- For three years I was an aide a large urban university-based hospital that was non-union.

Anything that any of you can let me know about a union hospital would be so helpful!

Thank you!!


231 Posts

I can only tell you from personal experience that being in a union can protect you and your coworkers from the whims of management. Without a union, you can be fired or disciplined without much recourse, because the grievance process, if there is one, is stacked in favor of the employer. I have been involved in situations where a person brought a problem to management's attention, and they were the ones disciplined, while the problematic staff were not. Sometimes management wants to get rid of problems as quickly as possible, rather than to actually confront the causes, and innocent nurses can get caught in the crossfire. At least with a union, you will have someone to defend you. In my case, my Union had to fight for years until my employer finally fulfilled the terms of a financial settlement. I was appalled at the "dirty tricks" that the management stooped to to delay and obfuscate the outcome. Nonetheless, I hope you have a more rewarding experience.


12 Posts

I can only tell you that working in a Right to Work State with no Union gives you no protection whatsoever!! You are at the mercy of management and many a nurse is fired for speaking out about bad situations in the hospital for patients and nurses themselves. Even in a state with out being a Right to Work state, you have no protection without the Union. Unions may not always be perfect but they will always fight for you over management! ddunnrn well said!!!


12 Posts

All the good luck to you Graduate 14, smart move!!!

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,813 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 11 years experience.

Are unions not common place in the US.

I'm a member of our union. It provides indemnity insurance, support with work place grievances, negotiation of collective employment contracts, and monthly mag.

Wouldnt work without a union. Have never had to use them until the last month when a very mentally disturbed manager decided that I didnt respect her and had to go.

She was accusing me of serious misconduct alleging that I had been due to work and got a sick note and was then seen at a party. This was the day before I went back to work. The party was a lunch thrown by my friend to celebrate her boys being admitted into holy communion. I'd wanted to go for an hour or so, as my friends husband had died unexpectedly a few months previous and I knew she would be struggling as her and hubby had organised the holy communion prior to him dying

My union rep wiped the floor with her. The first point was that they had failed to follow their own policies and procedures in dealing with serious misconduct in that I should have been stood down on pay while the allegation was being investigated. Not only did I continue having a full patient load, I was also put in charge over the weekend and public holiday. Her next question was 'if the matter was so serious, then why did it take over a month for them to do anything about it. She pointed out that I had actually been put of work for 10 days due to abcess and infection and needing IVABs all documented by a doctor and that this documentation had been offered to her as proof of illness and she had declined to take a copy.


12 Posts

Tenebrae gave the perfect reason that nurses need unions. Here in Texas hospitals do all they can to discourage unions and they are successful. In the hospital where my daughter works many good nurses have been forced out because of situations where a supervisor takes a dislike to a nurse having nothing to do with work performance. Some nurses quit because of the situation with such a person in mangement. There is nowhere to go, no chance for a grievence. As bad as it gets the nurses are afraid to bring up unions so there is no one to fight for one. It is a very bad situation unfortunately!!!


5 Posts

One more thing... pay up. ;)