New Grad Seeking Job - Union or Non-Union?


  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a new grad. I have recently interviewed for a position that is nonunion. This is my dream field of nursing and if offered a position I will be over the moon. However, I am worried about merit-based raises, having less protection for my license, etc. Is it the end of the world?

Dear Union or Non-Union,

Congrats on graduating and your interview!

It's not the end of the world whatsoever! The end of the world is not landing a job at all, union or otherwise.

Reputable organizations follow labor laws and have fair HR policies in place. They must offer like compensation in order to remain competitive in the community.

I have worked both union and non-union and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. All union hospitals are not equal. Even within union hospitals, some have far better contracts than others. Likewise, there is a wide spectrum of working conditions in non-union hospitals.

If the hospital is reputable, and it's your dream job, I would not decline the offer because it is not union.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth



411 Posts

I agree that non-union can be okay, (I worked for 23 years at a non-union hospital) but whenever they started making unfair policies we would make noises like we were thinking about unionizing. It worked very well to keep management "in line." (Example: When they started making all positions posted in the hospital part-time and then making us work extra so they could have the benefit of full-time employees without paying any benefits. We made BIG union noise, and the next week full-time positions were posted again.) So it can be okay but be careful, ask around about policies, employee treatment, etc.

Sdee, BSN

8 Posts

Specializes in ER.. Has 46 years experience.

I have worked in Union and non-Union shops. I have instigated and established the organization of nurses at two different hospitals, one with excellent and one with disastrous results. I worked for a time when a large corporation bought our non-Union hospital and another hospital which did have union representation. then merged us. The pay was better at my hospital. I convinced my small shop of school nurses to join the teachers union where they had me sit on the negotiating team Which was a great experience.

So, not the end of the world. I have had both good and bad experiences. Well established Labor Organizations with dedicated employees at the helm who actually work and advocate for employees can be of tremendous benefit, but if you are being offered your dream job in a non-Union hospital I would take it. A Union is no guarantee

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I have worked both over my 40 year career. My worst experience was at a unionized hospital -- but that doesn't mean I would never work for one again. As stated previously, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Take the job you want and make it work for you.