NNU Unionization Vote Coming Up In March, Need Information

Nurses Union

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Specializes in Neuroscience.


My hospital is currently in the process of voting to go Union or not. The NNU would be the union. My employer is putting a lot of time and money into trying to block the union, and the Union is putting a lot of time and money into trying to convince all to join. The needed signatures were gathered, and there is a trial next week to certify the signatures,  after which point voting day/deadline will be set. We will be casting our secret ballots by mail, so I assume the date will be more of a deadline to vote by than anything. It seems that both parties have a lot of money at stake, and there isn't much in the way of unbiased info to be had. Of course the hospital is anti union, and claims they see no reason why we would want to go Union. I pointed out to my manager that if everything was roses and rainbows we never would have reached the point of this going to a vote. But anyhow...

I am very undecided, as we currently have safe staffing ratios for RNs (4-5/1 floor day, 6/1 at night, 3-4/1 in the ED, 3/1 for step down, 2/1 in scu ), adequate PPE throughout this covid crisis,  and decent benefits. Our real shortages come in terms of CNA's, and I don't know how a union that doesn't include them will help us? CNA shortages can lead to a 4-5 pt assignment with no CNA, which certainly makes it more challenging to care for the patients. In our ED they sometimes have 1 tech for the entire unit. CNA pay is horrible, and thus turn over is crazy high. 

I also keep thinking, would I really be willing to strike? Because if you threaten something, if you aren't willing to follow thru, it isn't much of a threat. 

So a few questions for those of you who have been in a union.

1) Is it common that the union will present us with a bad contract, if they are unable to negotiate a good one, and our only options would be to either accept this bad contract,  or vote "no, and I agree to go on strike"? (This scenario was presented as common at our mandatory "rights" training that the hospital is having us attend, which a 3rd party union busting firm is facilitating.)

2) How often have you been on strike?

3) Do nursing unions do anything to address CNA staffing ratios if CNAs are not included in the union?

4) Have any of you been at a hospital as it was going through the unionization process? What was it like?

5) Why doesn't the NNU like magnet designation, or shared governance?

I am a very new nurse (my thing says 2 years because 2019 was the most recent year listed), but not new to the hospital I work at. I was a CNA previously, and before that a crisis worker at the same hospital.

Even though the pay is less than at neighboring hospitals I chose to work here because I really like it. It is the largest hospital in the state, and the only level 1 trauma facility in the state (someone in another thread said you can't strike at a level 1 trauma facility, is this correct?). I love the people I work with and management has been decent. I genuinely like where I work, and I am afraid that voting to go union will change the environment so much that I no longer will. Any thoughts or experience would be welcomed! 

Specializes in Neuroscience.

I should add that, no, not everything has been awesome at my hospital, particularly since Covid, but really it just accentuates the issues. We are told how great we are, and how much we are appreciated in the same breath as we are told there will be no raises this year and that we should feel lucky to not be laid off, since the hospital is losing money due to a lack of elective surgery. Meanwhile, travelers are brought in to fill staffing gaps, 20 thousand dollar sign on bonuses offered to new hires, etc. The hospital is penny wise, pound stupid, always has been. The fact that onboarding, orienting, etc a new ee costs more in the long run than just retaining your old ones is something they missed the boat on.

We have experienced outbreaks among staff, pretty large ones, and are told it must be because we are eating lunch in the lunch room together (6 ft apart), or are taking drinks of water at the charting station. It definitely has nothing to do with some questionable policy regarding when a covid patient is no longer contagious that has enabled the hospital to move patients along at a faster rate despite them still testing positive, or the fact that notice of contact with a positive patient without covid PPE (so just a surgical mask and eye protection, on covid units our standard is papr for all patient contact) is often days behind, and has resulted in asymptomatic or presymptomatic nurses working and spreading covid. The hospital will make any and all effort to prove that you didn't actually get covid at work, it must be what you have done in the community, etc., and units that are not specifically covid units, if you miss work bc of having contracted covid, you use your pto, or don't get paid.

So not perfect by any means. Just wanted to add that on in case anyone was wondering why I'm even considering voting for a union. 

Specializes in ACNP-BC, Adult Critical Care, Cardiology.

Preface: I have only worked for 1 hospital that is unionized and in the NP role (where I am also a member of the union).

1. Is it common that the union will ratify a bad contract?

The union sits on the bargaining table with administration and there may be some provision that could have benefitted employees yet ends up getting turned down.  That's basically the rule of bargaining.  I feel like in the last 11 years, we've had great contracts but had to sacrifice some perks that were not approved.

2. How often have you been on strike?

Once in the 11 years I've worked there.

3. Do nursing unions address CNA staffing?

Not with our nursing union.  However, our CNA's are members of a separate union which the nursing union supports to the point of having a sympathy strike with that union once.

4. Have you been in a hospital that was in the process of unionizing?


5. Why doesn't NNU like Magnet designation or shared governance?

Our hospital is Magnet designated. We have shared governance in our units.

Specializes in Cardiology.

Magnet is a waste of time. I've worked for a Magnet hospital and I work for a hospital currently trying to get Magnet and Pathways to Excellence. Let me tell you nothing changes. You may think you're given power to change things at the hospital but in the end administration will do what they want. Magnet and Pathways makes upper management look good and opens doors for them to climb the ladder. 

That's great that you have pt ratios. The hospitals I have worked for did not (except for the ICUs). If I was in your position I would vote union simply because the hospital is willing to pay contract nurses to come in instead paying that money to you guys. Large hospitals will always cry poor.

Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical.

This was written by a NNU & CNA direct care RN and elected union president:


Strike Facts:  With CNA/NNU, strikes are rare and typically last one to three days. A strike is the most drastic tactic used in the negotiation process and, when used, is done with careful preparation. In 95 percent of CNA/NNU’s negotiations, RNs have won successful contracts without strikes...



This 20 pages explain a lot about organizing with NNU:


I hope they help. This is a link to an old post I made about being asked to attend an arbitration. The thread is regarding nurse's unions:


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