How to initiate union representation?

  1. I'm sure this question has been asked in the past, but I would like to know how to initiate union representation at my hospital.

    Our facility is getting away with unbelievable treatment of its nurses. I've been contemplating leaving for the past few months, but my co-workers are great, and the ED docs treat us pretty well, for the most part.

    Any info. would be appreciated!
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    About fab4fan

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 2,873; Likes: 26
    Hospice clinical director


  3. by   lgcv
    All you have to do is call the one you would like to represent you, they evaluate, if it looks possible the battle begins.
    Look at a few online to get a feel for the different organizations. In some states the state nursing association has a union arm, although it seems only Pennsylvania's did a good job and I think they just mergerd with SEIU (service employees international Union).
    Good luck
  4. by   -jt
    Information & examples given at the United American Nurses (UAN) website
    explains how to go about unionizing. It doesnt matter which state youre in or which union you choose. Its good info to start with. Its just gives you an idea of the process & what it entails. Click on the arrows on that webpage to follow the story.

    Also, SEIUs nursing section - - has general information on how to go about unionizing. Doesnt matter which union you end up choosing - the process is the same.

    Once you have an idea of what to do, then its up to you to call & meet with all the strong unions in your area that represent RNs.

    Interview them all, check out previous contracts theyve negotiatied, speak to other nurses whom they represent & find out how well they do it, find out how important your professional issues are to that particular union & the kind of priority those issues are given - shop around - then choose the one that you feel will best represent you the way you want to be represented.

    A lot of nurse unionizing is going on with many different unions. 27 State Nurses Associations provide union services for RNs only (even in the South), in conjunction with the UAN. Other unions provide services for RNs as well as other categories of healthcare workers. You can find more nurses unions at
    Most of the one there represent RNs with LPNs. There are also independent unions representing nurses in some states & some nurses at certain facilities have even formed their own unions that exist only at their own workplace & may be an affiliate of another union like the Teachers unions.

    SEIU is the largest healthcare union in the country - representing RNs, LPNs & other healthcare workers - including doctors. In California, CNA is well known & is for RNs only.

    Another of the major nursing unions in California is the AFL-CIO affiliated United Nurses of California (UNAC). They are the union that has recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against Tenet Healthcare Corp. The suit claims that Tenet Healthcare has "engaged in systematic understaffing of RNs throughout Southern California, and failed to pay them for legally protected work breaks". The RNs are asking the court to order Tenet Healthcare to provide adequate nursing staff for RNs to take lunches and breaks. They are also seeking back wages and damages for up to 7,000 Tenet Healthcare RNs who may have not been paid for work at 36 Southern California hospitals. All eyes are on this significant lawsuit.

    In NY, the largest & most successful union for RNs is the New York State Nurses Assoc & it has a shared services agreement to provide union services for RNs in NJ & Vermont & are available to RNs in Connecticut & Pennsylvania as well. In between these 2 coasts, there are many unions courting RNs all over the country.

    Theres a lot to choose from but most will not come to you uninvited or try to "recruit" you - you have to call & invite them to come give you their info.
    Become an "educated consumer" & then make an informed decision - its an open market - & its your choice.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 20, '02
  5. by   fedupnurse
    Agree with both of the above posts. Something ele you should know is that the hospital will spend millions trying to intimadate the staff into not organizing. It makes their lives difficult when they are forced to play by the rules and be fair. The health system I work for just spent a total of at least 6 miilion trying to scare the staff at another facility and another health related branch of the system from unionizing. Unfortuanetly, it worked!
    Something else to keep in mind is that the union local which is what your group of unionized employees will be, are the union. What I mean by that is you will get guidance and support from the "parent" union but it is the members of the local that run the local and do all the work. Do you think you can get the support from your colleagues to do this? It is a long and difficult process but one thta is worth the fight.
    Best of luck and if you need more info please feel free to PM me!