would you cross a picket line???? - page 2

Yesterday one of my nursing coworkers told me about some strike in OHIO and that she was going to take a travel assignment to that area..... I am totally happy where I am, but I was kinda wondering... Read More

  1. by   LasVegasRN
    I don't say "never". If it came down to deciding between feeding my family and crossing a picket line... well.....
  2. by   TIREDmidnightRN
    I wouldn't do it myself, but understand when others do...strikebreakers DO cost a fortune.and paying that high amount for nurses who are NOT familiar with the hospital and area will just re-inforce the value of the staff nurses......but I think, when I was a red cross nurse, that they once informed me that facilities can write off the added expense of agency/travel staff under "emergency staffing situations" and that, knowing this, some facilities "create their own emergencies".........I do not know how to prove or disprove this, though...
  3. by   -jt
    <I think that it doesn't necessarily harm the striking nurses' cause>

    Well, Think again. The hospital didnt blink an eye in Nyack, NY last year when it spent $19 MILLION on strike breakers - and another $14 MILLION that is still unaccounted for during those 6 months they kept their staff RNs out on strike. Had there been no strike breakers available, the hospital would have had to compromise with its own nurses a hell of a lot sooner to get back to business & those nurses would not have had to be on strike from Christmas to Mothers Day to get safe staffing ratios & limits on mandatory OT. Same thing in Smithtown, Long Island a few weeks ago where the hospital had no qualms about spending $13 MILLION to keep its nurses on strike for 111 days. And in Oregon last year where the hospital spent something like $6 MILLION in just the first 30 days of their strike and still kept its RNs on strike for another 3 weeks. What it was willing to spend - & did spend on trying to break this strike ended up costing more than the entire 2 yr contract the RNs were asking for. It would have been more cost effective to just settle the strike from day 1 but the hospital CHOSE to spend MILLIONS more - taken from the states funding - trying to avoid that. Last year in Conneticut, the governor even approved MEDICARE & MEDICAIDE monies to be given to a group of facilities to fight their strike. Its not the hospitals own pocketbook getting hit up for this money so what do they care how much they spend. If you think the hospital cares one bit about throwing away exorbitant sums of taxpayer money to fight its own nurses, think again. But Time & time again, when the hospital cannot sign up enough strikebreakers, they suddenly see their way clear to meet the nurses halfway & the strike doesnt even happen. Our strike never happened because 3 days before it was to begin, the state stopped the strike busting agency from working there because it didnt have a license to do business in our state. Guess what? There were NO strike breakers coming at all! And the hospital came running back to us pleading for us to come back to the negotiations THEY had walked out of. And we had the contract we needed days later with No strike - solely because there were no strike breakers available.

    So yes....... it most definitely does harm the striking nurses & their cause if you cross their strike line & help the hospital keep them down.

    And no, I would never do that to another RN who is fighting to protect her license & her pts.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 3, '02
  4. by   BBFRN
    Wow! Thanks for an impassioned response to a naive nurse! I had no idea it was the taxpayer's money that paid for this. We are not (yet) unionized in our state, as the issue has been shelved in our Supreme Court for some time now. The opposers claim that we as nurses are management, and therefore are ineligible for union representation (except for those who work for the state). So, how did the strike finally get solved in your state? What finally made them concede to better working conditions for you? If it wasn't money, what was it? I'm sure there is a monetary ceiling involved in their insurance or public funding?
  5. by   -jt
    <We are not (yet) unionized in our state, as the issue has been shelved in our Supreme Court for some time now.>

    Yes there are unionized RNs in Kentucky. I just spent 3 days with them (from the Kentucky Nurses Association) at our national RN union convention in Philadelphia. They are part of the 26 state associations that compromise the United American Nurses/AFL-CIO - the RN union branch of the American Nurses Assoc.

    In the issue youre referring to, the Court said that a certain group of charge nurses in a particular facility was not eligible to be in a union because their job descriptions made them supervisors but that this doesnt mean ALL nurses or ALL charge nurses are supervisors & that any hospital which wants to say they are must go to court & prove their case on an individual basis.
  6. by   -jt
    <So, how did the strike finally get solved in your state? What finally made them concede to better working conditions for you?>

    The latest one was at St Catherines in Smithtown, Long Island & theres a thread here that followed the whole thing. You can look it up if youre interested. The thing is the RNs & their union (our state nurses assoc) did not relent or back down & they stayed united. They made the issue clear to the community - unsafe staffing & forced overtime endanger pts & nurses alike.... and the community rallied behind them. Its a long story - but a victorious one...

    They went out in November - took turns on the strike line & worked at other facilities when they were off the strike line. (recruiters came to the strike line with applications to scoop them up for per diem & agency work!)

    They picketed the Catholic archdiocese which owns the hospital (several times), they took ads in the newspapers asking that the community support them by not donating to the Bishops Annual Appeal (that hit the employer in the pocketbook), they got the community on their side thru educating them by leafletting in parking lots, supermarkets, the malls, spoke at community forums, took other ads in the newspapers, did local radio shows, appeared in TV news reports, and had numerous news articles written on their strike - all informing the public of how unsafe staffing practices affect pt care & put the pt as well as the RN at risk. All negative publicity for the hospitals tactics.

    They lobbied their legislators to get involved & put pressure on the hospital - which they did. They held numerous rallies, community candlelight vigils & prayer services over the Christmas holidays. They organized a huge parade of RNs, the community and the other unions on Long Island & union workers in their town & had a police escorted labor-day type parade thru their town in the middle of February - to protest the hospital - which the whole town came out for. In the dead of winter, there were about 1000 people participating in that parade & the street was lined with spectors.

    They made sure that everything they did made the news. They even took ads asking the public to contact the CEO & tell him they want safe care for their families - settle with the nurses. And they printed his phone & fax numbers. (He got so many calls he had to change the numbers.) The local nursing schools even REFUSED to let their students cross the strike line & took their clinicals in other facilities (another loss to this hospital). And the instructors & students walked the line with the RNs. RNs from all over our state went to Long Island to walk with them, participate in rallies, etc & took up collections at our own facilities to donate to their strike fund.

    A daily email informational newsletter that the RN union steward (we call them Chairpersons) sent out to just those RNs on strike ended up going out to 50,000 people across the country & even in other countries - and many of them in turn sent email to the hospital, the union, local newspapers, & legislators in support of the nurses.

    The striking RNs took a newspaper ad publishing the hospitals line about how it "cant afford" to improve the workplace & right under that, they published the salaries & perks of the heads of that administration (which is open for public knowledge & available thru the freedom of information act). Those people have salaries, pensions & perks in the MILLIONS. Some Per Diem administrators had salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars for "as needed" work. (the list was post here at the time too). And then asked why the administration has money to pay itself million dollar salaries & perks but no money to improve pt care.

    So basically what they did was publicly discredit the hospitals double-talk propaganda, tell it like it really is, & gain the backing of the community - most of whom REFUSED to cross the RN strike line to utilize the hospital.

    Vendors REFUSING to cross the RNs strike line meant no supplies delivered, no linens, no candy in the machines, no food deliveries, etc - & hospital cant do business as usual like that. And "Customers" REFUSING to cross the picket line meant business went down - a LOSS OF INCOMING REVENUE. And THATS the only thing that ever hits the employer in the pocketbook & makes it come to its senses.

    (thats why when scabs come in & the hospital can continue working as usual, it doesnt care that the nurses are on strike - its still making its money - & somebody else's funds are paying for the strikebusting for however long it takes to wear the striking nurses down)

    In this case, it didnt work - the nurses never did get worn down & never gave up. They had the full support of their community which became extremely well-educated about the strike issues, thanks to the RNs, & also kept up the pressure on the hospital demanding it settle with the nurses. The hospital was just out-numbered. It had to realize that if it continued fighting the nurses, it would do irreparable damage to its reputation & its future.

    Note that early on in the strike, the RNs found out that the hospital had paid the strikebusting agency for scabs to stay until March 17th so they expected the hospital would make sure the strike did not end before then because that money was not refundable & it wanted to get every cents worth. Guess what? Surprise surprise March 16th - thats when the hospital decided that it could meet the nurses demands after all.

    No scabs = no strike.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 4, '02
  7. by   fedupnurse
    Not in a thousand years, don't care how desparate I am for money!! I was on a picket line for 98 days thru horrific winter weather back in '93 and myself and my colleagues would go out in a heartbeat if need be again. Hospitals are given 10 days strike notice. Most know when they are going to force a strike issue and are well prepared ahead of time. My hospital chose business as usual and didn't close beds or cancel surgeries. Shame on them for knowing what they were up to and putting the patients at risk. Shame on the doctors for not telling their patients to go to another area hospital. Shame on the public for believing the lies of the administrators. When even one person crosses it proves to the suits that we are not united. No one should ever cross a picket line and use the sorry excuse of patient care issues. That is such crap! Yes we all became nurses to take care of sick patients but if we let the suits win at my facility the working conditions here would be ahundred times worse than they already are. Anyone who crosses a picket line is a scab and seriously hurts the cause of those out there fighting for what is right. People who are not willing to go out on strike should not be working in unionized facilities and Travelers who are willing to cross should ahng their heads in shame!!!
    You must keep in mind, employees who are treated fairly don't unionize!! We organize a unified voice due to poor working conditions.
  8. by   BBFRN
    Wow, J.T.- That's absolutely fabulous! Thank you so much for the information. If we all did this, maybe we could improve working conditions everywhere and eliminate this shortage. You have really made me want to become more involved- and more educated on this issue. You rock!
  9. by   fedupnurse
    Also, not one single nurse had to cross for money. All of us, bar none, had as much agency work as we wanted. There wasn't even a shortage then. I don't even cross picket lines of other occuations. I passed a construction picket line the other day when it was 90+degrees here and went and got them all ice cold water. They were surprised. I told them my story and that I was glad I was out there in the cold rather than this heat! I didn't cross any lines before I became involved in a Union either and I was raised by a Vice President of a bank! He said they must be getting treated poorly or they wouldn't be out there fighting for what they need. That always stuck with me.
  10. by   adrienurse
    Just, a question. Would I be tarred and feathered by y'all if I said I would cross the picket line?
  11. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Just, a question. Would I be tarred and feathered by y'all if I said I would cross the picket line?
    I think if you saw this crowd you would LEAP into the tar and be very happy for the feathers, but there is not enough tar in the world to cover your shame.:imbar

    I would NOT cross a picket but I may just carry a sign.

    That's sabatoge of your own profession. I would never condone physical violence against such persons,but I think verbal abuse is appropriate.

    Allnurses nurses don't CROSS!!

    We are a force,not a farce.
  12. by   wsu.rn
    for nurses to consider crossing the picket line working conditions must be pretty bad.
  13. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Nearly 3,000 nurses from six major facilities in the San Francisco Bay area are about to go out (story at NursePLUS.com)
    Those nurses reasons are good enough for me.........whatever they are,they're also my complaints as well are'nt they?

    The fact that so many nurses are going to strike tells me that the hospitals have been ignoring ALOT of people for a LONG time and would have planned for this inevitible circumstance by linning up scabs for the next phase of thier "negotiations" anyway.

    Hey gomer!!
    Where are you on this one?