Nursing unions on the verge of revolution - page 2

Article Snippet: The other day, I was talking with a hospital executive, whom I warned that nurse unionization was developing a level of momentum I hadn't seen before in my 20 years in the... Read More

  1. by   ivanh3
    Quote from zanatubelmont
    let's hope healthcare does not become largely unionized. all that will result in is higher healthcare costs. you're going to end up with an rn being paid $100/hr. i'm not kidding - i don't know the specific number, but the united automaker union pushed wages up to $30-something/hr for factory workers and we can all see where that got us!
    Quote from shayrn
    i got to disagree, completely. it wasn't the autoworker making $30.00 an hour. it was the executives making 5 million a year with bonus options taking all the work over to 3rd world countries paying 300.00 a month. who do they think will buy their cars if nobody is working?
    this one is easy: you are both right. to say that either ceos/management or unions have no complicity in this mess is wrong. i think unions have their place. they do and have done good things. however, it is unreasonable to suggest that they have never crossed the line or have not driven demands up too much in some cases. there is this complete misperception that nursing as a profession is the last and only choice for patient care. that just is not true. there are alternatives to nurses and necessity being the mother of invention, we might just find that out the hard way. while nurses are arguing on the sidelines and still having disagreements over what it even means to be a nurse, i promise you that someone, somewhere, is thinking of a nurse alternative.

    ceos and management also need to recognize their part in this. however, before i start pointing fingers anywhere, a fundamental question must be answered: is health care a privilege or a right? there is much disagreement on this and reasonable people on both sides have given intelligent and eloquent responses. personally, i believe in full on single payer, universal health care. i think health care is a right (with plenty of self responsibilities) and that profit doesn't belong in the mix. it is easily defendable to feel otherwise. if one does believe in free market capitalism as a rule, then why should that practice be exempted from health care? it would then follow that companies should be able to make as much as they want and pay their employees what they want. i am not advocating for unsafe work environments, but is that really the norm? perhaps. i honestly don't know. i think the problem is we are split as a country on the nature of health care, and until we get that figured out then we are just spinning our wheels.
    Last edit by ivanh3 on May 16, '09
  2. by   ivanh3
    Quote from shayrn
    seems i underestimated:
    Quote from shayrn
    general motors corp (gm.n) chief executive rick wagoner's salary and other compensation rose 64 percent in 2007 to about $15.7 million.
    the gm compensation committee cited significant progress over the past few years in reducing the automaker's health care cost burden (like taking it away for the retirees and increasing the cost to families), increasing growth internationally (like more jobs leaving the united states.)

    seriously, they blame the guy making 60 grand a year for the downfall? how do these people sleep at night?
    are we a free market capitalistic society? yes. i am not entirely thrilled about that but it is true. consider the cost of giving 3000 nurses a 15 dollar an hour raise (conservative compared to some ideas on this site):

    3000 x $15 = $45,000 (extra money per hour, just one hour)
    72 hours x $45,000 = $3,240,000 (the cost of the extra money in a 6 day, 12 hour shift pay period)
    $3,240,000 x 26 two week pay periods =

    $84,240,000 (the cost of the extra money for one year)

    note that number does not reflect the base wage, just the cost of the increase. and this is only for 3000 nurses. how many nurses are there? if nurses can not even acknowledge that the other side might have some validity, then how are we to proceed?
    Last edit by ivanh3 on May 16, '09
  3. by   ZanatuBelmont
    Quote from ShayRN
    I got to disagree, completely. It wasn't the autoworker making $30.00 an hour. It was the executives making 5 million a year with bonus options taking all the work over to 3rd world countries paying 300.00 a month. Who do they think will buy their cars if nobody is working?
    I have to disagree, completely. The average autoworker should be pulling in around $30,000 per year. The inflated pay and benefits has cost companies like GM more than $100,000,000,000 (that's billion) in benefits. There has been so much interference with the free market system that companies are now going bankrupt - they cannot keep up with the bloated wages and benefits that these unions demand. While labor unions do serve a vital function in protecting the average worker, it becomes excess - and oversteps its bounds - when it leads to the complete internal destruction of a company. There is no job for the worker of a company that goes bust.

    The healthcare industry already suffers from inflation. I do believe nurses should be paid better, but not by the path other larger, more "seasoned" unions operate. The labor unions will begin their track to making nursing a better profession, but they will eventually over reach and cost us more in the long run.
  4. by   lindarn
    Quote from ivanh3



    this one is easy: you are both right. to say that either ceos/management or unions have no complicity in this mess is wrong. i think unions have their place. they do and have done good things. however, it is unreasonable to suggest that they have never crossed the line or have not driven demands up too much in some cases. there is this complete misperception that nursing as a profession is the last and only choice for patient care. that just is not true. there are alternatives to nurses and necessity being the mother of invention, we might just find that out the hard way. while nurses are arguing on the sidelines and still having disagreements over what it even means to be a nurse, i promise you that someone, somewhere, is thinking of a nurse alternative.

    ceos and management also need to recognize their part in this. however, before i start pointing fingers anywhere, a fundamental question must be answered: is health care a privilege or a right? there is much disagreement on this and reasonable people on both sides have given intelligent and eloquent responses. personally, i believe in full on single payer, universal health care. i think health care is a right (with plenty of self responsibilities) and that profit doesn't belong in the mix. it is easily defendable to feel otherwise. if one does believe in free market capitalism as a rule, then why should that practice be exempted from health care? it would then follow that companies should be able to make as much as they want and pay their employees what they want. i am not advocating for unsafe work environments, but is that really the norm? perhaps. i honestly don't know. i think the problem is we are split as a country on the nature of health care, and until we get that figured out then we are just spinning our wheels.

    someone has already created nurse alternatives. they are called nurses aide, medication aides, surgical techs, physician's assistants, medical assistants, the list goes on. the fact of the matter is, the hospital association, assisted living associations, and the american medical association, have been coming up "nurse alternatives" for years, and nurses have been asleep at the wheel and allowed it to happen.

    the ana, our state boards of nursing, and our state nurses associations, have been selling us out for years. by not organizing on a national level with an organization who will look out for our best interests, we have lost the opportunity to retain our professional practice. the above organizations have been chipping away at our professional practice an inch at a time, for years. the fact that they have achieved handing over the practice of medication administration, with barely a sqeak from the nursing profession, has only served to embolden them.

    folks, it will only get worse from here on end. i encourage everyone to join in with the cna and the nnoc, and push forward a national nurses organization who will put an end to this. jmho and my ny $0.02.

    lindarn, rn, bsn, ccrn
    spokane, washington
  5. by   K98
    There are more than a few of us out here that would like to be represented by the CNA/NNOC, but our facility was captured by ServingEmployersInsteadofUS (SEIU). This "union" has done such a horrible job of "representing" the RNs at our facility that most now feel that the best way to go is non-union. The SEIU has worked with management to preserve the status-quo and to drain 1.4 million dollars per year from the pockets of the staff RNs at our facility. Nursing unions, absolutely. Unions...maybe not.
  6. by   TuTonka
    Welllll I have always been concerned with how a wild cat strike would affect pts. HOWEVER if it means that pt care givers actually have a say and be REAL pt advocates.....Dare I say it? I am leaning more toward unionization every second uf every day. The more information I receive the more I realize I am becoming
    Pro union.. I am sick to death about hearing how hospital execs who do little in comparison to nurses making Millions of dollars and gaining more income EVERY year while the pts we do care for cannot afford healthcare in the first place and probably wouldn't have needed hospitalization if they had been able to afford to see a doctor at the onset of their illnesses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. by   oneLoneNurse
    I think the reason the car companies are having it so rough is their "product" not their unions. For years these companies saw trucks and Hummer like vechicles as their salvation from competition.

    Auto unions did push for higher and higher pay, BUT it was the auto execs who chose to make products that were not able to be sold at a profit, NOT the line worker.

    While I think we as nurses are well paid, I think it has only been in the past couple of years that people have gained respect for our profession and our wages and that is due to the poor economy. Once our economy improves, be prepared for us to lose that status.

    Thank God for unions, without them most of us would be intimidated into working long hours for little pay.
    Last edit by oneLoneNurse on May 16, '09
  8. by   mwboswell
    1) I think nurses missed the boat years ago and continue to do so by not enacting the legislative aspect. Many of the protections and working condition improvements that are needed in the workplace do not need to wait for unions to step in; you're only substituting one master for another. Some of these needed changes can be addressed via legislation without unions.

    2) If anyone wants an example of the single payor health system I kindly refer you to the VA system. This is your prime example. I say no more.

    3) Obama and unions???? What the he**. Folks Obama ain't no savior, and he isn't necessarially any better than the rest. When the US gets tired of the status quo again, they'll blame the current administration and vote the other way again.

    Bottom line - the OP topic sounded like he was intimating that unionizing was inevitable based on the "current status" of things. I don't think so. I think unionizing is a cop-out. I think the individual nurse needs to step up to the plate, quit drinking kool-aid, get involved and have a slice of the Obama-change-cake, and do your part to help change things. Don't wait for big brother or some union boss to come to your rescue, get active now. If some black senator from an underprivileged upbringing can do it, then YOU CAN TOO.

    -MB
  9. by   TuTonka
    Quote from oramar
    That business about "unions aren't a part of our culture." Is code talk for "I will lop off the head of anyone who dares to mention that word". I mean it, they get really ugly. If you are in the business for a while you are perfectly aware of how dangerous it is to your lively hood to bring up the "U" word.

    Unionization was attempted back in the 80's in *%^*(&% and we were informed that if we attended the meeting to get the information about the union and their purposals we would be fired. OF COURSE, that was not legal, but we were informed that they would find something else to fire you over. The DON of the hospital attended the meeting to watch for employees of said facility. They still will do that there if unionization is brought up.



    TuTonka
  10. by   doesntlookgood
    It's About Time.

    As I've stated in another thread, your fine profession is under attack.

    I'm a BIG fan of professional organizations, but as I've also stated before, I've seen first hand the damage unions can do to both their hosts as well as their membership.

    If you're going to organize, you need a hybrid between a Union and an Association.

    The "typical old-school" Union moves too damned slowly, and an Association is not taken as seriously as it deserves to be.

    In the Technology World where I used to live, we had a saying about technical projects...

    "Good."
    "Fast."
    "Cheap."

    "Choose any two."

    You will face the same questions. Choose carefully. There's no shame in losing the battle, if you win the war.

    PAY THE PRICE.

    Bring the fight to them.

    Just like all Nurses do, gather your facts / tools...budget your time...don't squander your resources. But don't be cheap.

    But first, a little more background that you might find interesting.

    In Aviation we are governed by the Railway Labor Act (HA!) that prohibits strikes. After an independent arbitrator decides that we can make no further progress, we are required to enter a "cooling off" period where we cannot engage in "self-help". Then after that cooling-off period, the President of The United States can issue a PEB (Presidential Emergency Board) that stops any job action DEAD. And that has happened over and over again.

    Meanwhile in Chicago, where I live, Chicago Police officers have worked for OVER TWO YEARS with an expired contract.
    (Oh, Gee Whiz...we only had 6 shootings.) On Friday the 15th, that is. (I can hardly wait until it's Summer & 90 degrees @ 10:00pm)

    When you're well organized...by that I mean there exists a groundswell of support amongst ACTIVE Nurses + MAJOR, SUSTAINED Public Outreach.

    When you're THERE.

    Bring the fight to them.

    Adopt the European Labor Model.

    Strike FIRST with MINIMUM WARNING.

    The FIRST thing they'll do is appear in front of a Judge and p*ss and whine and moan. Scream about the "Threat To The Public Health". They'll try to deflect attention away from them, and transfer it to the Nursing Community.



    You Psych folks know ALL about Transference, No?

    Be READY to take their butts right to the wall.

    AGAIN...Full-page ads in USA TODAY (it 'aint cheap, Pony Up the Dough!)

    THEN the negotiations begin. (Look above where I start "In Aviation" and you'll understand.)

    When negotiations begin, NO Nurses at the Bargaining Table.

    NO
    NO
    NO

    Professional Negotiators ONLY, Hired Guns advised behind the scenes by ACTIVE Nurses. MORE MONEY...it'll be the best money you ever spent!

    The Hospitals and their Bargaining Agents will bring their A-Game. YOU MUST DO THE SAME. Don't bring a Knife to a Gun Fight!

    Don't Be Cheap...Pay The Price. You won't regret it.

    As Airline Pilots we tried putting Pilots @ the Negotiating Table. They tried their best to be sure, but EPIC FAIL.

    YouTube / Myspace / Twitter / Facebook...

    Young Nurses appeal to Young Folks

    Not So Young to Not So Young

    Behind-the-scenes appeals to get your voices heard...everywhere you can.

    FOX / Lou Dobbs (BOY, are those two nowhere NEAR alike?)

    BTW, I've met Dobbs, and spoke with him for about 15 minutes...nowhere near the prick everyone thinks. He just doesn't tolerate fools gladly.

    My posts have been tossed off this board before for being a bomb-thrower. It didn't start out that way, but...

    If I were in a tough situation, and had to choose 2 other people to work with me:

    It would be myself (for reasoning horsepower)
    A Nurse (for empathy / caring / intellectual horsepower)
    A Cop (for physical / mental horsepower)

    The three of us together...with the ability to defer to the other when appropriate.

    We could accomplish almost anything.

    NURSES !

    THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS


    In the next post if I make it that far, I'll remind you why it matters:

    If you're a Nurse near retirement...
    A well-established Nurse...
    A new-hire Nurse...
    A Nursing School Student... (You ARE going to change the World)!
  11. by   klyders
    LOVE THIS.............many a management arsehole is puckering just a wee bit at the thought.....

    perhaps it's time to organize another "million nurse march" online? the last one in dc was pretty lame...no music, no food, rather dry.....

    i'll stay another year or two in the trenches to watch this come to fruition.
  12. by   TuTonka
    Keep on posting doesntlookgood...I am interested in what you have to say..theory,reasoning and game plan.

    TuTonka
  13. by   ivanh3
    Quote from oneLoneNurse
    I think the reason the car companies are having it so rough is their "product" not their unions. For years these companies saw trucks and Hummer like vehicles as their salvation from competition.

    Auto unions did push for higher and higher pay, BUT it was the auto execs who chose to make products that were not able to be sold at a profit, NOT the line worker.

    Thank God for unions, without them most of us would be intimidated into working long hours for little pay.
    The reason the auto industry is having a tough time is because a) the economy b) management and c) the unions/autoworkers. The auto business comes up a lot and I think it is a good example. I am wondering if any nurses on this this site with spouses in the auto manufacturing business could weight in.

    I think the auto workers/unions DID know they were making a crappy product back in the day (70s/80s). I think they were perfectly aware. They could read. They could see. So my question is this: has there been at any point when the unions/auto workers in one bold voice said to the management: lets start building better, greener, etc cars or we are going to be in trouble? If not, I have a problem with that. I can remember having discussions as a teenager that American cars were awful (except of course for all the 60s/70s muscle care, yeah baby, yeah). If I knew that as a teenager, how did the unions not know it? They did, and I suspect said nothing, because no one wanted to malign the autoworkers and their efforts. It doesn't do any good to fight for wages/benefits if you are not going to fight for a better product.

    I think the difference here is that nurses are always looking for ways to improve practice. We are usually (most of the time) the first to look at ourselves and and ask "What went wrong? What could go wrong? How can we be better?" Research, education, trials, continuing education, etc. These efforts are put forth by many nurses including those at the bedside or "line-level". So in many ways we can look at the auto biz for what to do, and maybe what not to do. I think we have all moved on from the idea that we are recession proof. Unions or no, the decision will be largely influenced by our actions.
    Last edit by ivanh3 on May 17, '09

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