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scab nursing

Specializes in Complex care, tele.

tonight at work, my coworkers and I saw a fax came through around 5pm, mentioning a 'possible nursing strike' at an unnamed hospital in my state. The only other information provided was the maximum weekly pay, the need for a one-week minimum, vague mentions of all-expenses paid for transportation/lodging, and a phone number to contact if interested. When someone mentioned that they might call, another (very experienced) nurse said that they would be considered a 'scab nurse' if they crossed the picket line to work at the facility where such grievances are present.

I've never heard this term used before, although I can gather that stepping in to work at a facility where nurses are on strike doesn't exactly get greeted with smiles from colleagues. Where did it come from? Have any members of the board ever been a part of this kind of nursing? What's it like on the other side, to be the nurses that utilize collective bargaining to meet their needs?

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

"Scab" is considered a derogatory term (I used it here once and was roundly chastised).

I would never do it, but more due to fear of personal harm than out of allegiance.

Those who do travel nursing might do this quite often, although I imagine that many travel nurses would turn down a strike assignment.

MN-Nurse, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

The hiring of replacement nurses is something the striking nurses know must occur. They (the striking RNs) know patients cannot go completely without care.

It is the cost of the "scabs" or replacements that places a burden on the hospital.

I'm in a union and if I went on strike I would wish only the best for the RNs brought in to take care of people.

evolvingrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

"scab' is generally the deragotorry term for people that cross lines at factories and such..........in a hospital replacement nurses are a must during a strike.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I wouldn't cross a picket line to undermine anyone's collective bargaining efforts. Striking nurses generally provide critical care staffing pools for the sickest patients. Most nurses will not strike on a whim or for better pay (as the media likes to imply). When nurses strike it's almost ALWAYS an issue of appropriate staffing levels and safe patient care. Why would you want to undermine anyone's effort to achieve that?

I've worked where there is a union contract and I've worked places without a union contract. Guess which I'd choose every time? And I would dumpster-dive before I would undermine other nurses.

Merlyn

Specializes in none.

I tried it once but here in Jersey they were throwing lead around and about. So I quit. It can get pretty ruff. It was a time when people just wanted to bring the hospital to a stop. The hell with the patients.

They wanted more pay and benefits. After ten days of the supervisors taking care of the patients. The strike was over. The nurses won. But for years after the nurses that did not strike were looked down as Scabs not to be trusted. This was back in the 70's.

Aurora77

Specializes in Med Surg.

I heard a couple of nurses from my hospital went to CA and supposedly made fantastic money as scabs. More power to them. I don't believe in unions for middle to upper middle class workers, so I'd be very comfortable doing the same should the opportunity arise.

Flo., BSN, RN

Specializes in Developmental Disabilites,.

I strongly believe in unions. I would never cross a picket line.

"scab' is generally the deragotorry term for people that cross lines at factories and such..........in a hospital replacement nurses are a must during a strike.

a scab by any other name is still a scab...Hospitals on the verge of a strike often contract with out of state nurses,,provide lodging, transportation, and sizeable salaries-and patient care often suffers...maybe hospitals should try to treat employees to the same "ride" that scabs are offerred...

TrafalgarRN

Specializes in Oncology, Emergency.

Its amazing when i see people say we don't need any union and yet they come crying to AA when the Sh*t hits the fan. I see people cry about having 10 ER patients, 7 Medsurg Patients or even 4 ICU patients . I see people cry how they got laid off without reason since their boss hates them or even fired without any investigation. So many complains and yet when offered a chance to unionize they claim they are better off...so for those who don't want to unionize and have an opportunity i say tough luck.

Back to the topic:

1. Union forever ; i would never cross a picket line.

2. Yes they are scabs...the money is good..there were rumors about people making almost $1500 for working a 12 hour shift + Transportation, accommodation...

3. We don't unionize for money...we unionize for better working conditions, patient safety, better treatment of workers....that's why i gladly pay my union dues and i see them work. 5 % increases a year, Patient ratios enforced; Clear guidelines on clinical ladder advancement, no mandatory overtime, no work place harassment , unfair firing practices e.t.c....> that's what a union is for. My union has fought for 3 successive contracts where i get free medical, dental and vision coverage....corporate attempted to take it once but we held six 1 day strikes and they got the message..yet they earned billions and claimed to be non-profit.

Its not easy to be unionized; sacrifices have to be made. Its ridiculous when people buy management's position that unions will create loss of jobs ...blah...blah...> Yet same management withhold opportunities, wages,pay the CEO and other executives millions , benefits e.t.c ...but when it comes to nursing they downsize departments, don't hire enough staff and don't even pay them reasonable wages. Wake up people...smell the coffee

DeliveryRN2007

Specializes in Labor & Delivery.

Although I personally would not strike nurse, the nurses on strike have to realize that SOMEONE needs to take care of the patients.

It's a union term for strikebreakers. It doesn't come from nursing specifically.

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

I come from a background of generations of union workers all the way back to the formation of unions - there is no way I would ever cross a picket line and choose not to work for an agency which staffs strikes. I do not have respect for those who do so. I would not be vengeful toward them but would never look at them with any degree of respect again. Harsh, but there it is.

And to clarify for those who think they are "costing the hospital" by being highly paid for strike breaking - hospitals fund this out of an insurance fund they all pay into. The cost of strikebreakers does NOT come out of the hospital's operating budget.

As for "someone has to take care of the patients", when a strike is planned the facility is given (required) 10 business day notice of "intent to strike" to allow time for transfer or discharge of patients. In the case of specialized care not available elsewhere or patients too fragile to move arrangements are made for union nurses to go in to care for those patients and then return to the picket lines without any detriment to them. So that argument doesn't wash either.

MN-Nurse, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

Although I personally would not strike nurse, the nurses on strike have to realize that SOMEONE needs to take care of the patients.

The reasonable ones do.

MN-Nurse, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

And to clarify for those who think they are "costing the hospital" by being highly paid for strike breaking - hospitals fund this out of an insurance fund they all pay into.

My hospital network's 2010 financial statement shows a $14,106,000 non-recurring expense for strike costs.

Just to clarify for you.

I would never cross a picket line under any circumstance....

Its amazing when i see people say we don't need any union and yet they come crying to AA when the Sh*t hits the fan. I see people cry about having 10 ER patients, 7 Medsurg Patients or even 4 ICU patients . I see people cry how they got laid off without reason since their boss hates them or even fired without any investigation. So many complains and yet when offered a chance to unionize they claim they are better off...so for those who don't want to unionize and have an opportunity i say tough luck.

Back to the topic:

1. Union forever ; i would never cross a picket line.

2. Yes they are scabs...the money is good..there were rumors about people making almost $1500 for working a 12 hour shift + Transportation, accommodation...

3. We don't unionize for money...we unionize for better working conditions, patient safety, better treatment of workers....that's why i gladly pay my union dues and i see them work. 5 % increases a year, Patient ratios enforced; Clear guidelines on clinical ladder advancement, no mandatory overtime, no work place harassment , unfair firing practices e.t.c....> that's what a union is for. My union has fought for 3 successive contracts where i get free medical, dental and vision coverage....corporate attempted to take it once but we held six 1 day strikes and they got the message..yet they earned billions and claimed to be non-profit.

Its not easy to be unionized; sacrifices have to be made. Its ridiculous when people buy management's position that unions will create loss of jobs ...blah...blah...> Yet same management withhold opportunities, wages,pay the CEO and other executives millions , benefits e.t.c ...but when it comes to nursing they downsize departments, don't hire enough staff and don't even pay them reasonable wages. Wake up people...smell the coffee

I have to pick myself off the floor from laughing when union nurses say they don't unionize for $$$$$$$....All for humanity.....oh, and free this, and free that.......Reality check...Nothing is free. I have seen the stink of some Union RN's in CA treating there coworkers like dirt for not holding their same position. Destroying others property, childish name calling like disgruntled teens is a common tactic used against RN's who have the professionalism to care for patients while nurses stand in the street stomping their feet.

Have your union, but don't demand everyone to pay into them who reject what they invest that $$ into. It's ok to be Non-Union......wake up and be thankful you have a job.

Thanks.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU.

I find it surprising that so many nurses here said they would never cross a picket line under any circumstances...while it may not exist in the norm, unions on a power-trip DO exist and can demand unreasonable requests.

In my own personal philosophy, I don't like the idea of crossing a picket line. But if I felt that the union was demanding too much (to the point of beng ridiculous like asking for med-surg patients to be 1:2), I would think otherwise.

I would be very conflicted at my own facility since we are a tertiary care center and the closest equivalent is about 120 miles away and has their own patients. Considering that a cancer patient was recently killed by a nurse who put a feeding through a central IV line and an infant that has a stage 3 burn from a nurse that didn't bother to change the pulse ox site (all during nursing strikes within the past few months), I don't know if I could look into my primary patient parent's eyes and tell them that I would not be coming in but someone else would be who likely didn't have near enough experience and had a huge potential to harm their little one...

Thankfully I've never had to make that decision. My heart goes out to those that have...

OCNRN63, RN

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I heard a couple of nurses from my hospital went to CA and supposedly made fantastic money as scabs. More power to them. I don't believe in unions for middle to upper middle class workers, so I'd be very comfortable doing the same should the opportunity arise.

You don't believe in unions of r middle-upper middle class workers, but you have no problem taking advantage of a nurses' strike to improve your finances? Okey dokey.

TrafalgarRN

Specializes in Oncology, Emergency.

I have to pick myself off the floor from laughing when union nurses say they don't unionize for $$$$$$$....All for humanity.....oh, and free this, and free that.......Reality check...Nothing is free. I have seen the stink of some Union RN's in CA treating there coworkers like dirt for not holding their same position. Destroying others property, childish name calling like disgruntled teens is a common tactic used against RN's who have the professionalism to care for patients while nurses stand in the street stomping their feet.

Have your union, but don't demand everyone to pay into them who reject what they invest that $$ into. It's ok to be Non-Union......wake up and be thankful you have a job.

Thanks.

First and foremost i don't know how long you have been doing this to understand the union perspective. Let me give you a story....a long time ago , i worked in an Oncology floor and i had 6-8 patients on a night; 2 would be getting blood transfusions, 2 would be having platelets, 2 antibiotics e.t.c ...if this was not unsafe then tell me what unsafe is....management never cared and they simply stated that if you couldn't handle it then you might as well quit. I left that floor and went to the ER where on a regular day i would have 10 patients spread all over the department; you would have an MI, PE, GI Bleed under you care plus 7 other patients. Through an union, we united and were able to pass the ratios law in California. Since then life looks easy and it amazes me when the new generation of nurses can't even handle 4 patients and whine that the assignment is hard.

Money...never unionized for money...it simply fell along with the demands for better working conditions. And yes i do this for the love...wouldn't do it for charity and its a stupid idea to suggest that since we love this we provide free services. I do it for the love and also appreciate the pay check. I unionize to prevent unfair practices e.g closing down floors, emergency rooms and other medical services in areas that are deemed " poor"...those are some of the reasons...so next time you see nurses marching they are probably mad that families will have to travel 60 miles away since the pediatrics floor has been closed so that the Big Man can make money.

I stated that unionizing is hard and i don't recall demanding people to pay into it...but as a rule you have to join the union if you work in an unionized place. Its okay to be non-union.....> works for some. And then you wonder how the gap between the rich and poor has spread plus why the middle class is under assault.

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