U is For Union

Posted

Has 1 years experience.

Hey everyone - When I was hired then almost instantly promoted to LVN at my SNF, I was asked if I wanted to join the union. The administrator told me all but one LVN was NOT in the union. And the reason why that one nurse was in the union was because she came from a long line of family members that are all union members. She gave me a few days to think about it, do some research, and get back to her. I asked a couple of my co-nurses and the main feedback I got was that being a part of the union meant guaranteed pay raises.

What is the big deal about being in the union? Representation if things go south? Pay raises? I opted out because I had also heard that the administrator would rather us nurses not be in the union. And she basically implied the same thing in our discussion. So did I make a good decision?

Any and all feedback welcome! Thanks in advance!

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience. 6,089 Posts

I don't think good nurses need to be in a union. I would never willing join one and have worked in buildings with a union where there were horrible nurses no one dared to fire because 'it would cause trouble with the union.' Just my opinion....I'm sure I'll get flamed.

BettyBoop01

171 Posts

I think you need to do some research on what a union is. It is when employees unite together to make decisions as a group. The union is only as good as the amount of participation by the members. If you go to the meetings and vote, you get to have input on your salary & benefits. I like to have a say in my future. Statistically union nurses make more money and have better benefits than non union nurses. If anything comes up, it is nice to have representation. Hopefully you will never need them for that, most people do not. But I like things to be fair and well defined in writing, like how many hours in a row I can be forced to work or how many holidasy I can be scheduled for. I like to know if I have a question I can look up the policy in writing and have someone to back me up if it is not followed. I didnt appreciate the Union (never needed defending) until I moved to a state where there arent any and it is like a free for all down here. The administration does whatever they want, no fairness or rules. Lots of but kissing and relatives getting the good shifts and holidays off.

skicheryl

Specializes in Education. Has 27 years experience. 38 Posts

I did not support unions until CA nurses union was able to get mandatory pt ratios passed without the BS language most states nursing associations support that doesn't really mean anything. After working tele floors with up to 7 very tough pts wondering which one will code because of unsafe staffing levels and seeing all the nurses leave in droves to go over the mountain to CA where they have no more than 4 ... I now view nursing unions as a benefit not a negative.

Bella'sMyBaby

Specializes in MDS/Office. 340 Posts

I can't say if a Union would be beneficial since I've never been part of a Union.

But I CAN say that the Big LTC Corporations I've worked for did NOTHING to support me in any way..... :twocents:

dthfytr, ADN, LPN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-I

Specializes in ER, Trauma. Has 30 years experience. 1,162 Posts

I think union just because the head honcho doesn't have your best interests at heart. Sounds like you felt some pressure not to join the union, which I believe is illegal, and another reason I would join. IMHO

Bella'sMyBaby

Specializes in MDS/Office. 340 Posts

I think union just because the head honcho doesn't have your best interests at heart. Sounds like you felt some pressure not to join the union, which I believe is illegal, and another reason I would join. IMHO

When I was in Nursing School, there was a real push to unionize Nurses in my city.

The Union was "ran out" of town.....Never to be heard from again..... :cool:

dthfytr, ADN, LPN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-I

Specializes in ER, Trauma. Has 30 years experience. 1,162 Posts

Now why would it be run out of town unless it threatened something?

KarmaWiseRaven

251 Posts

I think whats really funny is that all of you think the union is for you. The union is there to collect your money and when push come's to shove they will sell you out in a heartbeat. They say and promise all this stuff and in reality is only as strong as your employer wants them to be. If the employer didn't want them in the workplace they can wait until the contract is up.

So then you say you'll strike. I have seen nurse's out in Calif go out on strike and get fired the same day. And if you think there's not other nurse's ready to take your place at any given time you all best think again. So before you jump on the Union Bandwagon research on the union and ask Is a union right for you. Because once your in a union you have no choice. The union is good for one thing. That is you really don't have to do your job. You can just file a grievance yea i have seen that as well. Nurse's feeling they don't have to do crap and when you go to complain and the DON get's in to it. You called in with your union rep and you file and nothing comes out of it. Like i said the union is not for everyone research then decide and don't let anyone pressure in to it. These are my thoughts use them as you wish.. PS I'm not union and i have never been but i have worked with people who were. And how they did things and i did things it was like night and day. TY and Happy Holidays

duwah

16 Posts

I worked at what was at the time the only union hospital in my state. First hand I can tell you that the rules were in writing...which made both administration and staff go thru designated channels to resolve differences. I believe it made for better working conditions to know exactly what was expected of you. It was not necessary to join the union to benefit from the contract we all worked under...but if you wanted a say in the contract you had to be a voting member.

Chico David, BSN, RN

1 Article; 624 Posts

I worked at what was at the time the only union hospital in my state. First hand I can tell you that the rules were in writing...which made both administration and staff go thru designated channels to resolve differences. I believe it made for better working conditions to know exactly what was expected of you. It was not necessary to join the union to benefit from the contract we all worked under...but if you wanted a say in the contract you had to be a voting member.

There is an important point in this one: Legally, the benefits that a union negotiates are for all those covered by the contract, whether they choose to join or not. And the same applies to representation. The National Labor Relations Act requires that the union represent all the workers covered by the contract whether they choose to join or not. Obviously your hospital is an "open shop" - which means that joining is optional. About 20 or so states are so called "right-to-work" states (a misnomer if ever there was one - "right to work for less" is more like it). This means that in those states a union shop - where everyone is required to join or pay a fee in lieu of joining - is illegal. It's no accident that the wages in those states tend to be lower than in other states.

As to why you might want to join: The ability of your union to negotiate decent wages/benefits and working conditions is entirely dependent on the level of support it has in the facility. Open shop unions where only a few of those covered by the contract choose to join get weak contracts and poor wages. When more members get involved, the union is stronger and can accomplish more. So, whether you join or not, the contract covers you. But it may not be a very good contract without much support.

Finally anything that anyone says about all unions as a class is as accurate as anything anyone says about all women as a class, or all cars, or whatever. Different unions are as different as different people. Some are weak, ineffective and undemocratic. Others are powerful, effective and member driven. For my money, the best healthcare/nursing unions are ones that specialize in healthcare/nursing. But because those aren't available everywhere, a lot of others - teamsters, steelworkers, etc - have also done some organizing in healthcare. By and large, I don't believe they do as good a job.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC. 1,620 Posts

I have always been in a nursing union and paid my monthly dues gladly. I wouldn't work at a place unless there was a union. United we rise, divided we fall.

When ever push came to shove in my circumstances the union was there defending me and won in my interests and many other RNs whom were being unjustly treated. There's seems to be a big differing of opinion on this and it's probably due to personal experience which in my case has always been positive with nursing unions.