Nurses Activism


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4 Posts

Sonia, thanks for the support. Our union submitted questionaires to us last summer with our main concerns for this contract were. Needless to say better treatment, no cancellations of fulltime and parttime regularly scheduled people were among the tops. Wages never even entered into it.It just amazes me how much nursing has turned around and the people in positions of power just can't understand why women are not going into this field.

Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

"The "Right to Fall" comes from HFCA."

Gypsyrose, HFCA is now "The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)" and I recommend you read the following newsletter they have on their website:


which says that "even in the face of some unfortunate legal decisions in the past, the best strategy for hospitals from a purely self

interested point of view remains good treatment based on the what is now known about restraint use, and not a reflexive return to bad medical practices because of some perceived threat of legal suits."

Somehow, to me at least, "the right to fall is within the realm of a "bad medical practice."

I strongly urge you to investigate the CMS site yourself and not let your facility tell you what "HCFA says."


658 Posts

Specializes in Medical Surgical.

I work at a Missouri hospital that is going into a union vote in about a month. (very new for Missouri!) This is a question for nurses who went through this. We are being lobbied by both sides. What made the nurses in your hospital want to unionize? What made them not want to? Any advice for us?


2,709 Posts


Control over the conditions of their employment. Legally binding guarantees of those conditions. The fact that when the nurses are not a union, what ever the employers promise & give to them is only given while the employers WANT to give it. When they change their minds, poof!.....its gone. But as a union, anything you obtain from your employer - salary, benefits, working conditions, workplace safety, professional practice issues (like safe staffing ratios, floating restrictions, the hospitals nursing education responsibilities to you, etc) is GUARANTEED in a legally binding contract & cannot just disappear.

Just like the conditions of your administrator's employment are guaranteed in HIS contract with the hospital's Board. The Board cant just walk in one day & tell him theyre cutting his salary or changing anything else because HE has a legal, binding, written contract that holds them to their promises. If its good for the gander, its good for the goose.

Lets say you are not a union and you had free health benefits and a prescription plan yesterday. Thats good. But then tomorrow, when the employer has his quarterly financial meeting & sees that profits are down & he wants to cut expenses, if you are not a union, HE decides that the hospital will no longer pay for your health benefits and will reduce your prescription plan so you will now be paying much more. If you are not a union, you eat it or look for another job (but once he gets away with this, most other palces in the area will try to do the same thing, so where you gonna go???).

If you are a union, the employer has to come up with some other way to cut his expenses because he cant even think about trying this with you or doing anything else to you without your consent.

We unionized so we would have legal rights & no longer be at the mercy of some businessman's daily whims and so we could be part of the decision-making that affects us, our practice and our jobs.

NOBODY didnt want to. Being a union member is a mind set in this city. You get a job, you join the union. Its a given. Practically automatic. Its what built this city. Just about every relative you have is in a union. Even office workers and secretaries are unionized. Almost EVERBODY is in a union. Its just the way it is. Its not something people are afraid of. Its something that is expected.

The trick is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK, interview several organizations, talk to their other members, shop around, and go with the one that is the strongest, most productive, understands your important issues, & will best represent you the way you want to be represented.

Well, since you are having your vote next month, its assumed that you already did all of the above so vote YES. And remember that once you do, the real work begins. The union office is there to guide you, back you up, & provide the resources, but YOU will be "the union" & its up to YOU to make it work at your facility. Nobody can do that for you. Get involved.


If anybody there is in confusion & doubt because of all the lobbying & propaganda your hospital is throwing at you to try to get you to get rid of the union for them, ask yourself one question.......

If unionizing was not a good thing for nurses and didnt actually give them a share of the control over their workplaces, WHY is the hospital trying SO HARD to stop you from unionizing? Hmmmmm......

Good luck with your vote.


22 Posts

Again, jt, you're right on.


46 Posts

A year ago, several co-workers and I began a journey that I won't soon forget. We began a campaign for union representation because our Administrative staff didn't listen to our needs (the ones who were covering shifts short and making excuses to the families.....the ones who were offered NO benefits except overtime.....when we were allowed to work it)

Administration didn't care and we are also a 'right to work state', which means if the DON didn't like your hair......you would be looking for a new job. It was that petty!

Anyway, we did a march on the boss, presented him with the notification that we, nurses and cna's were in the process of organizing a union drive. That was August 5, 2001. Of 18 that showed interest, by Nov.1 none of us remained. We were all fired for some lame-brain reason or another. We files suit with the NLRB (national labor relations board) and the facility was found guilty. You wouldn't believe the 'lying under oath' that the admin staff and corporate people did! I was afraid that lightening was going to come through the ceiling at any minute!:devil:

We were given 6 months back pay, accurred vacation and they even had the gall to offer us our jobs back......they are severely under staffed and can't keep nurses/cna's due to the publicity, but guess what we suggested they do with their jobs????:imbar

Would I campaign again....go through this again?????? If I needed to I would. It was a hard road and lots of headaches, but if the nurses are treated right, paid right and respected for the jobs we do, there wouldn't be any need for us to seek out union affiliation in the first place.:cool:


2,709 Posts

Fired for attempting to unionize BUT...........


See? Its federal law that we have the right to be a union. They CANT fire us for doing this....... UNLESS we let them. The sooner more of us realize it & get over the fear of it, the better off we'll all be.


22 Posts

Management preys on the fear and lack of knowledge. Nurses need to be aware of their rights so they can combat the intimidation instilled by management. Knowledge and unity are our best defense.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Howdy yall

From deep in the heart fo texas.

To unionize or not to unionize. Thats is the question or is it the answer. Whether its better to face the slings and arrows of the administrative forces or not. Sounds vaguely familiar somehow. This is a debate that has gone on for years. Are unions the answer, possibly. Where would nursing be today if nurses in some areas hadnt unionized decades ago and helped raise the standard of education, the standard of pay, helped improve the work place, by representing nurses. Then other non union hospitals had to raise their pay and working conditions to match what the union hospitals standards or they would lose a bunch of nurses to them. Have unions helped nursing on the whole, I would have to answer YES. Are they the current answer to problems, I would have to answer, I DONT KNOW. But you got to remember I live in TEXAS the land that totally abhors unions of any type down here in the GOOD OLE BOY POLITICAL ENVIROMENT. I do miss Anne Richards, I dont miss Little Georgie W. Bush. Can unions be detrimental to nursing as a profession, thats a possibility. Can they be of assitance to nursing as a profession, that is quite possible. I suppose any one persons views can be affected by the way they were raised. My father who was always an administrator of sorts was always antiunion big time, he used to yell at the evils of unionization, but then it was his job to yell at them. Me, Im an assitant nurse manager, so Im somewhere in the middle. Can unions be mismanaged, I would have to answer YES. Can hospital administration be unsupportive and abusive to nurses. I would imagine the answer is probably most definitely YES. The hospital where Im at I will say treats us very well, So Im happy where Im at. If I wasnt I wouldnt have put 14 to 15 years into the workplace here, So I, as an individual am happy. So I would have to say Im evenly divided on the issue of unioization. It can be both good and bad. Ill leave that to someone far smarter than me to determine. And Ill keep an open mind to all possibilities

Keep it in the short grass, yalll



4 Posts

Our hospital unionized 20 years ago and I have only been there for 15 years but I see the good the union has done. Our medical benefits are excellant and they can't change them unless they give us equal or better..no withdrawing medical payments or making us take lesser coverage.Unions can have their problems too but in this day and age nurses need support from somewhere..and they are not getting it from the ANA!!!!!!!


46 Posts

Janhertherington.....What part of Missouri are you in???

Nursing union......."very new to Missouri"?????? I'm afraid not. There are several hundred thousand union members in Missouri.

Hang tight and stand your ground!! You have the right to organize/support union activity. DON'T let administration to intimidate,bully or threaten you. Keep your union reps informed of any type of this activity. I personally carried a small tape recorder with a lapel mic clipped to my bra under my scrubs. If I was called to ANYONE'S office, I turned it on before entering.....but didn't let anybody know I had it on!

I hope you and your co-workers are victorious, keep us posted!:D

Specializes in Mobile Critical Care Nurse/AGACNP-BC.

I find it interesting that more and more nurses are finally opening their eyes and seeing that union is the only way to go. And as far as nurses refusing patient assignments...good for them...it's about time. Each RN has his or her own license granted to them from the BRN not the hospital management. Each RN should know that they have the right to refuse a assignment. If the RN feels that the assignment is too heavy, too unsafe, it is the RN's responsibility to make it known and refuse if all other measures fail. I personally would report the facility to the Dept. of Health services. I am very prounion and have seen hospital management change their tune when nurses rally together and say "no". It's about time. If more RNs in hospital management would be qualified to work in the units they cover, many of these problems would not exist. But they lie about their credentials to get the big bucks and get a supposedly 9 to 5 job. As far as I'm concerned...if your are in management, your responsibility is 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Hospitals do not close in the evening. I hope more nurses in this country open their eyes and become more assertive with their patient assignments.:eek:

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