Nurses Activism


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At different times, in my career, I have been represented by the NYSNA and the Florida Nurses Association. The representation of the NYSNA was a benefit for myself and the other nurses I worked with. The FNA was not. They gave me incorrect information and never backed me when I filed a grievance against. A grievance that was upheld. I would rather have a nurses association representing me then no respenstation at all. I've also had that and it is a disaster for employees.


The employer and employee relationship has deteriorated and I suspect both are lying to each other. Typically, I fault the employer for allowing the unions to get a foothold. If the adminstration wanted to keep the union activity out of their facility they should not have pushed the nurses to the point of seeking union representation.

When adminstration pushes the staff to the point that union activities occur, the risk is that union activities occur !!

The fault truly lies with adminstration, it is their failure. Unfortunately, it demostrates adminstration does not "know the staff and the needs of the staff". If they missed this and they did, they most likely are not intuitive enough to make corrections and resolve this issue.

I'm sorry, if you are in management, I suspect you are in for a few bad months. Good Luck.

Wow..couldn't have put it better myself!


328 Posts

Amen jt. I have seen nothing but good come from union involvement in my facility. I know that those who work in management don't see it that way. Why would management want the staff having any say in what would or could make the hospital a better workplace. I just think that having a contract that ensures better benefits and working conditions and a chance to work things out with management when problems arise is a good thing for all.


Thank God, the secret's OUT! Now is the time for all good nurses to come to the aid of their country's broken healthcare system! ORGANIZE, EDUCATE, ADVOCATE and LEGISLATE!


A Strong Voice for RNs and Patients

The National Nurses Organizing Committee is a new national union and professional organization for Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, and RN organizations throughout the country who want to pursue a more powerful agenda of patient advocacy that promotes the interests of patients, direct care nurses, and RN professional practice.

Chicago RNs, Healthcare Workers Announce New Campaign to Enact Key Staffing Bill to Protect Patients

Chicago area registered nurses and other healthcare employees joined with state legislators Monday, January 27 to announce a major escalation in efforts to enact a critical bill to require minimum safe staffing standards in Illinois hospitals to protect patient safety that will also help to mitigate the nursing shortage.

HB 2548, introduced by Rep. Mary Flowers would require minimum RN-to-patient staffing ratios for all hospital units and prohibit hospitals from retaliating against nurses who refuse to accept staffing assignments that jeopardize patient safety. A companion bill, SB 2270, has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Iris Martinez.

The bill is co-sponsored by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association (NNOC/CNA). A coalition of community groups, including Citizen Action, is also supporting the bill.

The bill is similar to a 1999 California law, sponsored by NNOC/CNA, that has enhanced care standards in California hospitals and helped produce a substantial increase in the number of RNs in that state.

As in Illinois, California hospital corporations have opposed the law. But in November, after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, due to public opposition, abandoned efforts to roll back the staffing law, state health department officials conceded that the bill is working and hospitals have been able to meet the staffing requirements.


1,355 Posts

Nurses are stretched so thinly due to the high staffing levels, it's a matter of self preservation to omit anything they can. A nurse on my unit was there til 10pm the other night just finishing her work (shift ends at 7pm). This is nurse who has been nursing for only 2 yrs, and is thinking of quitting because she is burned out by the stress. 2 years. This is exactly what I am talking about, that these business people in charge of healthcare are the ones who are CAUSING the nursing shortage. They must be stopped. They will never be stopped in their quest for higher profits if we don't stop them. And patients are dying because of their decisions. A new one is that patients have a right to fall. I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. When a pt is confused, they depend on the nurse to protect them. Now, they don't have the right to refuse treatment or to walk out of the hosptial, but they have the right to fall, get a subdural, and never be right again. A classic example of the idiots who are running healthcare today.

And all I can say about the rumor of the union nurses refusing assignments is hogwash. They are filling our assignment despite objection forms, to document the unsafe staffing levels, and shift the responsiblity of poor care from their license to the hospital. I mean, if a patients dies from poor care, and the nurse has documented that he/she complained about unsafe staffing to their management, she is doing all she can to protect her license. Which, by the way is being put on the line everyday by the money hungry execs. To that educator, I say, go upstairs and talk to those nurses on the front lines. Then you will see exactly why we are facing a nursing shortage. It's the job GyspyRose, it's the job. Now, we must continue on our quest to improve it.

In light of the thread that was posted by n-babegurl, titled "Abandonment and Short Staffing" , in the general forum,I though this thread was very apropo(sp).I know this is a hot subject but when I hear some nurses and their anti union sentiments ,I really wonder if they are just very lucky and have never been in the position of needing protection and a voice in their workplace.I know that some nurses have worked under a union that was worthless, ineffectual, but again I am perplexed that so many nurses would abandon the CONCEPT of a union because of this. These same nurses continue to complain about work conditions, patient safety issues, etc. but dont have an answere as to how we can improve the situation. I dont mean to critisize them for this confusion, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Why place your trust in the very same industry and their managemnet that has created this nightmare? There are strong unions out there and there are ways to get rid of weak unions.


6 Posts

You know it never ceases to amaze me how the times have changed in the world. Used to be you got a job in a facility and you could count on staying there for your entire career. Guess having coldhearted non- compassionate business people instead of caring nurses run things has changed all that. Looking at all these posts and being actively involved in The Nurse Alliance of SEIU has really awakened me . I really want to be able to go to work and just do my job, it would be a miracle if I could, but the way a typical day goes for me as my local president, that rarely happens.

I know Unions are very politically minded but there are many times when a connection to politics is needed in order for necessary laws to be passed that affect all of us in our working environments. SEIU's involvement in my state has helped us get safe needle and ban on mandatory overtime legislature passed. I think that's some pretty important stuff regarding all of us.

I have also spoken to nurses from all over the country in person and on the phone and realize that we all face the same or very similar problems and know that the only way to solve them is to organize and fight for what is important to us.

I know I have a tendency to run off at the mouth but I also see a need here . We have to remember that the old days are over and no one is going to look out for us but US.


946 Posts

Specializes in Looking for a career in NICU.

I can tell you, living in an area that was UNION to the core, those nurses that are practicing essentially patient abandonment on the job, are not going to have a leg to stand on if they get fired.

Most people don't understand what a Union does.

A Union doesn't make an employee unfireable, or even more difficult. It doesn't mean you can't write them up, suspend them, or otherwise repremand them.

What a Union ensures, is that EVERYONE is treated equal. If a manager gets a chip on her shoulder and decides she doesn't like a new grad that HR hired because she has Red hair and a couple of tatoos....the nurse manager cannot start "riding" an employee until she becomes so frustrated that she quits. It also gives more senior employees that have a higher rate a pay, job protection so they aren't forced out by upper management so they can get a new grad in and pay them 35% less a year.

It also ensures, whatever your experience, that they have to have a reason to fire you, and be able to prove it.

Not taking patients or being insubordinate? Sorry, those nurses need to be tossed out on their butt...the COMPANY can show their policy on taking patients, and if a nurse violates direction of a supervisor, he or she won't get any help from the union if they lose their job.

REMEMBER folks...if you like having a safe working environment, health insurance, vacation, overtime, etc...UNIONS FORCED COMPANIES TO GIVE THESE TO EMPLOYEES in the early days.....companies DID NOT give employees benefits because they wanted to, they were forced to.

Look around you...companies are working every day to find out how they can get their employees to do more and pay them less...why do you think all companies (almost) are anti-union? It's because they will be held ACCOUNTABLE.

If you have a chance to work for a Union hospital, I would encourage anyone to take it.

Josh L.Ac.

353 Posts

Specializes in Pain Management.

Had a class about the current state of nursing in my professional concepts class two weeks ago and I was the only person that brought up the topic of nursing unions. We had the instructors and a few core faculty in attendence and not a single one mentioned it.

Now, as students, we do get a sweet deal from HCA Midwest: they pay for our one-year accelerated BSN and we work for them for two years. Because of this, I do plan on showing some loyalty to the company. But I have noticed that in my first 9 weeks of clinic, I've had three of the nine nurses I followed quit for another job! I've spoken with two of them and they had good reasons which highlighted an interesting part of the "nursing shortage":

1. Nurses are likely to be unhappy with job, which causes them to quit.

2. Since so many nurses are quiting, it is easy to quit your job and get a better one.

That might be simplistic, and also involves a great amount of time and stress. If the midwest had a stronger nursing lobby, we would probably see higher retention and satisfaction with the nursing staff. Unfortunately, as a whole, those of us in the midwest tend to be skeptical of unions and tend to work hard even if we are not being treated fairly. This is probably why new RNs don't mind starting out at $20 an hour in KC and why it probably won't change very quickly.

We need a student-nurses union association to help get us informed and active before we even apply for that first job.

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,140 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

We need a student-nurses union association to help get us informed and active before we even apply for that first job.

Check out: National Student Nurses Association very active on some campuses; non-existant on others. Helpful since 1950's. It's how i got my feet wet with activism.

It is not a union but very informative re professional issues and conventions superb.

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