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Would you ever be a scab?


Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Due to a short stint in travel nursing, I am now on the email list of several travel nursing companies. I just received an email from one company, talking about how they're gearing up to send 300+ nurses out to Maine, in anticipation of a strike.

They're only guaranteeing 36 hours total, and they anticipate the strike may end by that time. And they're offering $46/hour for a week of work.

I don't know, if I'm going to uproot my life, fly across country, cross a picket line of angry nurses, and only have one week of guaranteed work, I darn well better be paid more than $46/hour!

What say you?

Would you, could you, be a scab? For $46/hour?

Why do you use the pejorative term? What is wrong with calling them something that does not connotate a negative opinion of the worker? Lots of out of work nurses do this sort of work because they can't get a regular job. I doubt they appreciate being called names because they need to work to support themselves and their families. Just a thought.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Is it a pejorative? It was just always the term I've heard used, as someone who fills in for a striking worker. No insult intended or meant.

Would you prefer "eschar"?

Seriously, though, I did not mean insult. I honestly didn't know 'scab' was considered an insulting term.

Edited by klone


Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics. Has 5 years experience.

Very unlikely. They're probably lobbying for the very same work related issues that we've all encountered at one time or another, so I would not disrespect them by crossing the picket line.

Besides, at $46/hr, it almost sounds like a bribe.

Solidarity over money!

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Besides, at $46/hr, it almost sounds like a bribe.

See, I thought the opposite. For a travel nursing position, it seemed an awfully low wage to cross a picket line.

Why do you use the pejorative term? What is wrong with calling them something that does not connotate a negative opinion of the worker? Lots of out of work nurses do this sort of work because they can't get a regular job. I doubt they appreciate being called names because they need to work to support themselves and their families. Just a thought.

The way union folks feel a out them, that's pretty

much as mild a term as we could use. The willingness to stand with the bosses against your fellow workers is part of the reason for the enormous shift in income and wealth this country has experienced in the last 30 or so years. Only when workers learn to stand together will they stop pushing us down.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

You mean would I be willing to stab my sisters and brothers in nursing in the back for my own financial gain? Would I be willing to send the message to a dysfunctional hospital's administration that the nursing profession is unsupportive of its own and fragmented?

Nah. Not so much.

AggieNurse99, BSN

Specializes in Telemetry, Med/Surg, Infusion, Vascular Access. Has 13 years experience.

I could never cross a picket (sp?) line. Dad was union. 'course I'm probably the odd man out here in Texas....


Has 6 years experience.

No, I don't cross picket lines.

No. Never. I don't even cross picket lines that have nothing to do with nursing.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

Probably not. I would only even consider it if I felt fully educated about the issues involved in the strike and totally confident that the strikers were wrong. But even then, I would be hesitant.

If I were NOT 100% confident that the strikers were wrong, I hope I would not consider it -- even if I needed the money. I hope I would keep my integrity even if I were poor and find some other way to earn money.


Specializes in Psych , Peds ,Nicu.

the strike breakers would be selling themselves cheaply for that amount of pay , even cheaper than Judas .

Frankly if you can't handle being called a scab , don't betray your fellow nurses by crossing a picket line . They considered long and hard before voting to strike , NO nurse enjoys going on strike .


Specializes in pcu/stepdown/tele. Has 4 years experience.

While I would not cross a picket line, I believe that as a nursing profession we have to realize that there will be people who will HAVE to cross it to care for the sick people. Here is an example: Small town hospital, closest "trauma" facility is 1hr+ away, a good 35 min helicopter ride even if it isn't storming (daily occurance here). So if my mom is having a heart attack, the ambulance is going to take her to the local hospital to get stable. Which is still a good 20 min away. So, if that hospital is shut down because nurses are striking, mom will have to be transported a good hour to hour and half away to be seen. Will she make it? Alive with no lasting damage? At least my local hospital can get her started and stable to transport.

So while I am a nurse and I would choose to not cross a picket line, the reason I went into nursing is because of my patients. If I work at a union hospital, and we go on strike, I will have to assume that there will be "scabs" who will come and take care of my patients for me because they still need care no matter what nurses do or say. The hospitals may cancel elective surgeries but they will NOT be able to shut their doors and we shouldn't expect them to. I'm not saying that it is right or wrong, I'm just saying that it is. People need care, they need nurses to care for them, there is no way around it and hospitals have to pay out the a** for strike workers so that is their incentive to prevent the strike. I just think that anyone who has to cross the strike lines should still be treated with respect, they may not be doing this because they want to, maybe they need the money or maybe they just realize that those patients need help too. Please treat them as the professionals they are, they went to school just like you, have bills to pay just like you and they are probably on your side in your issues. Show some compassion for the patients and don't take it out on those who are there to help your patients get better.

Bortaz, MSN, RN

Specializes in CDI Supervisor; Formerly NICU. Has 12 years experience.

I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.

The only ones that benefit from a union strike....is the union itself! not the members! My dad was union and they broke into our house and tore stuff up, solely because he had to cross the picket line to get a loan when my grandfather was dying!!!! The unions can stick it as far as I'm concerned! I'd cross the line in a minute.....I'm supporting me and mine!

Unions have outlived their usefulness and are nothing more than bullies.

Sorry, it was a sore spot and a soap box moment for me. ;-)


Specializes in Psych , Peds ,Nicu.

flnursemichelle , if you have read previous post re. strike breakers ( please note I usually refer to them as such in my posts , rather than the S. word ) you will find that most simply express the sentiment of HOW much is in it for me for being a strike breaker .They do not care what caused the professional nurses at the facility to vote for the strike .

Some who strike break come from areas where pay and staffing is relatively low , but rather than try to improve the situation at home they take the easy route by taking the strike breaking positions .

I am pragmatic enough to accept that employers will offer these positions and nurses will take them , but I feel those who take them sell themselves cheaply ( if you have a needed service , which is hard to fulfill ,you should be able to ask a high price for your service )and try to cover there actions by the fig leaf of moral outrage that nurses abandon patients , to justify their financially motivated action ( which is what they are often accusing the striking nurses of ie. they are only striking because of the money ).

The situation you describe of a rural hospital being effected by a strike is petinent . However , do you not think , the nurses who voted for the strike are not aware of the potential effects of their decision and therefore there must be a good reason for taking action .

You ask for the strike breakers to be treated with respect , sorry I can't do that , I can understand that they may have financial obligations that cause them to strike break .But they are putting their needs ahead of the needs of the striking Nurses and the longterm safety of patient ( where staffing etc. is a factor that caused the nurses to vote for a strike ).


Specializes in school RN, CNA Instructor, M/S.

The only time I ever crossed a picket line was as a Union informant for other nursing unions to gather first hand info on how well staffed the hospital has suddenly become because everybody is watching!!! I would collect staffing info and "interview" strickbreaking nurses and supervisors on the pretext of being a concerned family member of a patient currently in the hospital. I used my clinical experience as a nurse to uncover staffing levels and compensation packages being offered to strikebreaking nurses. I LOVED my job as a union organizer!!!!

Absolutely! Someone has to care for the patients that have been abandoned by the striking nurses. Its the nurses who strike that should be singled out by their colleagues. These are unprofessional individuals who put money before patients. I personally think any nurse who strikes should be summarily fired just like the ATC goons who struck! This is not about solidarity as they would have you think nor is it about patient safety but it is about the almighty dollar and that idiot boss rose. Unions have far outlived their usefulness and need to go the way of the dinosaur!