Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Advantages and Disadvantages

Benefits of Forming a Union

1. A union would help us improve our salary and benefits package. Currently our annual raises are based on how little they can pay to keep us from leaving. The hospitals in the region find out what the others will be increasing salaries to and then follow suit. Frequently this raise does not even keep up with inflation. Our benefits decrease or the cost for them increases so that the raise does not increase our take home pay significantly. Also our longevity increases are capped so that many senior nurses have not received a pay raise in years.

2. We could improve standards for nurse and patient protection. Establishing patient care ratios would give us the opportunity to provide safe, comprehensive care to all our patients. We could establish a safe floating policy and professional practice committees that would insure patient care standards. Paid educational leave would help us keep our practice skills up to date and maintain our license.

3. Retirement security is far from the minds of nurses less than 30. But for the more experienced nurses, retirement is a current issue. A union would help us improve our defined benefit plan to help younger nurses plan for retirement and provide for retiree health care benefits for those that retire before 65.

4. A union would give us the ability to stand up for each other and our patients. It is a means of empowerment and respect for nurses. We would have a voice in our facility and in the community.

5. A legally binding contract would be established that would insure our rights and benefits, preventing management from changing the rules at their discretion and ignoring the impact on staff and patients.

Disadvantages of Forming a Union

1. Unions cost money and time. Union dues for the California Nurses Association equal 2.2 times one hour of salary per month. Example, if you make $20/hr, your monthly dues would be $44 (tax deductible if you itemize). They cap dues at a maximum of $89.50/mo and reduce it for those working less than 12 hours a week. Also, there are meetings to attend, possible picket line duties and if voted for by the membership, we could have to strike.

2. As a contract would insure our rights and benefits, it obligates us as well. Our job descriptions would be clearly defined. Failing to meet those standards could be used in disciplinary proceedings.

3. All negotiations must be done through the union. Making changes would be more time consuming.

4. It could be more difficult to get rid of substandard nurses, as all nurses would have a union representative that would support them.

5. Management could become more distant if they see the union as an adversary. It might make them reluctant to solve a problem until they have consulted with the union.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a lot of questions about unions and hope we will be able to meet with a representative from a union to discuss them. What other professions in our area have a union? I think the police are part of one but how about teachers? I think it would be helpful to me to find out how other professions have benefitted or not from being part of a union. Also...if the nurses at Cone do form a union is EVERY nurse obligated to join?

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teachers in the state of North Carolina do not have a union.

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have worked as a nurse in a union hospital....nurses who supervise other staff are considered "management" and are not part of the union (not just department directors)....in our hospital, it meant that even charge nurses would be considered "management", RN IVs for example, and would not be in the union...they would not be voting and would be in a different non-union group....it would absolutely split up nurses who today work side by side.

Thursday, October 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not true... the only nurses who would not be union would be management. That WOULD NOT INCLUDE CHARGE RN's or RN IV. they would most definitely be considered under the union.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board has placed charge nurses and any nurse making decisions regarding patient mangement as non staff. The CNA is currently protesting this ruling. Go to their web site for more info. calnurse.org

Thursday, October 19, 2006  

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