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Should Nurses Have the Power to Unionize?

Should Nurses Have the Power to Unionize?

Jennnifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN | NursingLink

Why Nurses Are Concerned

While the current proposals only address state employees, labor leaders and others fear that proposals limiting collective bargaining will soon slip into the private sector as well. “The labor movement in Wisconsin is very historic,” Weber says. “Wisconsin was instrumental in getting the 40-hour work week and weekends off. The labor movement was instrumental in getting those things for all workers, and if the labor movement is squashed, there’s no telling how far back we’re going to be going in terms of labor everywhere, in every sector.”

Nurses such as Weber are particularly concerned because they believe that limits on collective bargaining will severely hamper their ability to advocate for safe patient environments. According to a 2004 article published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, nurses commonly use collective bargaining to deal with issues such as:

• Mandatory and voluntary overtime
• Acuity-based staffing systems
• Use of temporary nurses
• Protection from reassignment, work encroachment by non-nurses and mandated non-nursing duties
• Provisions for work orientation and continuing education
• Whistleblower protection
• Health and safety provisions
• “Just cause” language for discipline and termination
• Provisions for nursing and multidisciplinary practice committees

What Nurses Are Doing

Nurses are among the thousands of protesters that have gathered in Madison, Wis. The Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals has buses running to Madison daily; their website also includes links to an online petition and contact information for state legislators.

Next: Taking Action >>


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    mcsmith

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I am for unionization. If something doesn't happen soon, nurses are going to do everyone's job on the floor and the patients are going to suffer more than they have ever before. Right now, On my floor,We are responsible for secretary, cna, monitor tech, housekeeping, stocking, PT, transporting, RT, duties. Oh and if we can fit it in RN duties as well. The manager's excuse, they can't hire experienced people. REALLY! With the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE?. West Tennessee

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    jmac671

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    If you unionize nurses and the union leaders decide to strike, you will get strike wages while the leaders are still getting full pay. I have a huge problem with this!!!! Unions served a purpose way
    back, but have outlived their usefulness!!!! Non union is the way to go.

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    pacunurse

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Nurses absolutely should unionize. "Professional" teachers, firefighters, and police (along with nurses) have a greater amount of autonomy under their collective bargaining agreement. To be able to effect positive change in your practice is crucial not only to patient satisfaction but the nurses.

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    debi58

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    no, Nursing is a profession. We are professionals. Look at other professional groups - lawyers, doctors, etc. They are not union.

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    kajung552

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Without the protections provided by union contracts, nurses have no real protection to advocate for patients without fear of losing our job. So, absolutely, nurses need collective bargaining rights. Having a union makes us better and stronger patient advocates and allows us to provide the kind of care all of us came into this profession to provide. Yes, Union!!

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    dlrooky

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Should nurses have the right to unionize? Absolutely! Have unions gone too far? Yes, in many cases. The problem is that unions are being treated monolithically. Some people still think of unions as get rich quick schemes for union leaders named Lucchese or Hoffa. It does not appear to me that there are exceptions or any extenuating circumstances being accounted for by the proposed legislation. I do not believe that unions are needed in every situation, nor do I believe that all management is evil or all corporations and governments are greedy. I think more often than not, the problem is non-medical people making decisions bearing on medical outcomes. This is not necessarily greed, but lack of knowledge or different priorities. There is a need for bargaining and/or some kind of grievance procedure or mediation. Just out of curiousity, I would like to see those statistics of unionized vs. non-unionized hospitals and see if that is the only control factor.

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    Dogfairy

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

    First of all, please get rid of that insulting photo of a nurse yelling through a bullhorn.

    Secondly, I truly do not understand why the question is even being asked on a site like this. I thought you were supportive of our profession and I am disappointed. Of course, nurses should have collective bargaining rights. Are you truly naive enough to think that corporate hospital managements have enough honor to create viable working conditions for nurses to have any sort of quality of life and for patients to have any sort of meaningful care after what you have seen over the last few decades? Shame on you!

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    Ludlow

    almost 4 years ago

    18 comments

    Nurses absolutely need collective bargaining rights! All nurses. It gives us a voice to improve patient safety conditions. It is why patients at unionized hospitals DO have better outcomes.

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