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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

The Wisconsin Nurses Association issued an official response to the State Budget Adjustment Proposal on February 16 that reads, in part, “WNA does not support the fast-track process that changes a long standing state statute governing the collective bargaining rights for public employees.” The WNA has also expressed concern over another part of the bill that would allow the Department of Health Services to determine future benefits and coverage for Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs. “WNA finds this inappropriate and believes that without comprehensive debate, solicitation of testimony from the ‘feet on the ground’ care providers, like RNS, the uninformed short sighted outcomes and consequences could results in increased costs to these critical programs,” the statement reads.

National Nurses United, the national nurses’ union, is involved as well. They’ve established a Twitter account, @ProtestInTheUsa, to spread news and information regarding the protests and nurses’ rights to unionize and bargain collectively.

Nurses in other countries are paying attention as well. Brent Holmes, General Secretary of the New South Wales Nurses’ Association, sent Gov. Scott Walker a letter stating, “Fundamental rights to bargain about not only wages but working conditions which impact on nurses’ capacity to deliver safe patient care should not be removed because banks and financial institutions made terrible judgments and left your country and your State in a difficult financial position.”

What Do You Think?

Where do you stand on the issue of nurses and collective bargaining? Do you think collective bargaining is a useful tool to help ensure safe staffing for both patients and nurses, or do you think the unions have gone too far? Should states have the power to remove workers’ rights to collective bargaining?

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