What are Nursing Unions?

What are nursing unions? / Do we need nursing unions? / ADPIE Nursing / #nurselife #nurseblog #nursingadpie #adpie #murse #nursingstudents #nursingleadership #unions #nursing
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Welcome back! This week we are focusing on nursing unions.

Do nurses need a union?

We took a poll on our Facebook and Instagram accounts and a majority of our voters were pro nursing union. Let's take a look into what it means to be a part of a union.

Overall, the nursing union looks out for their members. This is either in a financial or legal aspect.We were fortunate enough to speak with a nurse that gets to take full advantage those benefits from what nursing union has to offer in California.

What type of benefits are we looking at with unions?

From what we've gathered, the union's goal is to:

  • Assure their members are compensated
  • Guarantee employers provide growth within their organization
  • Improve work conditions

They also believe in strength in numbers, therefore you may hear on the news about nurses going on strike in an effort implement changes for their work conditions. Often times strikes don't last long, but they are effective. Union nurses get paid approximately 20% more than non-union facility employed nurses. Unions have influenced nurse-patio ration. In fact, California is mandated by law to keep patient ratios low to provide the best care by nursing. Sadly, hospitals may decrease the number of ancillary team members in order to abide by the law.

We are fortunate to know a few people were employed by unionized hospitals and they were extremely pleased with the unions' work. According to our resources, they were guaranteed fair wages, great working environments, yearly raises, and most importantly they felt like someone had their back!

Is it a perk to be a member?

Contrary to belief, there are some disadvantages to unions. Seniority has a big part in requests for time off or switching positions. This means if multiple nurses are requesting the same time off, the more senior nurse will be granted the time off. The same thought process is applied with nurses seeking professional growth within the organization; the union guarantees the employer will provide opportunities, but the most senior nurse seeking the position will have dibs on it. Another disadvantage is compensation, if a contract states a fixed rate, therefore incentive won't be expected. In addition, if the union decides to go on strike, those nurses will face some difficult times. Ethically, they are not allowed to care for their patients as they will "cross the line". They will also not receive financial compensation while they were on strike.

Should every nurse join?

Research suggests a positive correlation between successful unionization, safety, and satisfaction; implying unions are beneficial when they run successfully.  It would be each person's choice whether they would join the union. As far as we know, obtaining a membership is not mandatory. So we wonder, is the union way the future of healthcare employees? We are sure we will find out soon or later as things continuously evolve in healthcare.

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Disclaimer: ADPIE headquarters is located in FL and unfortunately, we have do not have first hand participation in a union as FL is not a union state. All information has been obtained from online resources and the personal anecdotes of others.

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