Discussing pros, cons of nurses union

06/24/2014 4:05 PM

06/24/2014 4:06 PM

Being a union nurse has its benefits

I worked at Memorial Medical Center for nearly 10 years before leaving for a California Nurses Association-backed hospital. My experience as a bedside ICU nurse is what prompts me to write.

In the ICU, patients are at their most vulnerable and in need of the best possible care. During my 10 years in Memorial’s ICU, I experienced daily violations of staffing laws, nurses being out of ratio during breaks (if we got them) and management whose “open-door policy” revealed an empty office.

My current experience is that CNA doesn’t force me to do anything; they force the employer to obey the law and protect patients. My hours are guaranteed. I don’t get called off so upper management can profit. Patients don’t get nurses with three or four patients during breaks. Employees are protected from out-of-touch managers who terminate good RNs while they ignore gaps in patient care. CNA also works with my employer to make sure my vacation time is awarded to me and that my education hours are plentiful and available for use. All this is best for patients.

Mike Floyd, RN, Modesto

The downside of CNA activity

Perhaps the nurses who wrote the “yes” side of “Do nurses at Memorial need a union? Yes: Organized labor benefits everyone” (Opinions, June 19) on the union vote at Memorial Medical Center would have been more believable if they had said how many of the 150 laid-off employees were actually RNs. They might also have told us if the California Nurses Association has ever successfully blocked a layoff, or why ancillary employees, who could be furloughed during a nurses strike, are not allowed to vote in the upcoming election.

The writers didn’t concern themselves with obvious questions, like: Of the last 10 times the CNA went on strike, how many were for a better nurse-to-patient ratio; how many were for better benefits for nurses? Who cares for their patients when they’re on strike? What will happen to ancillary employees who cross a CNA picket line?

Nor did they mention that the changes they seek aren’t automatic if a union is voted in; all must be negotiated.

Also missing was any discussion of why the CNA uses deceptive tactics in getting people to sign union interest cards: illegally entering the hospital, interrupting nurses while they are working, and flooding break rooms with propaganda while defacing the posters of opponents. Before voting, perhaps the RNs at Memorial should ask, “Do I want to be part of an organization that acts this way?”

Lance Edmisten, Modesto

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