Why Registered Nurses Should Be Part of a Union

Subject: Health Care
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 860
Topics: Nursing, Health, Job

Unionization is always a topic of concern when it comes to nursing. Registered Nurses, therefore, need a strong union.  The rise of healthcare for profit and shortages of nurses have dramatically changed registered nurses work environment and the demands placed on them. Too many nurses are working under conditions that are unsafe for themselves and also the patients. The nurses are spending too much time on non-nurse duties and endure too much overtime (Ponak, 1981). To solve the problems faced by the registered nurse, a strong, unified workforce is the best solution. This essay will therefore discuss the reasons why nurses should be part of a nursing union. 

Unionization of nurses makes registered nurses gain the ability to negotiate enforceable contracts that spell out specific working conditions. These conditions include nurse-patient ratios, the roles played by the registered nurses in determining standards of care, the circumstances under which the nurses will agree to work overtime, scales of pay, the benefits and dependable procedure for scheduling vacations and other time off. Unionization will also add the nurses’ voice when enacting better laws regulating hospitals and other healthcare environment (Clark, 2015). The union will also help to create government funded programs to fund and encourage nursing education. For the purpose of collective bargaining and enforcing contracts, members at each facility are represented by the union from their on-site team of elected representatives (Ponak, 1981). A member of a union have access to ongoing support and excellent training to help them become strong leaders.

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Many nurses are afraid of joining unions. Although some registered nurses believe that they can be fired for trying to unionize, federal laws guarantee them the right to unionize and also the right to negotiate an enforceable contract. Registered nurses working for both public and private employers have the right to organize and join a union. They have the right to organize with their fellow colleagues, select a union to join and negotiate collectively with the fellow employees. One major argument for unionization of registered nurses is that a hospital can no longer cut the larger cost center because wages are guaranteed by the contract. With unionization, there is the power of leverage (Clark, 2015). The nurses are united standing together with a common goal. One of the biggest advantages of registered nurse unions is that their nurses do tend to be paid more and have better benefits. Unions negotiate things like pay, benefits, and job security and nurse-patient ratios. Many union members enjoy the benefits of direct representation by union staff in the workplace.

Nurses belonging to certain unions know they have a specific advocate when discussing negative workplace issues as opposed to nurses who are not union members. Those nurses who are not union members are less secure about whether someone will advocate on their behalves when dealing with same negative issues. In a union environment, there may be an adversarial relationship that exists between staff and managers because union negotiations occur regularly and my break down with disagreeable outcomes. Unionization helps counter the releases of the public that always occur during compensation negotiations (Seago, Spetz, Ash, Herrera, & Keane, 2011). In the current business world, there is a divide between the managers and workers.  Unionization provides a voice against the management of the health care provider. There is an idea that since nurses are caregivers, they should be willing to give their time without consideration of their livelihood. Unionization looks into this issue with the aim of making it fair for the nurses. 

There is a guarantee of job security with Unionization. Although the security of the job depends on the employment contract signed, a nursing union can give nurses better overall career option regarding longevity than non-union employment options (Seago, Spetz, Ash, Herrera, & Keane, 2011). With Unionization, nurses are represented in cases where the management want them to undergo disciplinary actions or subjects them to unfavorable conditions. Nurses will, therefore, face such risks as a being fired without going through due process. With such kind of representation, registered nurses will be assured that they can continue taking care of patients without sacrificing their livelihood and wellbeing (Ponak, 1981). Unionized registered nurses will have more power as a cohesive group than when acting individually. Through collective bargaining, nurses will be able to negotiate, health and safety issues, benefits and working conditions with the management, through the unions.  In most cases, a worker who is unionized has more seniority and receive preference for an open job. Seniority also can be a factor in determining who gets a promotion. It, therefore, means that with unionization, nurses will be favored in case of seniority and promotions, will bring about elimination of favoritism in the workplace.

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  1. Clark, P. L. (2015). Nurses Unions Efforts to Give RNs a Greater Voice in Patient Care. Members-only Library.
  2. Seago, J. A., Spetz, J., Ash, M., Herrera, C. N., & Keane, D. (2011). Hospital RN job satisfaction and nurse unions. Journal of Nursing Administration41(3), 109-114.
  3. Ponak, A. M. (1981). Unionized professionals and the scope of bargaining: A study of nurses. ILR Review34(3), 396-407.
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