Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nursing and Unions

Today's Salt Lake Tribune:

A Utah nurse called on Congress to step in and reverse a 2006 ruling she said made it more difficult for nurses in her hospital - who have been fighting to form a union since 2002 - to reach that goal.
Without the change, said Lori Gay, a critical care nurse at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center for the last 23 years, "nurses in this country will never have a clear and direct path to make their voices heard."
Gay recently told a House labor committee how nurses at her hospital wanted to protect themselves against profit-motivated management decisions, and organized a union election in 2002.
But the hospital challenged the vote, arguing so-called "charge nurses" who have some supervisory duties but cannot hire, fire or discipline other nurses, are technically management and should not be allowed to vote.
The National Labor Relations Board impounded the ballots during the challenge, which took years to wind its way through the appeals process, eventually being grouped with similar challenges at other hospitals. Last October, the board ruled against the nurses.

This issue is one that is very near to my heart. My mother in a nurse. There are times when she is the "charge" nurse, and days that she isn't.

Imagine that in your workplace, everyone was a supervisor once in a while.

For the NLRB to say that nurses who take "charge" positions once in a while are ineligable for a union is terrible. This will be a method for other companies to destroy unions.


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