Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why Union?

Today begins a series of 3 guest blogs, one from each of the 3 Local presidents of L+M Hospital.  Individually they are each a well written piece, but taken as a group, they are compelling.
The first is from Lisa D’Abrosca, President of the RN's.

Local 5049 RN’s I want to take this time to focus on the newer members of our union. First, I want to welcome you all! Second, I want to tell you a little bit about what it means to be a member of this union.
Belonging to a union means that you have a voice. It can be very scary to be brand new in a job where you hold peoples’ lives in your hands. Lots of questions and concerns can go through your minds, and it can be uncomfortable to speak up. Union membership means that you can come forward if you have questions or if you see something that doesn't seem right without the fear of retaliation.
Belonging to a union means that you have fairness in the workplace. You have the protection of the union contract that states no employee will be disciplined or terminated without just cause. That means in order to be disciplined in any form, the boss has to have a valid reason with legitimate evidence to back it up. Because of the contract, the union members have the grievance process to adjudicate a discipline or termination if there was no substantial reason for it, or if the boss cannot produce adequate evidence.
Not only do you have fairness when it comes to the big picture (i.e. discipline and termination), you also have fairness when it comes to other benefits. Never will you alone have to bargain your own wages, benefits, or hours of work. Collective bargaining is the process by which the union leadership and management bargain over the contract: the document that binds the hospital to said wages, benefits, and working conditions. The union contract ensures that everyone will receive the same pay raises, that everyone will receive the same benefits, and that everyone will be held to the same standard of care. The contract also makes clear the use of sick and vacation time—maintaining a guideline that affects everyone.
Belonging to a union means that you have resources. You have your local union leadership that is almost always available to answer questions and help solve problems. But not only do you have resources at the local level, you have the full backing of both the state and national levels of our union with all of their resources, as well.
Belonging to a union means that you are not alone. There are 500 other RNs who come to work at L&M every day. These nurses experience the same hardships that you do, and have encountered situations similar to those you have encountered. There are monthly meetings where RNs come and air their concerns and ask their questions with the assurance of utmost privacy and confidence. These meetings take place on the first Thursday of the month at 3:30 pm at the union hall.
Please come and get involved. The leadership of the union is not the union, YOU are the union! Remember, we were all new at first. Stick with it, and soon you will be a veteran union member, too!
In Solidarity,
Lisa D’Abrosca, President
Local 5049 RN’s

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