Union Disunity in the SEIU

Union Disunity in the SEIU

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 20th, 2007, 11:56 pm #1

This happens a lot now. Be aware of it. Not just in CA...

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.p ... 2063428527

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not pro union, so I tend to think this is bad
but I could be taking it the wrong way.

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Joined: February 13th, 2004, 5:08 pm

April 23rd, 2007, 7:08 pm #2

Not sure what you mean by 'bad'. There are a bunch of issues touched on in that article. I too have mixed emotions about unions, but in my experience, most union members did. I was an AFSCME member, and attended meetings, while a caseworker for the State of Illinois in my misspent youth. Unions protected good employees from bad managers, but also protected bad employees from good managers. That is always the clash with unions.

I see the overriding issue as something discussed on the forum before. The problem of where patients rights start/end and CNA rights start/end. There is that continual clash of patients, who are not competent, receiving what sometimes appear to be too many rights when in total care in LTC. But then, we all know some bad CNA's.

No answer --- the struggle will continue. I still think, as leery I am of unions, that CNA's probably need them at this point. Unions, IMHO, are most useful in new industries until market forces cause change in the workforce. LTC's, as a large business, are still relatively new and growing with all the boomers (hey, I'm one too!).

I think CNA's are taken advantage of every day and need a higher wage, reasonable workloads, and consistent expectations. I'm not sure that will happen without unionizing.
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Joined: February 20th, 2007, 8:42 pm

April 24th, 2007, 8:54 am #3

Well said, Rance. In the nursing home setting, until people recognize that the aides are NOT the enemy and treat them like the human beings they are...unions are needed to protect workers rights...especially from some "hormonal crazies" that rule like power tripping idiots. Yup, I'm pro union...and a union steward on day shift.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 24th, 2007, 11:59 am #4

Not sure what you mean by 'bad'. There are a bunch of issues touched on in that article. I too have mixed emotions about unions, but in my experience, most union members did. I was an AFSCME member, and attended meetings, while a caseworker for the State of Illinois in my misspent youth. Unions protected good employees from bad managers, but also protected bad employees from good managers. That is always the clash with unions.

I see the overriding issue as something discussed on the forum before. The problem of where patients rights start/end and CNA rights start/end. There is that continual clash of patients, who are not competent, receiving what sometimes appear to be too many rights when in total care in LTC. But then, we all know some bad CNA's.

No answer --- the struggle will continue. I still think, as leery I am of unions, that CNA's probably need them at this point. Unions, IMHO, are most useful in new industries until market forces cause change in the workforce. LTC's, as a large business, are still relatively new and growing with all the boomers (hey, I'm one too!).

I think CNA's are taken advantage of every day and need a higher wage, reasonable workloads, and consistent expectations. I'm not sure that will happen without unionizing.
Did you read this article??

It states, pretty clearly, how unions are getting members in nursing homes. SEIU specifically...

The union and nursing home management have written agreements. The management agrees to allow the union to come in and not fight it in exchange for a NO STRIKE CLAUSE; in exchange for NOT demanding better benefits packages; in exchange for seeking to enact potential legislation that would change the current laws regarding the reporting of worker injuries; in exchange for NOT seeking raises and salaries of represented workers that will put the employer at an "economic" disadvantage; in exchange NOT seeking/demanding increased staffing ratios/mandated staffing; in exchange for pushing new laws that will limit a resident's right to go after those who abuse/neglect them.

What good is a union with all this??
No raises. No better benefits. No better staffing. Resident abuses go unreported and therefore not dealt with. Staff injuries not to be reported to OSHA like agencies. And no strikes allowed.

What do we get? The potential windfall of more funding for nursing homes- by the clout and sheer numbers of union membership. Do we think one penny of this extra funding is gonna reach our banks?



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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 24th, 2007, 12:21 pm #5

Well said, Rance. In the nursing home setting, until people recognize that the aides are NOT the enemy and treat them like the human beings they are...unions are needed to protect workers rights...especially from some "hormonal crazies" that rule like power tripping idiots. Yup, I'm pro union...and a union steward on day shift.
What is worker rights vs. choice?
When we each accept a job, we do so knowing full well in most cases what the rate of pay is.
We also know what benefits come with said job. And we know we might have to work an extra shift because our peers call out so often and leave the units low staffed...sometimes very unsafely.


We make a choice.
We can take it or leave it.

Where does worker rights come into this? Who says it's a "right" to get better pay? And benefits?
We can demand, through our unions, better staffing. But where are they gonna cough up these aides?
And do we care if these aides are qualified people? Do we want just a body?

I'm not arguing that these issues are not worthy- of course they are. But they are not our rights.

Yes, we work with nutty and abusive bosses. Those who are on a power trip so we think. Do unions change this? Or do they provide a shield for us so we cannot directly confront the bosses?

Convince me that unions do good. I used to be very pro union, and not that long ago. But I have yet to see any real tangible evidence that being in a union actually changes my working conditions.
I have seen lazy abusive aides get away with near murder because the union defended these aides "rights"--- while the residents suffered. I have seen call out queens call out on sunny hot days and head to the beaches....and made my shift much harder with the increased work load...and the union defend the "rights" of the call out queen over my right to have adequate staffing- and therefore the resident's right to good care. The evil management attempts to hold these aides accountable with warnings and what not...the aide cries foul...the union steps in to defend and defer....meanwhile, they keep on neglecting their duties (and residents) and calling out. I pick up the slack by working harder, going back behind the lazy aides' ass to re-do the slobby care given and taking on the extra workload cause the other is OUT yet again.

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 24th, 2007, 12:53 pm #6

Not sure what you mean by 'bad'. There are a bunch of issues touched on in that article. I too have mixed emotions about unions, but in my experience, most union members did. I was an AFSCME member, and attended meetings, while a caseworker for the State of Illinois in my misspent youth. Unions protected good employees from bad managers, but also protected bad employees from good managers. That is always the clash with unions.

I see the overriding issue as something discussed on the forum before. The problem of where patients rights start/end and CNA rights start/end. There is that continual clash of patients, who are not competent, receiving what sometimes appear to be too many rights when in total care in LTC. But then, we all know some bad CNA's.

No answer --- the struggle will continue. I still think, as leery I am of unions, that CNA's probably need them at this point. Unions, IMHO, are most useful in new industries until market forces cause change in the workforce. LTC's, as a large business, are still relatively new and growing with all the boomers (hey, I'm one too!).

I think CNA's are taken advantage of every day and need a higher wage, reasonable workloads, and consistent expectations. I'm not sure that will happen without unionizing.
I think that LTC is changing, slowly. I've read countless articles about this culture change stuff...and these places, these nursing homes, are the direction to head.

Yes, residents will always have the ultimate rights. Why? Because they are paying customers who are also among societies most vulnerable citizens. The medical model most of us work in is slowly being replaced with a more resident centered model, and staff enjoy working at these places FAR more than the typical nursing home. And there are very few unions at these places. For many reasons, staffing is better at these places; call outs are no where near as frequent; nurse stations tend to be hidden in a back room off the unit neighborhoods....and the residents make choices about who will care for them; what time that care will be given; when they will eat, bathe, awaken, go to bed; what activities they will attend. From what have read, the change was hard at first for the staff. Many of them quit because they couldn't buy into the idea that residents actually come before them. As new staff have been hired and trained in the concepts, the homes are thriving. Funny thing is- they have more staff, happier staff who aren't overworked and who don't complain and whine and who are not taken advantage of by the bosses. Are they paid better? No. But they don't quit. And they don't seem to be so uptight and wound up all the time.

I'm looking for NH nursing homes that are embracing this new way of BEING. NY, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee all have many homes that have made this change.
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Joined: February 20th, 2007, 8:42 pm

April 24th, 2007, 11:27 pm #7

What is worker rights vs. choice?
When we each accept a job, we do so knowing full well in most cases what the rate of pay is.
We also know what benefits come with said job. And we know we might have to work an extra shift because our peers call out so often and leave the units low staffed...sometimes very unsafely.


We make a choice.
We can take it or leave it.

Where does worker rights come into this? Who says it's a "right" to get better pay? And benefits?
We can demand, through our unions, better staffing. But where are they gonna cough up these aides?
And do we care if these aides are qualified people? Do we want just a body?

I'm not arguing that these issues are not worthy- of course they are. But they are not our rights.

Yes, we work with nutty and abusive bosses. Those who are on a power trip so we think. Do unions change this? Or do they provide a shield for us so we cannot directly confront the bosses?

Convince me that unions do good. I used to be very pro union, and not that long ago. But I have yet to see any real tangible evidence that being in a union actually changes my working conditions.
I have seen lazy abusive aides get away with near murder because the union defended these aides "rights"--- while the residents suffered. I have seen call out queens call out on sunny hot days and head to the beaches....and made my shift much harder with the increased work load...and the union defend the "rights" of the call out queen over my right to have adequate staffing- and therefore the resident's right to good care. The evil management attempts to hold these aides accountable with warnings and what not...the aide cries foul...the union steps in to defend and defer....meanwhile, they keep on neglecting their duties (and residents) and calling out. I pick up the slack by working harder, going back behind the lazy aides' ass to re-do the slobby care given and taking on the extra workload cause the other is OUT yet again.
Patti...I'm not going to try to convince you of anything. It seems your mind is already made up, which is fine...it's your right
Let me put it to you this way...in the nursing home I work in...the union works. For example, the facility has an attendance policy..it's progressive....if it's not followed...it leads to termination. Doesn't your facility have/follow/enforce an attendance policy? I also doubt that the facility would come across with a raise if it wasn't negoiated in the contract. We have one of the best rates of pay in our area. And yes, I do believe it's my right to be paid a decent wage for a decent days work.
I've been on both sides of this issue, just like you...but in this facility, I'll take the respect the union demands with open arms....
take care,
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 25th, 2007, 12:33 am #8

My facility has an attendance policy and it's followed to the T. At the other place I worked at, which was union, they had a very similar policy. But every time an aide was progressively disciplined, he and she would cry unfair treatment and all that...and the union stepped in and forced management to back down. So the aide (s) actually were enabled to be out more often with no discipline. This didn't happen with legit excuses for these aides being out. This happened with those who were truly abusing the system. And because of this, we worked short almost every day. The aides in question ALL learned to use the system of union protections to their own selfish benefit...and those of us who just wanted to get our work done were screwed over. With extra people on our assignments. Did we complain? yep. We were told that it's best to give these aides the benefit of doubt and to support them vs. management's strong arm tactics...and this was an SEIU union.


Raises? Where I work now, which is where I worked for 14 yrs (and left for 2 but went back) we get 5 to 6% annual raises. Our raises are tied to our performance. If one is written up, it will affect the percent of raise received. There's nothing wrong with that. Poor performance should not be rewarded.

If one's performance is SO lacking in many areas, the staff are placed on probation for 90 days. They get back into the raise loop a year after they get off probation. I think this is fair.

Some staff just need more time to learn it all and are given an extra 90 days of probation. We give them extended training and all that. These folks DO get raises after they have been employed for a year- because the probation extension isn't always a disciplinary issue. Many times this happens with immigrant workers who have trouble with the language and all that. They just need more time. When it's given to them they turn out to be excellent workers. We have many from the Sudan.

At the other place, union, it was 3 to 4 % every three years. Regardless of performance. Evaluations had no part in the process of raises. Write ups and other disciplinary actions were not taken into account.

The other place ended up closing down. Because they couldn't keep staff= both aides and nurses. It was an extremely hostile place to work at; the residents lost out the most. I wasn't there when that place first opened up but I heard it was an awesome place to work. And everyone now blames the union. I don't know the actual history either, but I heard it was ONE aide who came to work there and started all the trouble. Got the others worked up and got the union people involved. The place laid off all the staff in less than a yr after I left. And bad things happened to the residents when I was there...I mean BAD ****. This was an assisted living facility for demented people. Mosto of the "aides" were not LNA's...nope...just regular untrained people who were hired and put to work as aides.

I guess not all facilities are really that bad. I make good money and I know I am lucky in this area. My work is good to it's staff; we DID face the threat of an auto union (of all UNIONS!!) many years ago and it was wholeheartedly voted DOWN. FOUR staff voted YES out of over 500 of us.
Things weren't so good back them either. We had the worse nurses- NAZI nurses. I mean the old school bags who thought nothing of making you look like a fool in front of everyone; giving one the worst assignments and belittling aides all the time. Among MANY other problems. Once that union thing came and went, higher management woke up and made changes to everything. The NAZI nurses are long gone; the aides are happy and content for the most part. Our residents (patients, acutally) are well cared for- we have the best surveys, we're a Top 10 facility in the US, ect ect.

I really think unions can kill a place when people expect it to do things which they can do for themselves. I'm not totally against them, from what you say...it's obviously needed in many nursing homes.
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Joined: February 13th, 2004, 5:08 pm

April 25th, 2007, 1:55 am #9

This happens a lot now. Be aware of it. Not just in CA...

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.p ... 2063428527

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not pro union, so I tend to think this is bad
but I could be taking it the wrong way.
Man, you apparently have very bad flashbacks from your union days!!! LOL....

I find it interesting that unions, especially in the attempt to organize, is always so charged. Just go back to old films like Norma Rae --- nothing has changed. The general issues and fears always seem to remain the same regardless of what decade it is or what industry it is.......
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 25th, 2007, 2:17 am #10

LOL yeah I guess it is.

It's not from MY experiences though either.

In my little town here in NH we once had TWO major factories. My husband worked at one. It went union. He voted for it. It was a great place to work: The pay was awesome, the benefits top notch, the bosses were decent people too. But the workers wanted more money. Mind you the average pay here was around 20.00 bucks an hour...but they wanted more.

The union came. Things got hot. Management balked at the money issue. They gave in to prevent the dreaded strike. The place had over 700 employees...all who got the money. But the costs of the products being built went up along with this.
Within two years then they started losing orders. Customers took their business elsewhere. The factory ended up closing shop- shifting it's operation to Mexico where the workers were happy to make the measly 6.00.hr. which is like a MILLION to us. Everyone lost their jobs. And the union did nothing to help them out after.

Thankfully my husband got a job at the other factory in town and he makes nearly the same money now.
He did take a cut in pay though and it's taken 4 yrs to get back up. He also lost his retirement plan and all the money he invested in that.

But only so many folks could get jobs at this place...the others got stuck on unemployment for their allotted number of days and many were forced to except jobs at the local Dunkin Donuts or McD's...where they made much less money and only had part time hours and no benefits. It really sucked. A large portion of my town suffered because of that union's demand for more. And everyone here blames that union to this day. Including me- and I KICK my hubby everyday for voting it in. Live and learn I guess.

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