When nurses seek to form a union at their workplace, each nurse who currently works there participates in making that decision. While the National Labor Relations Board oversees the formal election process, it’s important to know there are steps you need to take in order to build up to and win your election. Above all, unionizing is a matter of getting everyone in your workplace on board, educated, and ready to stand together.
Unions don’t happen in the dark and they can’t happen alone, it’s really up to you and your co-workers to take the steps toward positive change.
Forming a union changes the power dynamics in your workplace so that you and your co-workers can use your voices to make positive change. Keep in mind that your manager (or your manager’s manager’s boss) might not be as excited about nurses coming together to make changes. That’s why it’s important to come up with a good plan for how you and your co-workers will stick together BEFORE the word gets out about unionizing. While there are legal protections covering workers who unionize (check out the National Labor Relations Act Section 7), your strongest protection comes from being prepared and standing together.
Even though it’s difficult, nurses across the country are forming unions and winning advances at higher rates than ever before. Every union starts with one conversation – while it’s never easy to build a strong union, it’s absolutely possible to join together and win.
If you want to learn more about the steps it takes to form a union and make positive improvements in your workplace, contact Travis Thibodeau at Travis.Thibodeau@mnnurses.org or 651-894-3588.
Why does my employer oppose unions?
Your employer doesn’t want you to have a union because they want to make unilateral decisions about the terms and conditions of your employment without your input. Terms and conditions of employment include, but are not limited to, an employee’s job responsibilities, workdays, hours, breaks, vacation and sick days, pay, as well as benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans. At the end of the day, employers oppose unions because when workers unionize, they take back power in the workplace.