I support ratios and much of what is being proposed by the CNA and do feel that we have to be firm with hospital administrations as they are with us. We will not succeed if we continue to be our own worst enemy. There is so much to do and we will all lose if we focus on our differences as opposed to our common goals of making the acute care setting a safer place for nurses and patients.
I plan to post your comments on my blog at http://nurseadvocates.blogspot.com
On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:18 PM, The Nurse Unchained
The Nurse Unchained
Nurses alleged that nurses attack them!
Posted: 23 Apr 2008 12:13 PM CDT
Dateline Dearborn, Michigan – Nurses alleged that nurses attack them!Yes, you read correctly, the nurses and other members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (C.N.A./N.N.O.C.) alleged that during their convention in Dearborn that members of the Service Employee International Union (S.E.I.U.), a rival nursing union, barged into their event and began to harass and attack their members. C.N.A./N.N.O.C representatives have alleged that at least one woman was injured during this altercation and had to be treated at a local hospital for her injuries.When I read this report in my e-mail and later in my local newspaper I thought what a sad, sad day for the nursing profession; and a sense of déjà vu came over me. Since several years ago I was very nearly “that” woman who had to be taken to the hospital after being accosted by a male RN who was a C.N.A. member.During a special election that had been called by our Governor the C.N.A., S.E.I.U. took issue with a request from the Governor to delay the implementation of phase two of the California mandated nurse/patient ratio law, asking that a review and report of the impact of phase one first; this request seemed reasonable to me since many hospitals were claiming the law had been at the heart of a series of hospital closure and the nurses were arguing that it had “solved” our state’s nursing shortage. A review of what phase one had or had not done seemed reasonable however some chose to interpret that to mean a rollback of the law. So the C.N.A. started its now famous campaign where it dogged the Governor and many other elected officials to various events throughout the state holding loud and boisterous demonstrations and even interrupting the “non-political” annual Governor’s Conference on Women. Historically this conference has placed a focus on women and women issues with little to no political agenda, a rare venue where divergent groups could gather for an open exchange of ideas – no more because since that day the conference has become like so many public meetings have become susceptible to “hijacking” by one group or another for its own political agenda.I was with a group of nurses who decided that we had had enough with members of the C.N.A. disrupting events through-out our state and when the C.N.A. decided to hold their post-election night event at the same venue as ours we decided to take our signs and hold a low-key, peaceful demonstration outside their room; since of course what’s good for the goose is good for the gander – no? As we stood outside the door of their event with our signs; members of the C.N.A. came out to demand that we leave, when that failed they tried to drown us out and when that didn’t work they tried kicking my cane out from under me so I’d fall.So, while I found it very distressing that nurses would resort to physically assaulting one another (as if they don’t experience this type of bullying enough in the workplace) I found it rather ironic that Rose Ann DeMoro would yell “foul” when treated to some of the same tactics she and some members of the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. was infamous for – talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This recent event also helps highlight what happens when people are intentionally “radicalized”, allowed to funnel all their frustration (both real and imagined) into a perceived “foe”, and then let lose to vent. The past several years have seen the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. aggressively recruiting for new nurse members throughout the country. In many of these recruitment activities there have been accusations made that the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. has engaged in union raiding, the use of State Board of Nursing mailing lists to recruit (this is usually prohibited), and even the attempt to recruit under the guise of emergency response, etc.There is little doubt that the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. has developed a reputation for “bare-knuckle” fighting and not being shy at calling out those that they perceive are hampering their agenda. Most organization members would welcome such aggressive “protection”, however sometimes when a group behaves in a way that is very much outside the societal norm and don’t face consequences then the groundwork is laid for the potential of even more outrageous behavior in the future and where does the line get drawn?Time for disclosure, for those who may be unaware of my personal bias let me make it clear I am not one who supports or promotes the idea of unions for nurses. I am however a firm believer that nurses should seek out, participate and join professional associations, but NOT unions. Strikes and the behavior exhibited by the rival nursing unions in Michigan are a good example of what happens when nurses adopt the no-holds barred mentality of unions.Another thing that has concerned me about the recent confrontations in Michigan is the silence from organizations that claim to be professional nursing associations and advocacy groups on the alleged nurse on nurse violence that was reported to have occurred in Dearborn, MI. You’d think that they would at least issued a statement denouncing such unprofessional, let alone poor human behavior. Of course, I’m sure that if this had been an episode of E.R. or House maybe we’d have received a denouncement.I’m also concerned at the fall-out from this violent encounter, since the S.E.I.U. and C.N.A./N.N.O.C. confrontation over the stalled unionization in Ohio I have received numerous mailers from the S.E.I.U. about the transgression; and now with the events in Dearborn one wonder if there will be an intervention or will things continue to escalate? However, Ms. DeMoro shouldn’t be allowed to cry wolf about the S.E.I.U. members “stalking” C.N.A./N.N.O.C. members since it has been my experience that the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. has engaged in this behavior, usually meant to coerce uncooperative nurses at hospitals targeted by the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. for union organizing. Don’t believe me just read the testimony of nurses from Cedars-Sinai hospital that describe what they experienced at the hands of C.N.A. representatives when they opposed unionization; as well as the documented threats made to some nurses’ families. This does not mean I believe such behavior is justifiable or acceptable but it is interesting that when C.N.A./N.N.O.C. members experience such hostility it is suddenly not so palatable. Maybe this might be a significant emotional event for both groups to step back and take a look at what has happened and what is happening and maybe alter the collision course they are both on. Of course there are some observers who also see this as an opportunity to expose the darker side of nursing unions, and it very well maybe but the question remaining is will the media report and investigate, or will they take their usual role of union sympathizer and sweep it under the rug? Meanwhile, this morning a brief news article revealed that a court official had lifted the temporary restraining order that had been granted to the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. against the S.E.I.U. The court official ruled that the restraining order was “not supported” by the evidence filed by the C.N.A./N.N.O.C. (source Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2008)