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June 13, 2008

To Picket or Not?

Question72x701 Have  any of you joined a nursing picket line? Our State Nurse’s Union called last week, informing all members that a picket was planned at the multiple campus sites in the city that make up the healthcare conglomerate of New York-Presbyterian.

The strike tactic has a very long history. Towards the end of the 20th dynasty, under Pharaoh Ramses III in ancient Egypt in the 12th century BC, the workers of the royal necropolis organized the first known strike or workers' uprising in history.

A strike is typically reserved as a threat of last resort during negotiations between the company and the union, which may occur just before, or immediately after, the contract expires. The nurses’ contract had expired in December 2007. Agreements about staffing levels apparently could not be resolved. Neither side felt like budging from their stance or attempting to compromise. It’s not like this was a new subject matter for either party. Were we all being sleeping giants when it came to taking a stance? Had we all become complacent about the work environment over time?

Picketing was the choice of action chosen by all. Picketing outside the workplace is intended to prevent or dissuade people from working in their place or conducting business with the medical center. A matter of disruption!

Personally I had never experienced a picket line, let alone a sit-down strike, when workers may occupy the actual workplace, but refuse either to do their jobs or to leave. Makes you wonder if the impact of a sit-down strike versus a picket line strike would have on a medical center? Wonder if all would agree on contract differences much more quickly with a bit less defiance from either side?

What are your experiences with the picket line? Were Union goals accomplished? How did your workplace’s administrative staff handle the picket line?

June 13, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


By not representing ourselves in a proactive manner, the general public will continue to deem physicians as their "Gods " when it comes to healthcare providers today. Picketing is one way to be heard, I think.

Posted by: beka | Jun 22, 2008 9:25:34 AM

Although it may be counter-productive, how then do we, as nurses, show administrators our needs when not one of them listens? Should we remain quiet and not make demands when it comes to contract negotioations as nurse administrators sit in their posh offices... Let's start being real....Stop being dismissive, sleeping giants. Act Up!

Especially when profits exists over patient quality care at these huge healthcare conglomerates such as NY-Columbia? A Heart Institute is being built when there was a 3 day linen supply shortage in the entire facility recently. Is that right? Should we remain quiet about those types of incidents when poor stafffing persists?


Posted by: beka | Jun 19, 2008 3:02:31 PM

Picketing and striking are counter productive to providing quality care. The outcome for the patients is far worse when no nurse is available or if the hospital must shut their doors.

I also believe this practice makes nursing a trade and not a profession. If we want to be viewed as professionals we must use professional tactics to impact our workplace. This would include using professional organizations to lobby for change and provide public education.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 18, 2008 5:08:04 PM

I have to applaud my colleagues who stood their ground and lined up with signs and pickets !

Here's the link :http://www.nysna.org/news/online/060408_b.htm

Way to Go !

Posted by: beka | Jun 13, 2008 11:03:21 AM

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