Collective bargaining is the process where employees and their employers work together to make decisions regarding pay rates, work hours, and other terms and conditions about the work environment. Collective bargaining is viewed by nurses as a way to enforce integrity and fairness in the work environment and share authority and power with employees (Roussel, 2013). Collective bargaining has become an avenue for nurses to impact their work environment and to influence their economic security during a time of instability in the healthcare environment (Marquis & Huston, 2012). Historically nurses have joined unions when they have been dissatisfied with working conditions. However, most recent concerns with practice environments and quality of…show more content… Collective bargaining is a process for professional nurses to help shape hospital practices and labor-management relations by working together and having one voice. Collective bargaining can be perceived as an authoritative relationship and can result in either an adversarial or cooperative relationship (Roussel, 2013). There is a perceived advantage and disadvantage to Unions across the healthcare environment however, when used appropriately evidenced has shown collective bargaining to help facilitate delivery of safe and effective care (Roussel, 2013).
Unions are not going away anytime soon. When utilized in a positive manner unions have improved the work environment for healthcare employees which in turn has had a direct impact on patient outcomes. Managers must embrace their presence and become familiar with the laws and regulations governing a collective bargaining agreement. Managers must work cooperatively with the human resources department and union representation when dealing with union activity. Nurse managers need to be educated on the proper protocols to be followed when dealing with a formal grievance (Marquis & Huston,…show more content… The first six months I spent many hours reading the local bargaining agreement and become very close acquaintances with my Management Employee Relations (MER) representative. I wanted to make sure I was properly educated and informed on what I was and was not allowed to do. Dealing with the union for the first time was a huge learning curve for me. I had a hard time at first not being to correct or council an employee on the spot. I had to give 24 hours prior notice to afford them the opportunity for union representation. It took me a solid six month to become comfortable with the union and the bargaining agreement. However, I then learned the agreement worked to my benefit as well. When I had employees trying to make non-emergent medical appointments during their schedule shifts, I was able to refer to the agreement and inform them the Union did not authorize such