A legally binding contract
(Video) The power of a union contract
Your first NNU contract negotiations will provide you with an opportunity to work with your nurse colleagues to improve conditions for nurses and enhance protections for patients. With an NNU contract, your employer cannot unilaterally change your working conditions or reduce salaries and benefits. Any changes in the workplace must be negotiated between management and RNs. You will elect your nurse colleagues who will represent you at the bargaining table, and of course you will vote on your contract.
Step 1: Facility Bargaining Council (FBC) and RN Negotiating Team established
The FBC is the crucial link between the negotiating team and all nurses in the bargaining unit, with representatives from every shift and unit. The FBC elects the nurse negotiating team. The size of the team is based on the number of RNs in the bargaining unit at your facility.
Step 2: Nurses decide what is important
The FBC distributes a bargaining survey to every staff RN to get their opinions on a wide array of facility-wide and unit-specific issues, from professional education benefits to holidays and floating policies. The results of these surveys help to determine bargaining priorities.
Step 3: Nurses are directly involved in negotiations
The elected nurse negotiating team and an NNOC/NNU staff labor representative sit across the table from the management team. NNOC/NNU provides orientation and training. The negotiating team keeps nurses informed through the publication of regular bargaining updates. General meetings occur at critical junctures throughout the negotiating process.
Step 4: Nurses vote on the contract
When the team reaches a tentative agreement, it is brought back to the nurses for discussion and a vote. Before any contract goes into effect, it must be approved by a majority of the RNs at the facility in a secret-ballot vote.