My new per diem position as a hospice nurse with a local visiting nurse agency entails mandatory membership in a union, the first time I have ever needed to join a union. I am woefully unprepared (and ignorant) when it comes to union issues, and I imagine that my education in this area may provide some fodder for writing as time goes on.
Interestingly, the union in my new workplace has been in contract negotiations with my employer for ten months, the last contract expiring in August of 2007. Just yesterday, after a less than a half day of orientation, I was allowed to go home 90 minutes early, and only today I learned that a picket line formed in front of the office not one hour after I had left for home. Was I purposefully sent home so that I wouldn't see the picket line? Did my boss want me to avoid the uncomfortable experience of not knowing whether to join the picket or not? Was it all simply unrelated?
I plan to post about my experiences vis-a-vis working in a "union shop" from time to time, and will probably find this experience quite enlightening. Stay tuned to this labor channel for further contract negotiation updates!