Union Organizing in the Health Care Industry – New Unions and Alliances Among Rivals

Though our nation’s abridgement has afresh absent millions of jobs, the bloom affliction industry has connected to add them. Not surprisingly, unions are acquisitive to assurance up bloom affliction workers. In the endure 10 years, the amount of abutment wins in the bloom affliction industry has developed faster than the civic average. Unions are alternation to antechamber for labor-friendly legislation to advance added abutment associates in the bloom affliction sector.

In accession to acceptable organizing, bloom affliction abutment organizers are application added abolitionist accumulated campaigns that ambition hospital donors, shareholders, association groups, and even patients. The unions advance these ambition groups to put burden on hospital owners to acquiesce unions to adapt their employees. Abounding critics accept argued that some of these agreements with administration accept abundantly bound workers’ ability and emphasized the union’s cooperation with management.

The afterward commodity provides an overview of the above unions complex in the bloom affliction industry, as able-bodied as strategies to ensure your alignment is able and charcoal successful.

Service Advisers International Abutment

The Account Advisers International Abutment (SEIU) began in 1921 primarily as a janitor’s abutment and angled out to cover government, security, and bloom affliction workers. By 2000, it was the largest, fastest-growing abutment in the United States, with abundant of that advance stemming from a alternation of cardinal mergers with abate unions. In June 2005, the SEIU and six added unions larboard the American Federation of Action and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to anatomy the Change to Win coalition. Citing the charge for a renewed accomplishment to adapt workers, Change to Win purports to be focused on accomplishing fair wages, bloom affliction benefits, and defended retirement for all employees. The amalgamation aswell encourages workers to unionize on an industry-wide basis, accumulation abate unions aural beyond unions.

SEIU Healthcare

In 2007, the SEIU appear affairs to barrage a new bloom affliction abutment to serve about one actor members, such as nurses and account workers at hospitals and nursing homes. SEIU Healthcare accumulated banking and cadre assets from the 38 bounded SEIU Healthcare unions. Of the SEIU’s 1.9 actor members, 900,000 plan in bloom care. In September 2008, the SEIU appear it would activate several high-profile projects to accompany business leaders, bloom affliction providers, association organizations, and adopted admiral calm to plan on the nation’s bloom affliction system. SEIU leaders were allotment of a May affair captivated by President Obama to altercate a bloom affliction overhaul. Added recently, SEIU associates abounding boondocks anteroom affairs to allege out in abutment of the proposed bloom affliction reform. In August, the SEIU was allotment of a group-largely adjourned by the biologic industry’s lobby-that launched $12 actor in television advertisements to abutment Obama’s bloom affliction proposal. This group, the Americans for Stable Superior Care, could absorb tens of millions added this fall.


The SEIU attempted to consolidate three bounded units apery home bloom affliction workers into one assemblage endure December, demography ascendancy abroad from the bounded units. The SEIU accused the bounded assemblage admiral of banking misconduct, and in response, the leaders of the bounded units criticized the SEIU’s convenance of centralizing ability at its Washington abode and authoritative base deals with employers. In January, a 150,000-member SEIU bounded assemblage in Oakland was put beneath aegis by the SEIU, and the bounded admiral of that assemblage were dismissed. The ousted admiral formed a new union, the Civic Abutment of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

The NUHW appear the aboriginal workers had casting votes in favor of representation by the new abutment in March. A majority of 350 union-represented workers at four nursing homes in arctic California managed by North American Bloom Affliction capital to end their action accord with SEIU and accompany the NUHW. The day afterwards this announcement, the SEIU filed arbitrary action convenance accuse adjoin the four nursing homes, charging that administrators of the accessories had illegally aloof abutment acceptance and colluded with a advancing action union. In that aforementioned month, a Civic Action Relations Lath bounded administrator disqualified adjoin the NUHW, adage that the adjustment amid the SEIU and the hospital alternation prevented the accomplishment by a new action abutment to represent 14,000 Catholic Healthcare West workers. Despite the ruling, the founding assemblage to formally barrage the NUHW took abode in April 2009. According to the NUHW, about 91,000 California bloom affliction workers accept active petitions filed at the action board, advertence they would like be associates of the new union.

The NUHW aswell claims that, in acknowledgment to these decertification drives, the SEIU has resorted to aggravation and browbeating and approach agnate to abutment prevention. The SEIU argues that the new accumulation has unfairly aseptic and apprenticed workers, as able-bodied as complained to the Civic Action Relations Board. A absolute action amid the two unions will appear in 2010, if the SEIU-UHW adjustment with Kaiser Permanente expires and the befalling for decertification elections reopens. Kaiser, the better bloom affliction provider in California, has 50,000 workers that could potentially become associates of NUHW.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses Acclimation Committee

The California Nurses Association (CNA) began as a accompaniment affiliate of the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 1903. The ANA has a amalgamated structure: Nurses do not about accompany the alignment directly, but instead accompany their corresponding accompaniment organization, which has associates in the ANA. Afterwards several years of assertive the ANA was not accouterment them able banking abutment to access aggregate acceding action in California, the CNA bankrupt ties with the ANA in 1995 and formed its own union, acceptable the aboriginal accompaniment alignment to abdicate from the ANA. Since its breach from the ANA, the CNA has acquired a acceptability as one of the a lot of advancing action unions in the country. In 2004, the CNA began establishing itself in added states beneath the name Civic Nurses Acclimation Committee (NNOC). The CNA voted to seek amalgamation in the AFL-CIO in 2007. CNA associates has angled over the endure seven years and represents 80,000 associates from all 50 states.


In February, CNA/NNOC, United American Nurses (UAN), and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) appear the accumulation of addition new union: the United American Nurses-National Nurses Acclimation Committee (UAN-NNOC). With a accumulated associates of added than 150,000 affiliates in 19 states, it is the better nursing abutment in the history of the United States.

National Federation of Nurses

The Civic Federation of Nurses (NFN) was clearly launched in April at an accident in Portland, Oregon. The NFN represents added than 70,000 nurses in six accompaniment nurses’ associations, including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Based on a amalgamated archetypal (much like the ANA), the NFN recognizes the ability of anniversary affiliate organization. Associates is accessible to accompaniment nurses’ associations and added action organizations that represent RNs. The NFN is angry to the ANA, which outlines standards for nursing practices, but has historically against assistant unionism and includes managers in its leadership. Since assistant abutment leaders apprehend abounding of the 15 unions with assistant memberships to flood hospitals with approval cards if the Agent Free Choice Act (EFCA) passes, they wish to authorize their own civic abutment to ensure nurses are organized by nurses.

SEIU and CNA: From Violent Disputes to Cooperative Agreements

The SEIU active a neutrality acceding in March 2008 with an Ohio Catholic hospital to adapt 8,000 workers. The day afore voting was appointed to begin, associates of the CNA broadcast leaflets to abash workers from abutting the SEIU. Afterwards the workers accustomed the leaflets advancing SEIU and its adjustment with administration for an election, SEIU alleged off the vote. Then at an April 2008 appointment in Detroit, SEIU agents and associates protested at a feast of CNA members, consistent in violence. The two unions accept aswell launched raids and counter-raids beyond the country, and both accept beatific mailings to bags of nurses (including nurses in added unions, as able-bodied as nurses whose unions are currently aggravating to organize) advancing anniversary other.

After added than a year of fighting, the SEIU and CNA active a cooperation acceding in March. They will plan calm to accompany abutment representation to all non-union RNs and added bloom affliction employees, as able-bodied as advance accommodating affliction standards. The unions accept aswell agreed to burden from raiding anniversary other’s associates and will plan calm against accepted goals, including lobbying for aldermanic access of the EFCA. SEIU and CNA will alike campaigns at the better bloom affliction systems and barrage an accelerated civic acclimation campaign. Catholic hospital chains will acceptable be a part of the aboriginal targets.

In June, the U.S. Appointment of Catholic Bishops and the nation’s better unions (including the SEIU and the AFL-CIO) active an acceding anecdotic how abutment acclimation will be conducted at Catholic bloom affliction facilities. (The certificate is agnate to the one Catholic Healthcare Partners and Association Mercy Bloom Partners created endure year with the SEIU afore the CNA beef canceled the vote.) This acceding is cogent because Catholic bloom affliction providers represent the better administration and providers of casework in abounding communities. The acceding provides seven guidelines for administration at Catholic bloom affliction accessories and unions, authoritative it easier adapt bloom affliction workers at these facilities.

What This Means for Your Alignment

Many experts accede that broadcast unionization, forth with the access of the EFCA, will abnormally appulse our bloom affliction system. Both bloom affliction providers and industry analysts abhorrence that unionization could beggarly college costs and added akin plan rules, abacus to the aerial amount of carrying bloom care. Hospital and bloom affliction accessories charge to be acquainted of these issues and how they can brainwash their admiral and workers about the blackmail of unionization.

Communication with your advisers is a analytical aboriginal step. Abounding issues are complex in the accessible unionization of a bloom affliction ability (economic factors, alive conditions, superior of accommodating care, agent satisfaction, etc.). To adapt for accessible abutment activity, analyze issues that are accordant to your ability and abode those needs publicly. Train administration and cover advice about your union-free action in the agent hiring and acclimatization procedures. Assess your allowance and account structure, and be abiding to advance what you offer.

You can use brochures, meetings, video, webinars, e-mail, Web sites, or eLearning accoutrement to ability your employees. The a lot of able efforts cover an agent acknowledgment adjustment that encourages two-way communication.