Now that you're a nurse, are you also a union member?
Over the past 30 years, unions have been on the decline. By 2019, only ten percent of the U.S. labor population was represented by unions, but unionized healthcare workers stood at 20%. Due to a confluence of factors, both those statistics are highly likely to increase. Here’s why;
The pandemic increased essential worker’s sense of lack of concern for their safety by their employer.
Public approval rating for unionized labor is 65% coinciding with pandemic concerns over economic concerns.
Democrat's approval rating for unions is 83% and they now control the House.
President Biden vowed to be the most pro-union president and appointed a former union president as Secretary of Labor.
In February of 2020, legislation was passed to decrease employers' ability to campaign against unions and empower employees to unionize.
Aside from strikes, which are opposed by most healthcare workers, and devastating to the community and hospital, unions have many positives to tout.
Unionized member’s wages are up to 20% higher than non-unionized members.
A pre-COVID study showed 12 of 13 nurse-sensitive outcomes were improved in unionized vs. non-union hospitals.
Safety measures, such as increased PPE and regulatory oversight of the organization, improve along with worker’s knowledge of worker rights.
In New York, unionized nursing homes had a 30% lower mortality rate from COVID vs. non-union nursing homes.
Drawbacks of unions are the possibility of unsustainable wages for healthcare organizations, strikes, as discussed earlier, and non-nurse union leadership.
With lots of momentum toward organization and 1 in 5 healthcare workers already in a union, it is likely during your career that you will be part of a union.