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Unionism in Hospitals

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You are the Human Resource Director for a 500-bed hospital. You have learned that the American Professionals Union is attempting to unionize your 1,000 registered nurses. The CEO has asked you to draft a plan - either supporting the nurses in their efforts OR attempting to remain union free. Draft solid arguments - either pro or con - for presentation and recommendation to the CEO.

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Health care as a growth industry:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010) recognized health care "as one of the largest industries in 2008, healthcare provided 14.3 million jobs for wage and salary workers. It is listed as "ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare related".

The Bureau also recognized that "healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population".

Future of Nursing in the US:
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) admitted that "Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States" (Wolters Kluwer Health, 2011).

Bleich (2012) agreed that nurses have "the ability to lead change and advance health-when direct caregivers are positioned to have a stronger voice in institutional decision making, nurses will begin to appear in unlikely places, such as boardroom discussions. Nurses have what policymakers need-stories that build the case for change and improve care delivery".

Bleich further explained that "Nurses need to become vocal in community forums and public debate. And with care increasingly delivered using team models to promote patient safety and improved outcomes, nurses must be able to lead as well as be an advocate for patients from a holistic nursing perspective".

"As the requisites of transformation and implementation of health reform demand, nurses must exhibit leadership capacity and high-level collaborative skills at every place in the system and in every way that affects advancing the potential for contemporary high-quality patient care" (O'Grady, 2011).
Baker (2011) mentioned that "this is the decade for nursing".

Right to Unionize:

Quarles (2006) reported that in early October, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a ruling that threatens to take away the right to unionize from over 8 million workers by massively broadening the definition of a supervisor.
"The ruling came in a case involving Oakwood Heritage Hospital in Taylor, Michigan, where the United Auto Workers had been attempting to organize nurses. The new definition of supervisor includes all workers who oversee other employees and can be held accountable for those employees' performance - even if supervisory functions account for as little as 10-15% of their work time! Supervisors are exempted from legal protections guaranteeing the ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses unionism in a 500-bed hospital. The Human Resource Director is in the crossroads whether to support the nurses in their efforts to unionize or to remain union free.