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Labor Relations and the Union

A. What would you advise the LPNs to do? Should they unionize? What are the advantages and disadvantages of unionizing at Happy Trials?
b. What issues might the union raise during the organizing effort?
c. What steps should the LPNs follow to unionize?
d. What unfair labor practices need to be avoided by LPNs?

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a. What would you advise the LPNs to do? Should they unionize? What are the advantages and disadvantages of unionizing at Happy Trials?

Unionizing is a professional choice made by LPNs for various reasons. Lazarovici (n.d) points out, for example, that the doctors and nurses who want the best for their patients, the lawyers who protect the public's health and the engineers who ensure passengers' safety on airplanes are all professionals who seek to contribute to society through their work while looking for opportunities to be creative and excel at their jobs. And more and more, these professionals are seeking a voice at work (e.g., Unions) to help them achieve their goals. The nursing profession is perhaps lagging behind other professions. For example, for more than 100 years, artists and teachers have come together in unions, and other professionals have followed their lead. Already, professional workers are represented by unions at a higher rate (23 percent) than the workforce at large (about 15 percent), according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And they make up the fastest-growing occupational category in the workforce: Professionals will account for almost 27 percent of all employment growth between 1998 and 2008, according to the BLS. Listening to the needs of professionals and enabling them to gain a voice at work is a key part of activists' efforts to strengthen the union movement. http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pros/unionstories.htm

Unions have specific advantages. For example, similar to the Happy Trial staff, other professionals are finding that new economic pressures-managed health care, corporate mergers, threats of privatization and outsourcing-are reducing the influence they have at their jobs and hurting their ability to maintain the quality of services, according to two new studies. "The Professional and Technical Workforce: A New Frontier for Unions," a recent report by the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, finds these economic forces "threaten to undermine their professional autonomy, working conditions and dignity." "Changes in corporate structure have professionals looking for a vehicle to protect their professional dignity, advance their training and provide them with a voice in the workplace," says DPE President Paul E. Almeida. "More and more, these professionals are looking for a union that will ensure these rights." Actors, artists and other performers long have recognized the value of unions for professionals. During recent high-profile contract negotiations, Hollywood's best-known actors and actresses, such as Tom Hanks, have talked about the importance of their unions to them and to the thousands of professional entertainers who don't make six- or seven-figure salaries. http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pros/unionstories.htm

Similarly, other professionals say it's getting harder to serve the best interests of their customers, clients and patients-and they no longer can count on stable employment, secure benefits, regular pay increases or upward job mobility, according to Finding Their Voices: Professionals and Workplace Representation, by the Albert Shanker Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by union leaders and named after the former president of AFT. "Professionals feel their ability to make ...

Solution Summary

This solution identifies the advantages and disadvantages of unionizing of the LPNs at Happy Trials. It then discusses the main issues the union might raise during the organizing effort, as well as the steps that the LPNs should follow to unionize. Unfair labor practices that need to be avoided by LPNs are then detailed.

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