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Nursing Homes and Union Development

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Would you please explain the state of the law applying to the relationship between nursing homes and union when organizing efforts begin and describe the "do's and don'ts" of such situations and how you see them applying to real situations and which ones work and which are easily violated?

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Please refer to response file attached, which includes two articles attached as well.

1. "Would you please explain the state of the law applying to the relationship between nursing homes and union..."

The relationship between the nursing home and the union is much the same as for other organizations. There are no state laws that make unions mandatory, but there are laws that are intended to protect those who want to join a union. Workers want to form unions so they can have a voice on the job to improve their lives, their families and their communities. All workers deserve to make a free and fair decision on whether to form a union.
In 1935, Congress passed and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, giving workers the right to form unions and negotiate contracts with their employers. Under federal and many state laws, workers have the right to express their views on unions, to talk with their co-workers about a union, to wear union buttons, to attend union meetings and in many other ways to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. When workers decide they want a union, employers can agree to recognize workers' choice to form a union voluntarily ( http://www.aflcio.org/aboutunions/joinunions/howjoin/lawprotects.cfm).
In fact, the freedom to join a union is recognized internationally as a fundamental human right, deeply rooted in international and U.S. law, like other basic freedoms such as freedom of religion and the right to work free from discrimination based on race, gender or age. The freedom to join a union is an important aspect of the freedom of association, which the United Nations recognized as a human right in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.aflcio.org/aboutunions/joinunions/howjoin/unionrights.cfm).

What is a union? A union is a group of workers who form an organization to gain:
• Respect on the job,
• Better wages and benefits,
• More flexibility for work and family needs,
• A counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers, and
• A voice in improving the quality of their products and services.
How do people form a union? When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them form their own local chapter. Once a majority of workers shows they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers' choice. Often, the workers must ask the government to hold an election. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party's rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
Does the law protect workers joining unions? It's supposed to—but too often it doesn't. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. For example, it's illegal for employers to threaten to shut down their businesses or to fire employees or take away benefits if workers form a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent.

To add to this, U.S. labor law often does not work in favor of the employees but allows this unfair system to persist. Learn more about what's wrong with America' labor laws, how to fix them—and how workers and their union are fighting back by engaging community allies to stand up for the freedom to choose a voice at work.

What kinds of workers are forming unions today? A wider range of people than ever before, including many women and immigrants, is joining unions—doctors and nurses, poultry workers and graduate employees, home health care aides, [nursing home employees], and wireless communications workers, auto parts workers and engineers, to name a few.

What challenges do workers face today when they want to form unions? Today, thousands of workers want to join unions. The wisest employers understand that when workers form unions, their companies also benefit. But most employers fight workers' efforts to come together by intimidating, harassing and threatening them. In response, workers are reaching out to their communities for help exercising their freedom to improve their lives
(http://www.aflcio.org/aboutunions/joinunions/union101.cfm).

What can the communities do?
Community allies—such as religious and elected leaders—can make a difference in helping workers win a voice on the job during an organizing campaign.
• Officially endorse the workers' effort to form a union.
• Show outrage when workers are treated unfairly.
• Sign a letter or petition to the workers supporting their freedom to form a union, assuring them that the community stands with them.
• Make their views known to employers that are intimidating or harassing workers. Write ...

Solution Summary

Explains the state of the law applying to the relationship between nursing homes and union when organizing efforts begin. It also describes the "do's and don'ts" of such situations and discusses how they apply to real situations, including the ones that work and which ones are easily violated. Supplemented with articles on nursing homes and the forming of unions in the nursing profession.

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