Unionization by health professionals is a touchy subject. And when it’s not, it ought to be.
See this story by James Warren for the New York Times: Finally, Nurses Are Set to Vote on Unionizing
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is still at it and will finally get a representation election next Wednesday and Thursday among about 270 registered nurses at one of the group’s locations, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center.
It’s a drawn-out, nearly decade-long tussle fit for the times. The union has met resistance and filed 50 complaints about unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board. The company voluntarily settled 18 of the 50 complaints brought against its various properties before any federal hearing….
Interestingly, Warren’s article makes absolutely no mention of the fact that nurses are not just regular employees, that they are health professionals. Nurses are licensed professionals with a code of ethics and an avowed commitment to the public good. That makes them pretty different from municipal employees or auto workers. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t unionize. But it does raise concerns about nurses joining unions that are not exclusively unions of nurses. Unionization has a purpose, and unions have their goals. But the goals of a union can quite easily conflict with the goals to which a health professional swears upon joining the profession.