Healthcare Unions Steam Ahead in 2009

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 2, 2009

Remember that these successful organizing elections have occurred before the labor-friendly Obama Administration and a Democratic Congress have moved on the Employee Free Choice Act. Trivisonno says that bill, regarded by many to be the most important pro-labor legislation in 50 years, will greatly enhance union membership, and is further evidence that the pendulum is swinging labor's way.

"It makes you wonder, if they win 75% of the elections, why do they need EFCA?" he says.

There is no one-size-fits-all reason why one hospital is targeted by unions, and another hospital isn't.

"There are various levels of vulnerability. I don't know there is a single vulnerability because there is a whole host of ways unions can approach an employer and leverage those vulnerabilities," Trivisonno says. "Generally, when there is a well-run organization and the culture is enlightened and more fully developed with communication and engagement with workers, those create a firewall that hospitals can build upon."

(The Semi-Annual Labor Activity in Health Care Report is available for ASHRRA members, or can be purchased at

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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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