The Unionization of Employees

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
—Frederick Douglass
Since their initial rise in the post-Civil War era, unions across the United States have called public attention to unfair labor practices, wage disparities, and inadequate benefits. Union leaders and nurse managers are learning to approach the unionization of employees as a partnership. Union leaders have taken strides to negotiate with managers in quick and efficient “good faith” dealings, while nurse managers enter negotiations with open minds and the intent to reach an agreement. To benefit future generations of nursing professionals, nurse managers must understand how to effectively respond to unionization attempts and how to partner with union leaders.

To prepare

Review the article “Making a Union/Management Partnership Really Work” in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider how the union and district health board portrayed in this article worked together to create the joint action group. Think about the positive outcomes of this endeavor. How might nurse managers work with health care unions to solicit such a partnership?
Examine the article “Unions in the Healthcare Industry,” taking note of the timeline of unionized activities such as the collective bargaining process, the campaign period, and the outcomes of unionization. How do the legal landscape and social environment of a health care setting change once workers engage in unionized activities?
Review the media pieces, “The Saga of TrulyGood Hospital” and “The Saga of Beneficent Hospital.”
Reflect upon the situations presented in each media case study, and select one for your Discussion posting.
Consider why the staff might be seeking union representation. As a nurse manager, consider the steps you might take to address the situation before, during, and after the time period depicted in the case study.

Post a description of at least one reason the nursing staff in the case you selected might decide to unionize. Explain three steps you, as a nurse manager, could take to effectively respond to unionization attempts. Then, discuss HR’s role in helping to legally address labor relations and unionization attempts. Justify your response by citing past experiences with unions, union organizing activities, current labor policies, and/or this week’s Learning