Hospital & Health Care EmployeesHospital & Health Care Employees

Why Unions?

Without a union, the individual employee has no voice, but is subject to every arbitrary and unilateral decision the employer makes. The employer can lay off or fire any worker, for any reason. Where there is collective bargaining in a healthcare facility, the individual worker has a voice. That worker shares with the other employees, and with the employer, the responsibility for establishing orderly procedures for determining wages, hours of work, health and safety procedures, promotion and layoff policies and justified penalties for the violation of necessary work rules.

As a part of a union, you have the strength that comes from numbers and through your union, the ability to select able staff people – negotiators, lawyers, research specialists, and others – who are skilled in the art of collective bargaining. Only as part of a group do you have the economic strength that permits bargaining with the employer on a basis approaching equality.

Collective bargaining is a rational, democratic and peaceful was to resolve conflict. In recent years some 150,000 collective bargaining agreements have been negotiated. Only 2% of them were affected by strikes. So, in 98% of all cases, collective bargaining was successful! Not a bad record! It took a lot of nerve for employees to stand up for their rights in the days when there were fewer unions and no laws legalizing collective bargaining. There were no job safety standards, paid vacations, sick leaves or retirement plans. Hiring and firing, promotion and layoff practices were under the exclusive control of the employers. But employees did stand up for their rights, and today we are enjoying the results. You can’t put a price tag on the human dignity individual workers feel when they stand up for their rights.