Healthcare Access

Working in any profession can be a frustrating experience. Significant cuts in health care funding, the overall decline in the U.S. standard of living, job changes in the economy that have dramatically increased the number of people who are uninsured or underinsured, an increase in the percentage of people living in poverty, shifting health care costs from employers to employees, and union busting have all impacted the health care system and our jobs.

Workers Rights

Employers are attempting to cut costs by cutting corners, cutting jobs, and trying to change our working conditions. This forces understaffing and unbearable workloads. It compromises care for patients and leads to high employee stress and frustration. This is especially true for employees that have no union to represent them.

Unlike union members, employees without a union face discrimination due to favoritism. They lack job security because they have no recourse through the grievance procedure. They cannot collectively negotiate their wages, hours, and work conditions. Most importantly, they are not part of an organization that advocates for quality patient care and access to health care. In the U.S., there are 5 million healthcare employees, making healthcare the second largest industry in the country. Yet less than 20% are organized into any labor union. The problem we face in our hospitals and clinics won’t dramatically change unless we recognize that it will take healthcare employees united in large numbers to change it.

Collective Change

If we want to gain more control over our work lives, make our jobs more satisfying, and improve the care we deliver, it will take significant growth, strength, and clout, which comes from power in numbers. We cannot afford the luxury of despairing over the conditions we face. We must work towards improving our jobs and the health care system by bringing union organizations to health care providers. If we want to achieve our goals and ideals, it will take a movement of healthcare providers to produce them.

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