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Boston area hospital workers unionize

According to The Boston Globe, nearly three-quarters of those who moved this week  to approve a plan to join Local 1199 of SEIU United Healthcare Workers East were respiratory therapists, surgical and X-ray technicians, clerks, nursing assistants, housekeepers, and dietary workers.

“Mike Fadel, executive vice president of Local 1199, said, “The workers at St. Elizabeth’s have shown the way” for other hospital employees his union hopes to organize. Fadel said the SEIU plans to launch campaigns at one or more other Boston hospitals next month. The union has targeted Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with a campaign seeking to publicize the hospital’s alleged shortcomings. “This outcome shows what workers choose if they have a free and fair election without intimidation and coercion,” he said. (Boston Globe)”

Good Hospital, Bad Hospital

Union-friendly hospitals that allow “free and fair” union elections are exempt from public disparagement like the kind currently aimed at Beth Israel.   These ‘good hospitals’ can also expect the union to help with public funding policy:

“Hospital organizations rely very heavily on government funding such as Medicare and Medicaid,” federal programs managed by states, Toner ( labor consultant at Dietz Associates in Kennebunk, Maine) said. “Part of the union’s pitch is that it can use its political muscle to help the financial position of the healthcare providers by improving their revenue streams through state government.”

Is the economy ready for such a plan?



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