DETROIT, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Unions are increasingly
using aggressive negative publicity campaigns and other alternative
strategies and technologies to organize hospital and other healthcare
workers, according to a new survey, the 29th Labor Activity in Healthcare
IRI Consultants surveys 3,300 members of the American Society for
Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) each year to assess
labor trends in healthcare.
The significant increase in the incidence of reported negative
publicity campaigns against healthcare organizations, also known as
"corporate campaigns" (26 percent - up from 13 percent), also is reflected
in the growing concern among 62 percent of the respondents who indicated
they were either "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about union
efforts to organize workers.
Corporate campaigns are designed to damage an organization's reputation
and image by inflicting significant external pressure on an organization in
hopes of gaining leverage. Union-sponsored campaigns often aim for
negotiating strength or to force employers to accept "neutrality," "free
access" or "card check recognition" that make organizing workers far
These agreements enable the union to side-step traditional secret
ballot elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board and are
often more successful organizing strategies than traditional elections.
The new survey shows a significant increase over last year in
respondents who report pressure from unions to agree to card check (32
percent - up from 17 percent), neutrality agreements (26 percent - up from
19 percent) and fair election agreements (10 percent - up from 6 percent).
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was the primary union
in more than 50 percent of reported corporate campaigns, and continues to
be among the most aggressive unions targeting the healthcare sector.
Respondents reported that registered nurses (RNs), service and
nonprofessional employees and technical workers were the most common focus
of union organizing efforts among ASHHRA member organizations. Among the
most frequent issues used to organize workers were pay (80 percent),
benefits (70 percent) and staffing levels (60 percent).
Unions also demonstrated more reliance on electronic and online
techniques to reach potential members and create coalitions, taking
advantage of low-cost communications tools like email, blogs and Web sites
to network and disseminate information. Unions also have leveraged
so-called "social networking" through the use of MySpace and YouTube.
Founded in 1979, IRI Consultants offers organization development,
corporate communications and employee relations consulting, training and
leadership development services that help clients implement best practices
to improve employee job satisfaction, enhance workplace productivity and
facilitate and apply effective communication strategies.
ASHHRA, a division of the American Hospital Association, is the
nation's only membership organization exclusively dedicated to meeting the
professional needs of human resources leaders in health care.
A copy of the full report is available by contacting Robert Moll at
313.965.0350, ext. 428.
SOURCE IRI Consultants