Aggressive New Organizing Strategies Prevalent in Healthcare Unionization Efforts

Survey Finds Prevalence of Corporate Campaigns Has Doubled

Oct 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from IRI Consultants

    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