Free & Fair Union Elections = Quality Care and Quality Jobs
Studies show a vast majority of Americans would join a union if given the opportunity. So why aren’t more workers organizing? The answer is that when working people attempt to form unions, management almost always reacts with campaigns of intimidation, misinformation and fear.
A free and fair election means that employees are free to decide whether they want to unionize in a fair secret ballot vote. Management, rather than interfering, respects this decision.
Free and fair election agreements often include the following guidelines:
- Management agrees to abstain from spending any patient care resources on efforts to dissuade employees from forming a union.
- Both the union and the employer agree not to disparage each other and to present only factual information.
- Employees are allowed to exchange and discuss information about forming a union.
- Management does not take a position on unionization, but allows employees to make up their own minds.
- Employees are given access to union representatives and information at the workplace.
- Management agrees to schedule an election without delays and respect the decision employees make.
- Management and the union agree to a fair, timely and binding enforcement process for these guidelines.
Aren’t there already laws to protect employee rights?
The rules laid out in the National Labor Relations Act greatly favor employers and anti-worker consultants by allowing them to broadly interfere in union elections. If employers break the few restrictions in place, the fines are so minimal that they are of no consequence. Furthermore, employers can cause so much legal wrangling and delay that votes can be postponed and overturned. That is why free and fair union election guidelines are needed in addition to already existing labor laws.
Do healthcare workers want a vote run by the National Labor Relations Board?
Yes. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the federal agency charged with running union elections. However, management is still given vast leeway to unfairly interfere in an NLRB election. That is why caregivers are calling on hospital and nursing home CEOs to agree to a free and fair code of conduct before, during and after an NLRB union election.
All across the United States, many healthcare systems have negotiated free and fair election codes of conduct. These systems include:
- Kaiser Permanente: All hospitals and clinics nationally (Kaiser is the country's largest private nonprofit health care provider).
- HCA: Several hospitals in three states (HCA is the largest for-profit healthcare corporation in the world).
- Tenet: All California hospitals (Tenet is the second largest for-profit system in the U.S.)
- Catholic Healthcare West: All hospitals in its system.
- Allina Health: All hospitals in its system.
- Daughters of Charity: All hospitals in its system.
- The NY League of Voluntary Hospitals (representing the overwhelming majority of Hospitals in NYC).
- Caritas Christi Health Care (second largest healthcare system in New England).
- Many nursing home chains throughout the country.