Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the stronger overall economy is leading to greater union leverage in the healthcare sector. Among the contributing factors are:
- Sector growth outpacing availability of qualified applicants
- Larger union representation in healthcare than in other industries
- Healthcare remaining a hot political topic
- Aggressive nature of unions that target healthcare industries
One in every seven jobs created in 2018 came from the healthcare sector, and in July 2019, only about half of job openings were filled by healthcare providers. With the aging of the healthcare workforce and retiring Baby Boomers, this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
Although the percentage of unionized workers in the private sector has been dropping for years, landing at 6.4% in 2018, it remained higher in the healthcare sector, at 7.7% that year. Using the rhetoric of staffing ratios, which seems to make intuitive sense, union organizing attempts in the healthcare sector are more difficult to fight.
The media and political landscape will continue to keep healthcare front and center in the attention of the general population, as the struggle over the “dismantling” of Obamacare confronts the progressive agenda of single-payor healthcare.
In the middle of all this, the CNA/NNU, the SEIU and a few other aggressive unions are finding plenty of opportunity to obfuscate facts, scare the general public, and use the power of strikes to enhance their leverage.
As this Becker’s Hospital Review article noted for October alone, hospital employees continue to be active.