NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NLRB Ruling Empowers Unions At Hospitals

December 1, 1999

Hospital administrators across the nation are deeply concerned by a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that declared residents at hospitals "employees," with the right to unionize under federal law.

  • Currently doctors' unions do not have the right to strike, for the most part -- but the new breed of unions will, which gives them greater power.
  • Insiders fear that unions will likely grow bolder and demand substantial benefits and protections.
  • These new demands would further jeopardize hospitals which are already in precarious financial straits.
  • Unions have already launched an organizing blitz among residents -- primarily at six northeast hospitals, which the unions refuse to name.

A major issue and the focus of union organizing efforts is the number of hours residents are scheduled to work. At some hospitals that can run to 100 or 120 hours per week.

Another major area unions plan to target is hospitals' level of support staff. They want additional personnel hired to perform some duties usually performed by residents.

Unions claim they will use strikes only as a last resort.

Source: Laura Johannes, "Union Efforts Expected to Rise at Hospitals," Wall Street Journal, December 1, 1999.


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