Healthcare News & Insights

Union membership growing among health care workers

A number of factors are fueling a surge of health care workers moving to union ranks.

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, 13.6% of workers in the “Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations” group were union members. That’s more than 960,000 workers. In 2000, 12.9% of health care workers (approximately 693,000 total) were union members.

The “healthcare”  group includes doctors, dentists, veterinarians, nurses, and other therapists and technicians. But most of the growth in union membership has been among nurses and other non-physicians employed in hospitals.

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that some of the growth comes from the health care sector simply adding a lot of jobs. But current economic and political trends are making union membership more attractive to many workers.

Between the cost-cutting measures that often ask workers to do more work for the same pay and uncertainty about how health reform may affect their jobs/salaries, workers are more likely to see union protections as appealing.

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