Healthcare workers may find it easier to unionize

With state budget Medicaid reimburesement cuts leading to layoffs and layoffs leading to worker strikes comes news that it now may be much easier for healthcare workers to unionize.

The decision in the Specialty Healthcare case has been overturned, determining that a group of nursing assistants at a facility in Mobile, Ala., could form their own bargaining unit without other types of nursing home staff, reports the Huffington Post.

The ruling could significantly simplify the unionization process in the healthcare industry and give healthcare workers greater autonomy, according to the article.

"The decision about who they want to join together with should be a decision that workers make," said Carter Wright, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than a million healthcare workers. "An employer shouldn't be able to interfere with that, like they have in the past."

Proponents of the ruling say it will help more people besides nursing assistants in joining forces to bargain for better pay, reasonable benefits, and enhanced working conditions.

"And it's only reasonable that when they choose to form unions, they do so with colleagues who share similar responsibilities and face the same day-to-day issues," said Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of the pro-union American Rights at Work, notes HuffPost.

To learn more:
- read the Huffington Post article
- here's the ruling (.pdf)