SEIU plans to form healthcare unit

Long the bane of healthcare administrators, the battlin' Service Employees International Union has announced plans to take things to the next level by forming an SEIU Healthcare division. The new union, which is intended to expand organizing efforts, will represent 30 SEIU locals. The SEIU has already been quite vocal in nursing matters, in particular, supporting nurses in efforts to expand nurse to patient ratios for what it says is needed safety upgrades. It has 84,000 registered nurses as members, including a particularly vocal subgroup who have been very active in California's medical politics.

SEIU Healthcare plans to attract workers in ambulatory surgery centers, laboratories, clinics and any other area where healthcare workers work, rather than roughly 1 million hospital, nursing and long-term-care workers who current work with the organization. The new group will kick off sometime in mid-2007, with a $40 million budget in place for its first two years of operations.

For more information on the SEIU's plans:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (sub. req.)