Unions for Health Care Workers are Growing

Source: Victoria Stagg Elliott, American Medical Association, February 22, 2010

Experts say nurses are leading a trend toward more organized labor in the medical setting — mostly in hospitals

The number of medical personnel covered by some form of collective bargaining agreement or registered as union members is edging up, according to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is partly because the health care sector now employs many more people than do traditionally unionized industries such as manufacturing. But the trend also marks a backlash against some of the belt-tightening by hospitals in response to the recent economic downturn, experts said. Uncertainty around health system reform is also playing a role.

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