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Unionization and the Nursing Profession

Unionization is a highly charged topic. No matter what your beliefs or thoughts are on the subject, one thing is clear—nurse managers have a significant responsibility to promote the goals of their organizations while appreciating the labor concerns that may prompt employees to join unions. Beyond that, it is helpful to reflect on the core values of nursing and consider the extent to which they align with unionization.

To prepare:

  • Review the information in the Learning Resources. Conduct additional research on unionization in health care.
  • Consider the professional basis of nursing and the presence of unions in health care. Does unionization conflict with a professional nursing orientation?
  • Reflect on the experiences you have had working in unionized settings, or consider what would be required of you in such a setting if you do not have that experience.
  • Consider how you would address transitioning from being a member of a collective bargaining unit to being a manager who cannot be a member of a collective bargaining unit. How you might prepare to make this sort of transition?

Post your position on whether unionization aligns with or conflicts with a professional nursing orientation and what this may mean for the role as a nurse manager. Share your experiences working in a unionized setting or describe what might be required of you when transitioning from one circumstance to another. 

Required Readings

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Chapter 22, “Collective Bargaining, Unionization, and Employment Laws”

Chapter 22 discusses several key topics surrounding unions and collective bargaining in nursing and health care organizations. 

Manthous, C. A. (2014). Labor unions in medicine: The intersection of patient advocacy and self–advocacy. Medical care52(5), 387–392.
Copyright 2014 by Llippincott  Williams & Wilkins – Journals. Reprinted by permission of Llippincott  Williams & Wilkins – Journals via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Ash, M., Seago, J. A., & Spetz, J. (2014). What do Health Care Unions do?: A Response to Manthous. Medical care52(5), 393–397. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000124.
Copyright 2014 by Llippincott  Williams & Wilkins – Journals. Reprinted by permission of Llippincott  Williams & Wilkins – Journals via the Copyright Clearance Center.

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