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Get Ready for Union Worksite Soliciting

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 6, 2010

Improving union access to the worksite would be disruptive, and create an unfair and coercive environment, Krupin says. "The union doesn't represent the employees until the employees say they do. This is like having an insurance agent coming into your house until you sign the policy. If you want to sign the policy you will find them," he says.

Krupin predicts that NLRB will examine the parameters of the so-called 24-hour rule, which prohibits management from holding mandatory mass meetings with employees within 24 hours of a union vote. "Unions won't be able to speak to employees whenever they want, but I suspect it is going to be more of an equal access question," he says. "If an employer engages at any time, not just within 24 hours, with mass meetings with more than one employee on the premises, then the union should have the same access. It will be more equal access, rather than total access."

"The board's justification would be that since the employer has access to the employees, the unions should have the same access," Krupin says. "I'm making a supposition, but I'm pretty good at looking at this stuff and knowing the history. It's like the communications world, where stations have to give candidates equal access."

So what should hospitals do about it?

"They have to be aware of this and develop policies in anticipation of an equal access provision," Krupin says. "We are saying let's review what policies they have now to see where they sit. Then in anticipation of the changes in the rules, how would we change those policies, setting up a fire drill before the fire as to how we should change the policies."

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