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Get Ready for Union Worksite Soliciting

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 6, 2010

It's also a good time to examine protocols. "If the union wants to come on the premises, and they have the right to come on the premises, how will they be escorted? What areas will they go to? What times can they come on the premises," Krupin says. "You have to establish preventive policies. Look at those issues in anticipation of the rules being changed. As the decisions come out of the board we can modify them, but we are getting a head start."

Healthcare unions have enjoyed tremendous success in the past few years, winning well over 70% of their organizing elections, but they are not invulnerable. Krupin says hospitals that interact effectively with employees have the best chance of defeating organizing efforts. "That means communicating with employees, comparing wages and benefits, making sure you deal with grievances and that other issues that employees have are handled effectively. If you do the things you are supposed to do and your employees understand the communication and the transparency, they may not like the decision but at least they know you are thinking about them and you are trying to do the right thing," Krupin says.

The problem, he says, is that hospitals wait too long to act. "There is a process to do this. Hospitals wait until their blood pressure is 190/140, their cholesterol is at 300, and they are 40 pounds overweight. Then they say 'Oh my goodness I will stop smoking then,'" he says. "Employees only go to unions when they feel the employer is not listening. Unions don't organize employees, managers do."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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