Why come together as a union at our hospital?

We deserve a voice for our patients, our families and our future. When we have a union, hospital management is required by law to listen and negotiate. All hospital employees play an important role in making sure patients get the best care and service possible. Without a union, management will continue to run our hospital without listening to workers on the front lines.

Why are unions important?

When workers form unions, they gain the right to collectively bargain their wages, work conditions and benefits. Unionized hospital workers also gain a stronger voice to advocate for better patient care. Without a union, management decisions are final. Health care workers in unions are also paid on average a higher salary than non-union workers.

Who is the union and what can it do for me?

We are the union. Unions are democratic organizations made up of workers united around a mission. Union members make decisions, negotiate contracts, represent each other, and advocate for their profession and their patients. By forming our union, we will be part of a united labor movement that includes 1.6 million AFSCME members across the country.

What is bargaining and what can we negotiate?

After we win our union election, an elected team of our coworkers will meet with management and negotiate our wages, benefits and work conditions. We will set our priorities together through surveys and meetings beforehand. The more united we are, the better our contract. Negotiations are hard work, but well worth it.  Whenever hospital workers have stood together, they have negotiated significant wage increases, better scheduling and staffing practices, fair grievance procedures and much more. 

How much are union dues?

We will not pay dues until we negotiate and vote to ratify a contract. Union dues vary, but are generally two percent of gross payroll. Shift differentials, overtime and holiday pay are generally not calculated in our dues deductions. Our dues go toward helping us negotiate and enforce our contracts and advancing our professions.

Does joining a union mean we have to strike?

A strike is just one way to leverage an employer when they refuse to move on critical issues, such as those affecting quality patient care. Workers strike only as a last resort and when it is authorized by a majority of the workforce. It requires thorough planning and commitment. As health care professionals, we do not strike without giving the company and appropriate agencies required notice. Our patients are our priority, and a contingency plan must be in place before we strike.  

If we come together as a union, will our hospital be less competitive?

No. Employees at several hospital systems across the country have already united — in California this includes UC, Kaiser, and the nurses at Sharp. Employee and patient standards improve when hospital workers have a voice on the job.

Will people be visiting me at my home?

The National Labor Relations Board will requires employers to provide our contact information, and it will be handled with care. Due to the nature of our work, we have limited contact with our coworkers. Building a strong union means we must communicate outside of work and be more organized than management. Some of our coworkers may only be reachable at home, and some may prefer to talk about serious work issues at their home.  

Why is management so scared of us having a union?

Hospital management prefers to make decisions unilaterally without consulting front-line workers. Unions bring fairness, democracy, and accountability to workplaces. This transition can make managers nervous at first.

Is it legal for management to intimidate, threaten, or terminate us for organizing?

NO. Any occurrence should be documented and reported to the organizing committee.