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Tags: unions | nursing

Union Kingpins Making an Offer America Must Refuse

Union Kingpins Making an Offer America Must Refuse

Healthcare workers protest what they say are unsafe working conditions and demand OSHA to intervene outside of MountainView hospital Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP/John Locher)

Jared Whitley By Friday, 03 September 2021 11:07 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

While virtually every industry, every part of our daily life, will look different on the other side of the pandemic, there’s one industry exploiting it to make sure they stay on top: corrupt union leadership.

Specifically, nurses’ unions are capitalizing on COVID 19 to grab as much power and money as they can, even if it’s at the expense of patients and the nurses they’re supposed to be representing.

At the height of the pandemic last year, the National Nurses United union hosted three protests at a Las Vegas MountainView Hospital, demanding raises even as the hospital was struggling to save the lives of COVID patients. The group represents about 10,000 nurses nationwide, so they have the power to significantly disrupt our healthcare system.

This isn’t the first time such a reckless stunt has been pulled. During the Ebola scare, many healthcare provider unions urged their members to walk away from their jobs – which could have left thousands without care. Union strikes have done so much damage that some hospitals have even had to close their doors, leaving thousands of patients without care and employees without jobs.

Florence Nightingale said, “I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.” President Calvin Coolidge famously said, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”

Nursing union kingpins have responded with, “Hold my beer.”

In the height of a rush on hospitals, the potential for damage is extraordinary. That seems to be what they’re shooting for, firing a shot last week at the nation’s hospitals that somehow they’re to blame for all the world’s woes.

Now of course, especially at a time where there are “healthcare heroes” signs posted everywhere, one doesn’t want to villainize nurses for all their hard work, expertise, and sacrifice. And of course, this obstreperous revolt against the public good is hardly the fault of the rank-and-file American nurse.

Nurses’ unions are more about enriching leadership rather than representing their members. Most nursing unions are led by labor lawyers, and most nurses pay more than $1,000 a year in union dues.

Indeed, “unions in healthcare is big business for union leaders,” wrote trade journal Registered Nursing said. “Under the guise of improving nurses' working conditions and patient outcomes, unions continue to advocate for their own survival first and foremost.” And corrupt leaders want to keep it that way: while only 11% of the total workforce is still unionized, more than 20% of nurses are.

The right pinch here and the wrong squeeze there and nursing union leadership could make sure they keep the industry under their thrall for a long time to come.

As the healthcare workforce continues to shrink, unions are putting hospitals in a terrible situation. Hospitals require increased funding to protect their workers and stay solvent. If they go belly-up, it will be bad for everyone.

The need for registered nurses is expected to grow by 12% through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also recently reported that hospitals lost 5,800 jobs in April 2021, 600 in March, 2,200 in February, and 2,100 in January. Due to COVID-19, healthcare workers are experiencing heretofore unseen levels of burnout.

Strikes throw money down the toilet; previous healthcare strikes have cost individual hospitals and health systems more than $46 million in the past – money that then couldn’t go to increased wages, improved facilities, or new equipment.

At a time when everyone’s resources (including their sanity) and strapped, nurses’ unions are picking now to turn up the heat. It’s not because they care about nurses, and they certainly don’t care about patients. They’ve made America an offer it must refuse.

Jared Whitley is a long-time politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.

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While virtually every industry, every part of our daily life, will look different on the other side of the pandemic, there’s one industry exploiting it to make sure they stay on top: corrupt union leadership.
unions, nursing
Friday, 03 September 2021 11:07 AM
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