More Pa. nurses unionize as hospitals face financial pressure: 3 things to know

A union in Pennsylvania is increasingly growing as more healthcare workers vote in favor of representation.

Since last weekend alone, nurses at two facilities — Philadelphia-based Hahnemann University Hospital and Drexel Hill, Pa.-based Delaware County Memorial Hospital — voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. Early next month, 450 nurses at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia will vote on whether to unionize, according to a report from The Inquirer.

Here are three things to know about the issue.

1. Unions view healthcare as an opportunity, as they have some traction there, said hospital consultant Alan Zuckerman, chairman of Veralon Partners in Philadelphia, according to The Inquirer. "There is more uncertainty and more financial pressure," he told the publication. Insurance "reimbursement rates are less than inflation. Do the math. If rates are lower and inflation is up, what do you do? You become less economically viable or you cut your costs.

"Anytime you are dealing with a distressed organization, there is probably a track record of attempting to become more viable on the backs of the staff, or at least that's how the union might look at it," he added.

2. Nurses at Hahnemann specifically expressed concerns related to equipment, wages and performing non-nursing work such as emptying linen bins, according to The Inquirer.

3. Hahnemann and Delaware County Memorial have said they respect the nurses' decision to unionize and will meet with the union to bargain in good faith.


More articles on workforce and labor management:

Minnesota nurses ratify contract with wage increases: 3 things to know
Union endorses Holy Cross Hospital tax levy proposal: 4 things to know
Delaware County Memorial Hospital nurses vote to unionize: 3 things to know

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