Getting organized

Hurdles to unionizing
Imagine being a single parent who works as a nursing assistant at a hospital. You love your job, though your wages are only $9.50 per hour. The hospital gives you health insurance for yourself, but not your two children. Health insurance for your children would cost $200 more per month—which you can’t afford. The worst thing about your job is your schedule. You never know ahead of time what shift you will be working, which makes it impossible to coordinate after-school care for your children. To get better health insurance and a regular work schedule, among other benefits, you and your co-workers decide to organize a union.

The next thing that happens is your supervisor calls you in for a private talk to say that the union is a bad idea and that he hopes you won’t support it. There is nothing overtly coercive about the meeting, but your supervisor does have the power to fire you, set your work schedule, deny requests for vacation days and review your work performance.


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