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PTA Blog Talk

Health Care Unions

Published January 30, 2009 2:55 PM by Jason Marketti
I got to thinking, what if therapy was part of a union which would help us keep patient-to-therapist ratios to a limit, allow us 40 hours a work week no matter if the case load is there or not, and limit our productivity standard to 80 percent with a stipulation that we will receive a bonus if we exceed it? 

I called up my Uncle Jim who is the former President of the CWA Local 1032.  The first thing he said was to get a professional union organizer. 

So after I contact a local union (or one that represent those in health care) I will need 30 percent of the employees to sign union authorization cards or a petition to begin a union.  Then after we vote for a union, negotiations can begin.

There are those out there who are adamantly opposed to unions and would refuse to join one stating that, "Unions only want our money," and/or "I won't join a nursing union," etc.

Listen, therapists are the big money makers in facilities; every other department costs a facility money.  We should be the ones setting the standards of care and what is best for the patient-not facilities, and certainly not the government.  We can sit on the sidelines and allow our care to be dictated to us or be proactive and set our own standards of where we want health care to go. 

Policies are set in a union so the majority will benefit, just like where we work now. We don't always agree on the policies, yet we follow them.  With a union, if we don't like the officers, we can vote them out. In a facility, we cannot vote out the CEO.  We can even have a vote to get rid of the union if they are not representing us appropriately.

Yes, there are dues to belong to a union.  And therapists may not want to pay those dues, yet will spend $5.00 on a cup of coffee a day.  So we will pay money to a corporation for self indulgence, but will not pay dues that will benefit patients and therapists in their working environment.  Someone explain this to me. 

In the private sector, the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) is the largest health care union.  These are the people to talk to.  Or, find the largest and most powerful local union who is willing to organize employees in health care.

2 comments

A union won't work with therapists because they are too much in demand.  The unions of the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's were effective and powerful because the individual worker felt they had no power and the only way they could get what they thought was fair, was to envoke the power of the masses.  One line worker had no authority or power, but 10,000 line workers carried a lot more.  I think that as long as the demand stays high for our profession we can negotiate the contract we want individually.  If you aren't happy with your current deal there is always the facility down the street or across town that needs a good PTA.  I heard they are hiring in the desert/southwest area.

Doug March 27, 2009 3:01 PM

Jason

A therapy union?  I liked the 40 hours idea and the bonus but I don't know if a union will get me that.  I could negotiate that on my own.  

I have never known therapists to join a union

Karen January 30, 2009 11:50 PM

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    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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