The Center of Economic and Policy Research

Unions bring people together, people who work in the same or similar jobs in the same company/hospital. Together,
through the union, employees have a collective presence and a collective voice to address workplace issues. They work
together to improve wages, hours, and working conditions.
A voice for your patients. A say in your workplace. Improved wages.
Better benefits. A pension. Job security. In other words …
Why Unions Matter for Young Nurses!
1. Economics: Members of unions tend to receive higher
wages and better benefits than non-union employees in every
type of work.
The Center of Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) reports
that for workers between the ages of 18 and 29, unionization
raises workers’ wages by over 12% (about $1.75 per
hour). Besides wages things like overtime pay,
shift differentials, and other economic items
can be negotiated for unionized workers.
Union members’ benefits are written into
a legally protected document known as a
contract which the employer must follow.
2. Health, Wellbeing, and Security:
Members of unions generally have better
working conditions than employees without
unions. And when conditions are not good, they
can use their collective strength to correct the problems.
Union contracts generally have health and safety language to
protect workers on the job; health insurance benefits which
cannot be changed unless negotiated; and pension plans.
Younger workers in unions are about 17 percentage points
more likely to have health insurance than those not in a
union. All union members, through their collective voice,
can also negotiate over the cost and structure of the health
plan they participate in. Young unionized workers are also
about 24 percentage points more likely to be in a pension plan
than their non-union counterparts (Center for Economic
and Policy Research).
Here are three ways unions, and the MNA in
particular, are helping young professionals:
Many unions arose in the late 20th century to address the deplorable conditions in the textile, manufacturing,
and other work industries. Over time, unions fought for child labor laws, health and safety language, and workhour restrictions to address unsafe conditions and to improve the lives of workers. The conditions in most of
those industries have vastly improved from years past … all because of unions.
Today, according to a recent Gallup poll, 66% of people ages 18 to 34 approve of labor unions compared to 60%
of people ages 35-54 and 62% of people ages 55 or older. (Jamie Lynn Burgess, 6/25/19 “Why young workers are
embracing Labor Unions.”
There are plenty of workersin the United States who belong to unions. They know that having a voice in the work
that they do is an important aspect of their jobs and lives. Young workers are now joining rank and file union
members and embracing what unions can do to improve working conditions. (Jamie Lynn Burgess, 6/25/19 “Why
young workers are embracing Labor Unions.”
Nurses, nurse’s aides, healthcare professionals, firefighters, college professors, graduate students, teachers,
building trades, flight attendants, airline pilots, theater and stagehand workers, police officers, clerks, librarians,
social workers, public sector employees, plumbers, electricians, construction workers, truck drivers, farmworkers, professional athletes and many other kinds of workers are union members.
All the people who work in these jobs have the same kinds of advantagesin their work because they have a union.
A union is simply a group of workers joining together to collectively bargain with their employer over wages,
hours, and working conditions.
Unions Then & Now
Who are Today’s Union Workers?
8 September 2019 Massachusetts Nurse Advocate
Showing You the Money!
The minimum and maximum hourly rates of pay for 2019 at
all MNA hospitals
Outlined below are the 2019 base hourly rates of pay (minus any
differentials or overtime) for all MNA staff RNs [starting without
experience; referred to here as the “Min”] and the top of the salary
scale for all MNA nurses with commiserate experience [referred
to here as the “Max”]. All rates of pay appropriately reflect annual
step increases and annual wage increases that vary from 4% to 7%.
Please note that these pay rates reflect 2019 only and will increase
again for 2020. Additionally, RNs will receive annual wage increases
and move along their scales annually unless they have reached
maximum salary, at which point the salary increase applies but
annual step increases do not. Additional scales exist for positions
with additional responsibilities and advanced degrees.
At my previous non-union
hospital, the nurses didn’t have
an effective voice for change.
I prefer to work at an MNArepresented hospital because,
as members, we can stand up
for and fight for appropriate
and fair hiring practices, better
wages, and improvements to
our working conditions. Being
part of the movement for the
improvement of where we
work and the safe care we need
to deliver is paramount to the
success of nursing.
Emma Dragon, RN; Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton and formerly with a non-union hospital
Being a union member with
the MNA has helped in my
current job because I feel like
I have job security, like I am
protected, if God forbid, holding onto my job came down to
a ‘he said/she said’ situation.
I feel the union fights to protect my rights as a nurse, and
we are a solid community. We
care for one another. We have
each other’s best interests at
heart, along with giving the
best patient care possible.
Kathy Nuñez, RN; Northeast Health Systems and formerly
with a non-union hospital
3. Voice: Members of unions
have a say in how the work
is done, and how people
are treated, and, if there
is a problem, their elected
union representatives help
them address it. As an example,
registered nurses can negotiate
enforceable contract language on many
subjects related to their nursing practice, including
staffing, health and safety protocols, and overtime.
(Northeastern Mass)
(Metro Boston area)
(Southeastern Mass)
(Baystate) Franklin Medical Center
(Baystate) Noble Hospital
(Partners) Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Berkshire/North Adams Medical Center
(Trinity) Mercy Medical Center
(Trinity) Providence Hospital
(UMass Medical Center) University Hospital
(UMass Medical Center) Memorial Hospital
(UMass Medical Center) Marlboro Hospital
(UMass Medical Center) Clinton Hospital
(UMass Medical Center) Leominster/Burbank
(Tenet) St. Vincent Medical Center
(Tenet) Metro-West Leonard Morse Hospital
(Partners) Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Heywood Hospital
(South Coast) Tobey Hospital
(Cape Cod Health) Cape Cod Hospital
(Cape Cod Health) Falmouth Hospital
Brockton Hospital
(Steward Health Care) Good Samaritan Hospital
(Steward Health Care) Morton Hospital
(Beth Israel/Lahey Health) Jordan Hospital
(Partners) Nantucket Hospital
(Partners) Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
Lawrence General Hospital
(Beth Israel/Lahey Health) Northeast Health
(Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals)
(Beth Israel/Lahey Health) Anna Jacques Hospital
(Steward Health Care) Holy Family Hospital
(Steward Health Care) Merrimack Valley Hospital
(Steward Health Care) Nashoba Valley Hospital (in negs.)
(Partners) Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston Medical Center (2018; in negs.)
(Wellforce) Tu�s Medical Center
Dana Farber
Cambridge Health Alliance
Cambridge Hospital
Whidden Hospital
Somerville Hospital/Emergency Dept.
(Partners) Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital
(Steward Health Care) St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
(Western Mass)
(Central Mass)
(Western Mass)
(Western Mass)
(Central Mass)
(Southeastern Mass)
(Northeastern Mass)
(Metro Boston area)
If there is no union, employees are considered “employees at will,” meaning the
employer can unilaterally change, alter
or adjust any of your working conditions.
With a union, management must sit down with the
members of the union and negotiate the impact of
any changes they want to make.
Massachusetts Nurse Advocate September 2019 9
Copyright of Massachusetts Nurse Advocate is the property of Massachusetts Nurses
Association and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a
listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print,
download, or email articles for individual use.

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