Health Professionals Want to Unionize—Three Units in Three States

Health Professionals Want to Unionize—Three Units in Three States
Health professionals in Montana, Connecticut and New Jersey voted to join the American Federation of Teachers last week, representing registered nurses, medical and dental assistants, and addiction treatment center workers, respectively.
“Healthcare professionals across the country want a voice in their jobs, and they see that that comes with forming a union. We’re honored these three units of frontline workers in three different states chose to join the AFT,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Whether they’re helping our family and friends overcome the scourge of addiction, addressing acute medical conditions, helping patients recover from accident or injury, or providing preventive care, these health professionals know that their working conditions are patients’ healing conditions. We’re ready to stand beside them as they fight to reclaim their dignity and respect on the job and to advocate for safe conditions for their patients.”
The new units represented by last week’s votes comprise a total of 161 health professionals in three states.
In Lafayette Township, N.J., 125 addiction treatment center workers at Sunrise House, part of the national for-profit chain American Addiction Centers, voted nearly 5 to 1 to join the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, an AFT affiliate and New Jersey’s largest union of healthcare professionals.
In Hartford, Conn., 26 medical and dental assistants at Community Health Services voted to form CHS United and affiliate with AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care hospital workers in the state. Doctors and registered nurses at CHS-Hartford are already represented by AFT Connecticut.
In Missoula Mont., 10 registered nurses at the Anti-Coagulation Clinic at St. Patrick Hospital voted to join the Montana Nurses Association, the largest union of health professionals in the state.
“Healthcare professionals face increasingly difficult conditions, from hospital consolidation, to understaffing and budget cuts, to acute health crises like the opioid epidemic or the Zika virus,” said Weingarten. “The AFT is the second-largest union of nurses and health professionals. Since our last convention in 2014, 14 units in eight states, representing nearly 3,000 health professionals, have voted to join our ranks because they see that our experience and expertise can help them win as they fight to improve conditions for themselves and their patients.”

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