Ebola and the Healthcare Unions

Well, as if the healthcare industry doesn’t have enough to deal with, some healthcare unions appear to be exploiting the Ebola panic for their own gains.  These unions are attempting to place themselves front and center as the protector of nurses and other care providers who may be called upon to care for infected patients.

Apparently, non-represented nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital contacted National Nurses United after one of their colleagues contracted the virus while caring for an infected patient.  They claim that hospital staff were not properly trained or provided the correct protective equipment necessary to care for Ebola patients.  Since then, representatives from National Nurses United have been on several national television news shows sounding the alarm for caregivers and criticizing the healthcare system, and the government, for the initial handling of Ebola cases in the U.S.  They have also sent a letter to President Obama and started an on-line petition outlining NNU’s demands for standards to protect hospital workers caring for Ebola patients.


To a lesser extent, other unions, including SEIU Healthcare and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), have also jumped on the publicity bandwagon and are taking this opportunity to increase their exposure through the 24-hour news cycle.


Whether right or wrong in their allegations, healthcare unions have become top of mind for some employees during this crisis, which increases the likelihood that healthcare workers may seek out information from these organizations when they would not have done so in the past.


At Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan, we are advising our clients to be even more vigilant in their efforts to recognize the early warning signs that employees may be reaching out to organized labor to calm their fears.  Be on the lookout for printed material or any participation in on-line petitions that are currently being circulated.   Healthcare organizations have enough to worry about right now without the added threat of a labor campaign; so early identification and intervention is key.


If you would like more information on how Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan can you assist you with your employee relations’ needs, please contact me.


Best regards,


Mick Crowley, MS, RN

Executive Vice President

Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan