fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

A Damaging Distraction During COVID Emergency

December 06, 2020 | Chip Kahn

Category: General

It is often said in politics that you shouldn’t let a crisis go to waste – words that organized labor is bringing to life during the pandemic as they try to sow division between frontline caregivers and hospitals.

Nurses are the lifeblood of our facilities and are sacrificing so much amid the novel coronavirus pandemic to provide quality care to patients across the country. We’re in this together.

That is why it is so unfortunate that groups, like the National Nurses United, say publicly that their main concern is the health and economic well-being of nurses, but then they don’t match that rhetoric with tangible actions.

There is no doubt the pandemic has been tough on nurses, both physically and financially. But instead of truly respecting the stresses on their members, NNU is giving sizable raises to its own employees, including senior leadership, while at the same time increasing member dues amid this generational health crisis.

At a time in which hospitals and nurses are working as a team to meet the challenge of COVID, it is regrettable that organized labor is using this tragedy as an opportunity to breathe new life into its dwindling movement. Proof is in the statistics – private sector union representation has been dropping steadily for the past 45 years, bottoming out in 2019 at just 6.2%.

We hope that instead of trying to capitalize on the COVID crisis and divide the health care community, union leaders will join us in focusing on what matters most – caring for our patients during the pandemic.