Impact of Unions
Although the health care industry in the United States leads the world in terms of medical innovation and technological sophistication, research papers on unions illustrate that in the last several decades, unions have seen growing problems associated with the provision of medical services in this country. Below is an example of the impact of unions in the United States, using the health care industry as an example.
Using health care as an example, a confluence of negative trends such as the following have served give rise to many significant problems with the American health care system.
- Managed care insurance
- Lack of public confidence
- Job shortage
- Rising malpractice insurance rates
- Diminished government funding
Taken together, this situation has reached a juncture that some industry experts have characterized as a crisis.
While there are many potential solutions for the current problems in the health care industry, one alternative that has been given an increasing amount of attention is the possibility of introducing wide-ranging collective bargaining options for medical professionals. Although isolated pockets of the health care industry have long since been unionized, there has not yet been a far-reaching movement that works to bargain collectively for the various categories of health care personnel at a regional or national level. In recent years, the vociferous call for sweeping collective bargaining privileges has begun to resound among many groups of industry professionals.
On the other side of the debate, many public and private hospitals and health care institutions have asserted that the widespread implementation of national- and regional-level collective bargaining among health care personnel could be devastating to the industry. Already challenged by a shrinking pool of qualified applicants and ever-increasing market value for compensation, these institutions largely regard the potential advent of wide-scale collective bargaining as a threat to the solvency of many of the nation's health care institutions. However, many industry analysts see this fear as both overstated and futile, as the trend towards health care unionization is already well underway in many parts of the country.