A recent mailing by the California Nurses Association (CNA) was sent to nurses across the United States, from here in Ohio to as far west as Idaho. This recent outreach effort to attract the attention of nurses for the purpose of union representation is another bold step on the part of CNA to place themselves at the forefront of union organizing in healthcare. This mailing comes on the heels of CNA’s recent derailing of the scheduled union election between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP). One of the most troubling aspects of this recent mailing by CNA is their inclusion of a union authorization card as part of their “informational” pamphlet. In the process of union representation, union authorization cards are the first real step in allowing a union to become the legal bargaining representative of a group of employees, in this case nurses.
This type of aggressive marketing on the part of CNA presents an immediate challenge to healthcare executives and their respective management teams. Unless a healthcare organization has recently conducted a formal assessment to gauge the mood of their nurses and the current labor climate, there remains the possibility of nurses filling out one of these authorization cards and therefore moving them one crucial step closer toward CNA representation.
In light of these recent developments, it is now on the shoulders of healthcare administrators to put in place initiatives and strategic action plans that take into account the possibility of CNA generating interest and support among their nurses. CNA has clearly demonstrated an ability to have a dramatic influence on the labor relations’ dynamic of healthcare organizations throughout the country. It would be a mistake for any healthcare organization to dismiss this recent mailing as just another effort on the part of CNA to simply put out feelers for the possibility of organizing opportunities. More accurately, this is just one tool in CNA’s arsenal in furthering their goal of organizing as many nurses under the CNA banner as they possibly can. The healthcare organization that continues to ignore these glaring signs runs a greater risk of falling victim to CNA and their notoriously aggressive organizing tactics.