Labor

New York Nurses Threaten Strike Over Growth of "Substandard, Non-Union" Clinic Jobs

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New York City nurses and other unionized health care workers in the Big Apple are threatening to go on strike because they're sick of hospitals shifting patients towards cost-saving clinics where the employees have "substandard, non-union jobs."

The nurses say if their leaders and hospital officials don't reach an agreement by July 31, they will stage a one-day strike "to send a message that they want to keep the city's heath-care industry unionized." 

The union's main complaint about hospitals shifting services to outpatient clinics is that it robs the group of its influence. The union wants hospitals to agree not to prevent outpatient clinic workers from forming unions and have a process in place to unionize workers at these clinics.

But hospital officials are not loving this idea because one way clinics save money (And, therefore, are able to pass those savings on to consumers and taxpayers) is by keeping labor costs down.

Hospital representatives point out that they need to compete with clinics that employ non-union workers and aren't affiliated with hospitals.

In fact, shifting heath care away from the more costly emergency rooms and hospital wards is a measure the Affordable Care Act has pushed to curb exorbitant medical care costs.

And lucky for dollar-conscious consumers who like choice in their health care decisions, outpatient clinics are growing:

Since 2004, New York state's outpatient workforce increased 24%, compared with a 7% increase in hospital employment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationally, outpatient employment has increased 46% since 2004, compared with 11% for hospitals.

If the strike comes to fruition, it will be the first time the group has walked off the job in at least two decades.

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  1. How dare these dastardly clinics save people money? Who do they think they are?

  2. Nothing says “I’m A PROFESSIONAL” like joining a union, wanting to force others to do so as well, and threatening to or actually striking over issues like this.

    PRO. Fessional.

    Fuck nurse unions, and teachers and teachers unions. Appreciate what nurses do, so I won’t say fuck them, just their unions…:)

    1. I’m not sure I would be as hard on teachers. In Wisconsin, when they had the option of bailing on the union, many did so. And their bosses set them for failure as it is, between zero tolerance derp and the testing fetish.

      1. I’ve seen precious little effort to reform the public education system from the schoolteachers or their unions. From their collective viewpoint, reform seems to consist of:
        1 – No performance based evaluations
        2 – Need more funding
        3 – Need more teachers
        4 – Need more administration

        In short, reform consists of throwing more money at the problem, but not changing anything.

        1. Money isn’t thrown at the problem(s). The problems are used to provide a cover story for giving more money to the unions and to school administrators.

    2. Professional has a different meaning in this context. It means “one who professes love for, or engages in coitus with, a union.”

    3. I was an engineering student at a university that also had a nursing program, and I now live in Boston, a land littered with hospitals.

      Believe me, you do want to fuck nurses.

  3. Technically, there’s alt-text. But it’s not real alt-text!

    1. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  4. all you ever needed to know about unions: The union’s main complaint about hospitals shifting services to outpatient clinics is that it robs the group of its influence.

    1. Naah. It’s about the *patients*! Somebody just slipped.

  5. Funny thing is, I get better service at these outpatient centers than I do from the hospital staff. And at lower prices too.

    1. I would love to visit the parallel universe where the U.S. has a free market in healthcare, just to see what it’s like.

      1. I would too. I’d be most curious how much charity would actually be available to pick up the slack (generally the poor, disabled, or those with a “condition”). That’s really what the “Free Market” argument always comes back to.

        1. For poor who lived outside of other community support options (e.g., extended family, local churches–usually minority immigrants), one thing that developed before the welfare state was the mutual aid society, which provided medical services, among other things.

          Americans have long been known for being pretty generous with their charity, though no doubt that’s been weakened quite a bit by the government taking over most of that role. This idea that the government should run or even can run welfare programs is laughable.

          1. My employer offers a couple options for donations to be taken out of your paycheck for various charities, including one that supports shelters, food banks and the like. I’ve had co-workers tell me they are uncomfortable with this as these are things that should be taken care of by government.

            1. It’s nice of your employer to give jobs to the mentally handicapped.

            2. Where I live, a large chunk of my pay goes to the city and state to (supposedly) pay for exactly that sort of thing. It’s a pretty foreseeable consequence that people feel a little squeezed.

          2. This. Both my father and grandfather are/were doctors. My mom (who is an R.N. and basically ran my dad’s office) said that she had to almost force my dad to not just give away his services. All he wanted to do was to help people. They still donate their time at their church monthly for everything from kids needing a quick physical for sports, to people who need genuine care.

            My grandfather was very similar. He grew up dirt poor in Arkansas before WWII (his family had no floors in their “house,” they trapped animals and sold their pelts, meat, and organs so they could buy some ham and a loaf of bread to eat that day), and after becoming a doctor would accept just about anything for payment for his services. Old shotguns, junk revolvers, a sack of random stuff, or money if they had it.

            I really hate those people that think charity just won’t happen. It has been around for all time, and continues to be around. It’s just not as big as it used to be since Uncle Sugar decided to take the reigns. Those same people that think they have to “do something” will squawk on an on about how enough isn’t being done, but won’t actually do anything themselves. Other people like my father and grandfather will get off their asses and *actually* do something, not just tell other people to.

        2. I’d be most curious how much charity would actually be needed to pick up the slack. With comprehensive, 99% effective cancer treatment costing around 35 bucks, I don’t think it’d be much.

          1. I’d wager that’s an overly optimistic view of the potential cost savings. But even putting that aside, there will always be premium car with the latest and greatest breakthroughs vs. low rent care with more established avenues of treatment. Charity will strongly skew towards low rent care, and my curiosity is … to what degree?.

            The other side of the coin is emergency care. Even if you assume a model that there will be charity based emergency care providers (as there were in the past), the issue is travel distance and capacity and also the “low rent” issue mentioned above. My curiosity here is the impact of those factors on the survival rate of the indigent.

            In libertopia, if you aren’t wearing your ID chip with your “insured” confirmation, and if the only options for care near you are ones that required guaranteed payment, then you’re likely fucked. And if you’re crippled, you’re likely fucked (you’ll probably be alive but likely in a crowded facility with “low rent” care). I’m not claiming that’s good or bad. But that’s where the OMGZ SINGLE PAYER eventually finds its roots.

            1. I’d wager it’s a pessimistic view of the cost savings. It’d probably be closer to 20 bucks and include a nice lunch. The premium deal for early adopters would be 100% effective and around 50 bucks, with people paying for that service donating enough on top of it to cover all of the crippled indigent folks who happen to live nearby.

              1. Look, if you want to assume away costs, you can make all sorts of other magic assumptions. But that entire premise is invalid because cost is always a function of evolving technology. Maybe sometime in the future we’ll have tricorders and biobeds that can diagnose/fix almost anything, but building that into your libertopia vision is just…foolish.

        3. Less slack to pick up too, when the list prices aren’t as inflated.

          1. Damn. Should have refreshed first.

        4. I’d be most curious how much charity would actually be available to pick up the slack

          Roughly half, maybe a little less, of the hospitals in this country are charitable non-profits. And they employ a ton of doctors. So I suspect that adequate charity would be available.

  6. When your business model is to artificially increase the cost of labor, you shouldn’t be shocked that your business model is going to take a hit when revenue compression arrives in your industry.

  7. The nurses say if their leaders and hospital officials don’t reach an agreement by July 31, they will stage a one-day strike “to send a message that they want to keep the city’s heath-care industry unionized.”

    No nurses at ERs = people forced to go to clinics.

    This is sounding like when the French? cab drivers went on strike over Uber, so the only way people could get to work was Uber, and the Uber popularity jumped like 50 times.

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