The Service Employees International Union has been the fastest growing union in the country. Recently, it created a “union within a union” to concentrate strictly on representing healthcare workers. This new organization is called “SEIU Healthcare.” SEIU Healthcare has been launched with a $120 million budget and it will have access to 4,000 organizers, according to the SEIU. SEIU Healthcare expects to organize between 80,000 and 100,000 new members during the next year. Initiatives have already begun towards organizing over 30,000 home care workers in a variety of states, including Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
One goal of the new union is to raise $40 million per election cycle for a political action committee, which would make it one of the largest PACs in the United States. One of the focal points of the PACs will be enacting universal healthcare. SEIU Healthcare has also said that it will not endorse any presidential candidate who does not have a plan or schedule for implementation of universal healthcare. Another priority for SEIU Healthcare is to get Congress to pass legislation requiring hospitals to satisfy mandatory staffing ratios (i.e., limit the number of patients assigned to a registered nurse on a particular shift).
Whether SEIU Healthcare will achieve its ambitious goals is still to be determined. But one fact is clear – all employers who have healthcare workers need to be prepared for aggressive union campaigning for more members and restrictive work rules.