Nurses at two local hospitals say they’re fed up with poor working conditions, subpar equipment, ineffective scheduling, and inadequate staffing. The environment, they say, is simply unsafe for patients. That’s why nearly 1,200 nurses voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) union a few weeks ago. The president of PASNAP said, “The main reason nurses call us is because they think they can’t do their jobs safely. They don’t really talk about money. They want to know if there’s hope to improve their working environment.” According to one nurse, management tried hard to stop the union’s formation but “never took the time to actually address our issues or how to fix them.”

Please let this be a lesson to companies everywhere that want to stay union-free: employees are less concerned with their wages and more concerned with their working conditions and feeling like they have a voice at work. Company leaders should take the time to ensure working conditions are safe and sanitary. When employees bring a workplace concern to management, address it, and follow up with the employee to let him know it has been resolved. If the concern is baseless or unresolveable, let the employee know that too; don’t just leave a complaining employee wondering whether management investigated the concern. Employees left wondering often wonder whether union representation is their last, best option.