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Focused Action Forums

Employer Lobbying & Collective Bargaining

Posted by Moderator MT Coalition on October 30, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Lack of access to collective bargaining poses a difficulty in improving worker conditions in MTSOs.  There are often no means to communicate with coworkers, and finding unions can be difficult.

What are your ideas in forming a collective bargaining unit or mechanism for workers in MTSOs? 

Some suggestions have included:


         1. Finding or forming a collective bargaining unit.


2.  Using the MT Coalition to organize, coordinate with other MT/E groups to conference and strategize ways to lobby their organizations.  This could include drafting letters with requested working condition changes, and launching a scheduled CEO Email or management dialogue conference day, etc. 


3.  Forming a worker cooperative MTSO (as addressed in the forum on cooperatives).


What are your thoughts on the above, or other ideas and suggestions related to employer lobbying and collective bargaining?  


Do you have or know others who have expertise and/or resources in collective bargaining that you would volunteer or recommend?


Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments above (or via the contact form):    


Categories: Employer Lobbying & Collective Bargaining

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9 Comments

Reply MTE Activist
1:37 PM on December 9, 2017 
We definitely need to initiate contact with CEOs, top management to tell them the changes we want made. It isn't enough for individuals to contact them, too easy to dismiss or rationalize away why they can't. Has to be a group, represented contact with changes. Many services do not have any way for employees to even know who their coworkers are, let alone talk with and organize this. We needed to do this a long time ago. Never too late.
Reply Jay Vance, CMT, CHP, AHDI-F
12:48 AM on December 11, 2017 
I have little hope that contacting CEOs requesting concessions would prove fruitful. The largest MTSOs are mostly publicly traded companies and their first priority is to make money for their shareholders or investors. There has never been any indication that MTs as a whole are willing to act collectively; if anything, the opposite is true. Without a credible threat of a mass work stoppage or an industry-wide refusal to accept substandard compensation or working conditions, CEOs have zero incentive to accommodate the requests of MTs. Nothing will change until it becomes too costly NOT to change.
Reply MTE Activist
3:04 AM on December 11, 2017 
Awareness of the history and the obstacles is helpful and a first step. The next steps are to remove, go over, around, and overcome the obstacles. Think about how we could persuade and organize MTs to act collectively. how to convince the industry to refuse substandard compensation and conditions, persuade them of the cost savings and improved quality and production of better compensation and conditions, similar to those mentioned in the resource page articles, other research findings...
Reply Jay Vance, CMT, CHP, AHDI-F
11:21 PM on December 12, 2017 
I have little hope that contacting CEOs requesting concessions would prove fruitful. The largest MTSOs are mostly publicly traded companies and their first priority is to make money for their shareholders or investors. There has never been any indication that MTs as a whole are willing to act collectively; if anything, the opposite is true. Without a credible threat of a mass work stoppage or an industry-wide refusal to accept substandard compensation or working conditions, CEOs have zero incentive to accommodate the requests of MTs. Nothing will change until it becomes too costly NOT to change.
Reply MTE Activist
11:35 PM on December 12, 2017 
I think if we don't try, we won't know, but if we don't try, we can be guaranteed that nothing will change. Wouldn't that have been a shame if improvements in pay and conditions could have been made years ago, but because nobody spoke up en masse and/or represented, they didn't? I believe the data exists, and a strong case can be made that the pay is too low, and that the conditions in MTSOs including low pay are contributing to decreased productivity and therefore lower profits. We also have attestations of thousands of MTs that they want change. With representative consultation, the coalition will be reaching out to CEOs in MTSOs, healthcare facilities, and stakeholders in the near future to support making changes and patronizing existing and future MTSOs that offer better conditions including pay.

Jay Vance, CMT, CHP, AHDI-F says...
I have little hope that contacting CEOs requesting concessions would prove fruitful. The largest MTSOs are mostly publicly traded companies and their first priority is to make money for their shareholders or investors. There has never been any indication that MTs as a whole are willing to act collectively; if anything, the opposite is true. Without a credible threat of a mass work stoppage or an industry-wide refusal to accept substandard compensation or working conditions, CEOs have zero incentive to accommodate the requests of MTs. Nothing will change until it becomes too costly NOT to change.
Reply MTE Activist
2:11 AM on December 13, 2017 
(In reference to prior comment, the MTs have petitioned for this communication with CEOs and providers)
Reply CMTatwork
1:58 AM on January 25, 2018 
Just joined here. Hard to believe there is so little activity! Please see my comment on Improved Working Conditions forum. Also want to add - I took the liberty also of contacting Lee DeOrio of For The Record yesterday. Lee seems to be very much interested in pursuing assistance in an investigatoin as to the reason for the considerable drop in line rates over just a 1 to 2 month period - across the board for all the MTSOs and has asked if I know of any other MTs/MEs who would be willing to come forward with on the record statements such as I have. I informed Lee I would inquire and obtain names, contact info with permission from those individuals. If anyone is interested in such, please email me with your contact info so I may forward that to Lee. We are all in the same boat here and any help will be appreciated. AHDI does not appear to be our friend.
Reply Admin
7:52 PM on August 20, 2018 
MT Union Committee call for industry-wide MT Union Membership:
At the end of this update is a letter from the MT Union Organizing Committee, affiliated with SEIU Healthcare, calling all MT/Es who are non-management, United State residents (at this time), to union membership. This is a new, first-time effort to organize in a nontraditional way, the entire industry to work for increased visibility and improved conditions and wages. Due to the disperse and often isolated locations of our workforce, making traditional organizing challenging, this effort makes use of technology to reach and organize large numbers of members to bring our concerns and issues to the public, legislators, healthcare providers, and MTSOs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts only a slight decline (3%) in the need for MT/Es through 2026 due to technology and offshoring, offset by increased demand for healthcare services. This means we will be working for quite awhile, while our conditions stagnate or continue to deteriorate.

While some may have had disappointing experiences with unions in the past, unions too are retooling their methods and practice in response to changing conditions. This union is formed by MT/Es for MT/Es with the organizing abilities and resources of SEIU Healthcare. That means MT/E members are responsible for shaping and determining the efforts, actions, and results, not some 3rd party.

This membership is low cost (far lower than traditional union dues) at $5.00 per month, low risk, and members can be as active as they choose, as the higher the volume of members, the louder and more influential will be our voices.

Members are also entitled to general SEIU benefits such as discounts and free college tuition for specific degree programs at an affiliated college for members and their family.

We encourage you to join today, and to invite fellow MT/E contacts in your networks to also join us in fighting for the respectful and just conditions that MT/Es deserve, and which also impacts quality of patient care.

Following is:
1) A direct fast link to the SEIU Affiliate MT Union page to sign up for membership. https://secure.everyaction.com/gA_KvmHJIU-4ZSgsy6xCfw2

2) Postscript copy of the invitation letter with more information and FAQs.

Thank you for standing with us!

The MT Coalition on behalf of the MT Union, an SEIU Affiliate
Reply Admin
7:56 PM on August 20, 2018 
P.S.

"At the MT Union Organizing Committee, we, like you, are medical transcriptionists concerned about the state of our industry and have decided to do something about it by forming the first-ever Medical Transcriptionist Union. Thank you for taking the time to complete our online survey!

We know that the problems in the medical transcription industry have been happening for a long time and continue to get worse the longer that the voices of MTs are left out of the process.

This is why we have decided to join together with fellow MTs from across the country to form the first ever Medical Transcriptionist Union with SEIU! This is a new effort, differing from a traditional union organization. Because our work is so different than traditional healthcare workers and we are spread out across the country and in different companies, our goal is to organize the entire MT industry rather than a contract at a single employer. By coming together to use our collective power, our goal is to build a member-led, powerful, independent voice for MTs that will bring about visibility and positive changes for our profession. It will take hundreds and thousands of MTs working together to hold elected officials and corporations accountable.

We invite you to join us as a one of the founding members of the MT Union so we can make a difference for our families and all the patients that rely on the quality work we do. You can sign up to be a member here for just $5.00 per month, far less than traditional union dues.

As a member of the MT Union, you are eligible for all of the member benefits of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), including discounts and free college tuition which you can learn about here: www.seiumb.org

Even more important, as a MT Union Member, you will receive updates about our work, have the chance to share your story and participate in collective actions to fight for the changes we all deserve!

At the end of this email is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you have any questions, feel free to ask our Organizer with SEIU, Brandon Nessen, who can be reached at Brandon.Nessen@seiuhcmn.org . You can visit the local union website at www.seiuhcmn.org


We look forward to working with you!


Sincerely,


The MT Union Organizing Committee


FAQs
Q. I?m not sure if change is really possible.
A. We?re going up against very rich and powerful people that have been lowering our pay and standards over the years. It?s not going to be easy, but if we can get enough MTs in enough places willing to speak out, share stories and take action, we can make our profession more visible and more respected. We can expose the corporate greed that not only takes advantage of us as MTs but also puts our patients? health at risk. If we do nothing, what do you think will change?


Q. What do I get for being a member? Is there going to be a Union contract?
A. As a member, you will be eligible for SEIU member benefits offered through www.seiumb.org but the main reason MTs are coming together as members is to have a chance to fight for the changes we deserve like fair pay, benefits and working conditions. Because our work is so different than traditional healthcare workers and we are spread out across the country and in different companies, we will likely be organizing the entire industry rather than a contract at a single employer.


Q. I don?t think I have time to get really involved in something new.
A. That?s understandable. The good thing about organizing ourselves as a group is that not everyone has to take on the same roles and for many MTs, simply joining as a member is a powerful way to support our effort and stay updated, can we count on you to take this first step with us?


Q. I need more information and want to do more research.
A. We get it. This is a new project and it?s normal to have questions about it. But the truth is, we as MTs and members will decide how to shape our new organization, decide how it works and what we want to focus on. What would you like to the MT Union do? Are you willing to be part of it and make that happens?


Q. I?m concerned I will be retaliated against by my employer if I join a union.
A. Fear of retaliation is a common concern of people when forming a union. Here are a few responses to this: 1) your membership status is not public, so your employer will never know you are a member unless you decide to show your support publicly, 2) when we do take public actions it will be once we have formed a large group of MTs so there is power and safety in numbers (they can?t fire everyone), 3) it is illegal under federal law for an employer to retaliate in any way against workers for being engaged in Union activity, and 4) what is the alternative? If we don?t do something and start to get organized, things will only get worse in our industry."