Hospital unionization trends: Effects of the shift from state to federal jurisdiction in three states

D. S. Salkever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The extension of National Labor Relations Act coverage to voluntary (i.e., private non-profit) hospital workers on August 25, 1974 produced two major changes in the legal status of hospital unionization. It supplied legal protection for bargaining rights of hospital employees in 38 states and it supplanted state with federal jurisdiction in the 12 states where labor relations statutes previously covered voluntary hospitals. The combined impact of these and many other changes in the regulation of hospital labor relations which occurred with the shift to federal jurisdiction cannot be predicted with any confidence. Nor is it possible to link changes in specific regulations to changes in the level and nature of organizing activity. Nevertheless, a general picture of the overall effect of the jurisdictional shift can be developed. The current article attempts to do this by examining the experiences of three Northeastern states: Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Comparative data are presented on organizing activity during the period immediately preceding implementation of the 1974 amendments (Jan. 1, 1970-Aug. 24, 1974) and the immediate post-implementation period (Aug. 25, 1974-Dec. 31, 1977). Since only voluntary hospitals were affected by the jurisdictional shift and since the great majority of hospitals in these three states are voluntary, the comparative data will relate to these hospitals. A brief review of the development of hospital unions in the three states will serve as a background for the analysis. Then the data sources and procedures used in the study will be described. Finally, two sections present results and conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health and Human Resources Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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