August 16, 2013
By Neal Tepel
Nonprofit as other businesses do not want to be unionized but often their employees do. While union organizing traditionally has been taking place at colleges, universities, and hospitals, much of the rest of the nonprofit sector has been given a pass. Its no secret that non-profits, small and large, have not welcomed the notion of unionization.
In the past, union organizing efforts at nonprofits smaller than universities and hospitals have been rare with the exception of certain labor organizations that specialize in organizing small shop non-profits as District Council 1707 AFSCME and several locals of SEIU and UAW. With the percentage of union members declining labor organizations must view non-profits, regardless of size, as potential targets. Unfortunately only a few unions are aggressively organizing smaller and middle size non-union operations.
Non-profits are expanding their role in providing public services throughout the USA. From small towns to large cities, municipalities are privatizing health, social, medical,administrative, education, and other governmental functions. Municipal governments utilize non-profits and private operations to not only save money but also weaken municipal worker unions. These non-profits and private companies often take advantage of workers paying wages much less than unionized municipal employees. Most workers in the non-profit sector do not receive health or retirement benefits as in public employment. Ironically contracting-out costs to cities and localities often do not save money.
It's time for unions to take a closer look at this rapidly growing sector that employs 15 million workers throughout the country.