You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

What do Health Care Unions do?: A Response to Manthous

Ash, Michael PhD*; Seago, Jean Ann RN, PhD, FAAN; Spetz, Joanne PhD

Medical Care:
doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000124

In response to Manthous, we discuss the role of unions in health care. The ethical quandary that Manthous perceives in health care worker unions is overstated because patient and worker interests are frequently aligned. The search for a “selfless” union overlooks the importance of adequate compensation for providing excellent care. The collective actions employed by health care workers’ unions need not include strikes or slowdowns and can be consistent with patient safety and well-being.

Author Information

*Department of Economics and Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

School of Nursing

Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco, CA

Supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under Grant R01 HS014207.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Michael Ash, PhD, Department of Economics and Center for Public Policy and Administration, 200 Hicks Way, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.