22 September 2020

A peer reviewed study has found a link between unionisation and lower coronavirus death rates in aged care: “[W]e used cross-sectional regression analysis to examine the association between the presence of health care worker unions and COVID-19 mortality rates in 355 nursing homes in New York State. Health care worker unions were associated with a 1.29 percentage point mortality reduction, which represents a 30% relative decrease in the COVID-19 mortality rate compared to facilities without health care worker unions. Unions were also associated with greater access to PPE, one mechanism that may link unions to lower COVID-19 mortality rates.” The study’s coauthors said the results “reflect what experts already knew to be true in normal times; that when health care workers have better pay and more control over the conditions of their workplaces, patient outcomes are better”, and “The benefits of labor unions were not just for health care workers or even just for nursing home residents… they’re for everyone. The fact that unions were associated with lower COVID-19 infection and death rates in the epicenter of the pandemic … really speaks to the broader societal benefits of labor unions.”