In the midst of early fall labor confrontations, one can’t help but draw parallels between the United Auto Workers strike and the potential for similar disruption in the healthcare industry. Experts suggest that healthcare executives should pay attention to the lessons learned from the auto worker strike to minimize the likelihood of such labor unrest in their own industry.
A key factor in these labor confrontations is the lack of communication and transparency. Poor transparency, specifically regarding executive compensation, has been identified as a definite contributor to labor disputes. The executive compensation disconnect, where non-executive workers see their pay not linked to the company’s performance while executives enjoy large compensation packages, breeds a sense of dissatisfaction and injustice among employees.
In healthcare, the situation is not directly comparable to the auto industry due to the presence of nonprofits. However, healthcare workers, like auto workers, desire job security and higher pay. They often perceive that company executives prioritize corporate profit over their interests. This perception further adds to the rift between employees and management.
Employees are becoming increasingly vocal about what they are willing to tolerate and are seeking a seat at the table. They value inclusion and proper communication more than just higher wages. Healthcare executives should pay attention to these shifting dynamics and give heed to the priorities and tradeoffs that employees are willing or unwilling to make.
As tensions rise among various healthcare workers, such as those at Kaiser Permanente, it is crucial for healthcare executives to take note of the UAW strike and consider new approaches to address labor issues. The key is to foster communication, transparency, and a sense of trustworthiness within the organization.
In summary, the lessons from the auto worker strike can provide valuable insights for healthcare executives. By prioritizing communication and transparency, healthcare organizations can work towards avoiding labor disruptions and fostering a more harmonious relationship with their employees.
– The Keckley Report