International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

12-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)

Department

International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Ramon Borges-Mendez

Second Reader

Kathryn Madden

Abstract

This paper analyzes women in health care unions by specifically examining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a case study. Moreover, this paper asks: what motivates these health care workers; is it primarily patient care, or are there other significant issues? How do workers think about their product of care, and how does this affect unionism? And how is gender connected to these issues? After interviewing six health care workers in SEIU, this paper found that the motivation of health care workers is partially motivated by patient issues, but that this occurs in a negative sense. Union organizational limitations cause health care workers that are focused on their patients to become disillusioned with the union, despite helping patients being a motivator for the work itself. This paper also concludes that a large motivating factor is positive associations formed with unions at an early age, and the affect this has had on broader socio-political values. This paper concludes that there are necessary changes needed in union organizations such as SEIU. Nevertheless, unions remain vital for women, health care workers and workers more generally, even when unions perpetuate glaring imperfections

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