Re: unions and higher educational requirements

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From:"Barry Rittman" <>
Date:Tue, 04 May 1999 09:20:03 -0500
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Barry Rittman wrote:

> Andrew,
>                     I am ambivalent about your comments.
> I was never much in favor of unions until an experience I had in
> England (admittedly some 35 years ago). Up to that point the pay for
> histotechs was pitiful and the main reason for this is that we were
> "apprenticed" until we took our med lab tech exams. The union came to
> the medical center and the med lab techs and nurses voted to join.
> Four year later our salaries had increased to almost three times their
> original level. This was, I believe, in large part due to the union
> activities.
> When we first joined the union ,  a friend and I went to one of the
> first meetings. There were 5 individuals there , 3 union officials and
> us as new members. I think that this points to an underlying problem
> with unions that you mentioned (and with any group). You will get out
> of it what you put in. It is not sufficient to just pay the membership
> dues. It is necessary to become active in the group. Failure to do so
> results in some individuals making most of the decisions. Some
> individuals are far sighted  and some become apathetic or simply burnt
> out and make decisons based on convenience to them. This is not
> surprising if they receive little input.
> I believe that professions, including histotechnology, have undergone
> dramatic changes in the past 10-15 years. At one time working for a
> company was a two way arrangement with flexibility and understanding
> by both the employer and the employee. Unfortunately this is no longer
> true in many cases. We are seeing more part time workers (not
> necessarily with the appropriate benefits) and the attitude on the
> part of many employers of "what is the minimum training a an
> individual needs to do the job?".  This is because the bottom line is
> becoming increasingly important to companies and the desire to keep
> individuals with extensive experience is lessening.  The stress is on
> numbers rather than quality.  I feel that this has resulted in many
> histotechs asking  what their job security is and what is in the job
> for them.  For many employees we have passed from an era with a two
> way relationship between employer and employee to one where the
> employee has to protect their rights and jobs.
> I think that the only way to protect jobs and to improve slaraies and
> working conditions  is state certification or unionization.
> One small way in which the histotechs can start is to publicise the
> importance of their jobs to the public, who are, after all votes to
> politicians. Last year the Arizona Society of Histotechnology had the
> foresight to get the governor to declare a state day recognizing
> histotechnolgy. This year the Texas Society of Histotechnology had  a
> letter from the governor recognizing the importance of
> histotechnology. How many of us have asked the institute we work in to
> recognize histotechnology by publicising it in their brochures, TV
> notices etc?
> I feel that NSH had done some work in this area but could be much more
> active.
> I agree with you that improvement of the educational requirements is
> another,  desirable and inevitable step.

> Barry

>> I apologize for the length of this post, but I've followed the
>> recent
>> threads on unionizing and educational  requirements and feel
>> compelled to
>> comment on both.

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