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To the Union person who got that thread

Posted By: going last week - any news? - sm on 2008-12-29
In Reply to:

How are things going with that?  Any new developments?  How many people have shown interest to date?  Any concerete plans set in motion yet?  I think it's an idea that's time has come, so hope to keep on hearing more about it.


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OP = original poster. The person who started the thread. nm
But if no union shop, no union representation
You can have a trade group represented by a union, as your husband is, but if he doesn't work in a union shop (company), the union can't represent him at his place of employment. Look at nurses, for example - there is a union for nurses, but the vast majority of nurses are not union members, because their places of employment are not unionized. So it's irrelevant to the majority of nurses that there is a union to represent them.
I think it is one person. I had a few print outs from a few weeks ago and this person even capital
I have had a positive one. I have been with Keystrokes for 3 months and am very happy.

I printed them to show my manager but she told me that there are few bitter people out there and no one can do anything about them. My manager said that everyone can tell that it is the same few over and over again, for Keystrokes and a few other companies as well. Time to move on Ms. Anon. I cannot think why a company would go through the trouble of getting IDs and getting you installed just to ignore you after that. Doesn't make sense, does it? Are you sure that't the whole truth? You keep saying truth but it sounds fishy.
Exactly what I'm talking about RUDE! You are a very unhappy person. A happy person does not
respond in such a way!  This is the reason SS has such a bad name.
I am not a hateful person but that person screamed at me for 45 minutes. sm
She said all transcriptionists are idiots.
we CAN get a union
It takes hard work and yes, they will launch an all-out war against us *malcontents who probably are louse MTs anyway* but it has been done before against greater odds and CAN BE DONE AGAIN. It just takes a few people of like minds and determination.
Union for MTs
MTs may join the National Writers Union. This union could help us if more MTs would join. It is a good deal for ICs because one can get health insurance through it. http://www.nwu.org/

MT Union
MTs may join the National Writers Union http://www.nwu.org/nwu/.  I am a member and have spoken to them about MT.  They say they would very much like to help us, but very few MTs are members.  Membership has another benefit as well.  I have picked up various typing/editing jobs unrelated to MT from time to time.  They also offer medical benefits. 
I would support it.
i am in a union..sm
our union ratifies our contract every 3 yrs.
Is there a court reporter's union? I think we might fit better there. One thing is obvious. We would need a central site to air our grievances and organize. I'm not sure if this forum is willing to allow that. This is something we should have been discussing years ago.
What is the name of your union?
I'm sure we would all like to know.
Where's the union?
I feel the same as anyone on the India thing, as I have QA'd their reports for a certain company and it was horrendously bad.

My question though is... everyone keeps complaining, but I have yet to see anyone form a union, to which I and I am sure many many others would join.

Where's the action behind the anger and the talk?

I worked in a hospital where the transcriptionists were unionized, for some reason we were part of the United Steel Workers union (don't aske me what that has to do with healthcare).  It included all non-clinical employees of the hospital. 

I am in a union...sm
At a local hospital. Our Union ratifies our contract every 3 years. In fact, it renews again this month.
JustMe. Because this is an anonymous board, many of us MTs don't know if we are chatting with MTSO sup or managers.

If you can get ONE union rep with a legitimate web page, I think we'd all being willing to go their and sign up with a disposable email address.

At least, that is a start to us coming togeter. We can have state leaders and go from their with one union rep.

I look forward to hearing from you.
I'm in a union...sm
And we have the same problem of losing our positions to outsourcing--maybe not as quickly, but we are the last hospital in my state who have in-house remote employees who work at home. We slipped through last year, but it's a matter of time before they cut us.

If there was a way to do it, I would.  I am not a super hard nosed union type, but I know what the teacher's union here in our town has done for our teachers.  Not only that, but I am also one of those who are disabled and need to work from home.  If a union would protect that option as well as help promote MT as a solid work at home solution to many who can do this type of work from home instead of drawing disability, well, I am all for that.


RE: Union
I've seen the good and the bad a union can do. If we were to unionize, do you not think that we would be risking putting ourselves out of jobs? Some MTSOs cannot afford to pay 10 cpl. I know that most can, Medquist and the other biggies. But what about the smaller ones that don't have a ton of accounts? Some of us have jobs with them and are quite happy because while we're not making 10 cpl, we do have plenty of work, our boss is not over hiring and we are treated decently. If you start to force the companies to pay more, we're going to be out of work and back to either working in-house or somewhere else out of our field of expertise. I've also seen the unions 'fight' for the worker, meaning .25 cents more a pay period, while at the same time the insurance premiums per paycheck went up just enough to eat that raise, while giving less coverage. And while I may not be talking about unions for MTs, really it does not matter what industry you're talking about, the unions are fighting for themselves. It'd be great to be paid what we deserve. I personally know an MTSO that could pay more but chooses not to. She'd rather hire MTs at a disgraceful rate and give 1/4 cent raises when she remembers. Those MTSOs do need to stop screwing with us. In the same vein though, MTSOs like that don't keep quality MTs. They lose them to companies that are fair, or at least try to be. I really don't see anything changing for us. We're not really considered at all in the grand scheme of things except when the reports are late or wrong. Merry Christmas.
Not a union fan.

You have an interesting viewpoint, Union Now.  At first I skimmed your post because I am not interested in a union and I tend to avoid the posts that proclaim that's what we need to do.  Then I went and re-read it and my second reaction (first being boredom and amusement at a couple of typos) was could you be any more condescending? 

I suppose you would consider me one of the GRATEFUL faction.   I am grateful that I have steady income and it's an income that can be as big or as little as I choose to make it.  Maybe that makes me naive in your eyes.  I lost a very well paying job of 4 1/2 years duration last year with about 2 months' notice.   My then-employer was a man who I had known for 30 years.  I had watched his kids for him when they were little.  This man used the phrase I'm throwing you all under rthe bus when he informed us that he was selling the agency and we may or may not be hired by the new administration.   I was at the mercy of a 57-year-old man having a mid-life crisis.  Now I make a decent wage that allows me to pay my mortgage and my bills and I have a very nice roof over my head.  And I know I can always find a job somewhere doing this kind of work.

My rambling, probably boring point is that I am indeed grateful to have employment and to have a steady income.   Is Voice Recognition the way of the future?  Very probably.  Is it going to put us out of work?  I don't think so.  Not unless they make those programs a whole lot better and not unless they magically make doctors and PAs slow down and enunciate.   We all know THAT ain't gonna happen.  

Why does it seem that so many people are entrenched in only one way of doing things?  Why does it seem that the refrain that I hear a lot is but this is the way we've always done it?  Just because that's the way something has always been done doesn't mean that it's the best way or the only way.

Personally, I think we sell ourselves short if we stay entrenched in the past and refuse to learn new technology and new technique.  We only end up hurting ourselves that way.  I don't think a union will do anything except force even more off shoring even faster.  You think hospitals are going to go union and pay higher union wages and benefits when they have options in India and the Phillipines?  Why do you think so much other American manufacturing and industry has gone overseas?   Unions, my friend.  Unions.   They served their part in the past.  They served a very good part in the past.  I firmly believe their time has come and gone, though.  The fact that information can be sent around the world in nanoseconds completely changes the game.

All a union would accomplish (in my admittedly limited viewpoint) is to ensure that bad MT's stay employed and good MT's don't get as far as they could on their own.  In my mind unions tend to pander to the lowest common denominator.   If you're good at what you do, I don't think you'll have any problems. 

So yes, for those of you who have gotten this far and whose eyes haven't crossed yet, I am grateful to have a job.  I actually have 2 jobs and I'm grateful for them both.  I know I can pay my mortgage and keep the lights on and buy cat food.  That last part is important - the little varmints outnumber me.  I don't plan on rocking any of my financial boats in the near future with the global economy tanking like it is.  If we knock over our boat, there are 100 other people here in the US and abroad who are happy to take over from us.

Don't be so sure. As for Detroit, they were making more money than the collective bunch of us would see in 100 lifetimes. It was not the unions, but the big shots who controlled the $$$$. If it wasn't for unions, my dear, we would be working 12 hours a day 7 days a week with no BENEFITS. You forget what our forefathers fought for, but there are many of us who do not. I say that those of us who are interested, when we find a representative union, such as SEIU, should all agree to meet in D.C. or better yet where ever our headquarters is now.

We will at least give it a try. Do we really have anything else to lose? Count me in.
We are not talking the same sort of things that happened with the steel mills, etc., we are talking about being represented and treated fairly. Unless we do something, we won't be able to keep typing for the Q as the electric bill might not get paid, no electric, no type. There is not a one of us who are thinking in terms of driving cadillacs and going to Hawaii 3 or 4 times a year;no it is to make a decent wage, keep the decent wage, and not be subject to random wage cuts at the mere discretion of the company. Representation. Maybe there are some bad things along with the good, but if we keep going the way we are, well then.....you fill in the blanks. I was a union steward for 22 years. It is not easy to fight for what is right. It is not easy to go against those who are paying the meager wages, but sometimes the time comes to pull up the bootstraps and take care of us.
Ok, I will come back on this board in 1 year from now and I want to hear what you have to say then, after you have had your fill of the changes, the crap, the lousy money, etc. NObody is happy with the Q as it is. If you are, then there is something wrong with you. Oh, you are probably one who would be against unionizing for representation, bitch and moan about it, but accept whatever contract the members accepted.
And those of us who do not want a union?

If this movement to start an MT union goes forward and actually happens, then what happens to those of us who have seen the negative side of unions and decline to participate?  Are we then treated like scabs, bullied and harrassed, unable to find work because we decide to not joint a club that takes our money and gives nothing in return?  Are we going to be ostracized?  What happens when this union organizes and immediately goes on strike because X company will not pay them X per line, plus hourly plus benefits? 

Like someone posted below, what happens to those of us who are ICs?  I am not able to work a set shift for various personal reasons, and so where would that leave me?  I have to have IC status in order to work. 

Also, what happens when all the US based companies decide to take ALL their business overseas because of the unionization of their workforce? 

I agree there needs to be a standard for the industry other than the AHDI or whatever they are calling themselves these days, but a union is only going to benefit a few.  What I have personally experienced with a union is that it drives the cost of operation for a company through the roof, and companies are in business to make money, not support people.  Also, the good, hard workers (for the most part) carry a lazy, inefficient work pool who refuse to do hard jobs because they are union and you can't fire a union worker. 

Basically, unions do not work for the honest folks who work their tails off to make a living.  They do work for the ones who think they deserve ____(fill in whatever you would like) because they are special because they belong to a union. 

Just saying my piece, and thank you for letting me vent. 


Yes, of course I do. I'm pro-union.
does have its benes. My union dues are only $40/m. I get paid $23/h plus incentive. I can take a total of 12 WEEKS per year of PTO. Full medical benes.
if this is about union -
and that survey in your post has rates anything near where it is headed - I'll do better without a union.

leave it alone is my vote. MTSOs charge what they can get by proposal and we are at a set rate lower than anything in my tenure?

Here's one - how about just setting a percentage of what the MTSO charges - whatever that may be? That just might get the MTSOs back to COMPETING FOR US AGAIN.

Here's another - stop the head butting and belly bucking and make us all SALARY. Lose nothing per overhire, low workflow, routing favorites, and cherry pickers etc., etc., etc.

sorry - venting
Name that union.
I think we need a union - nm
Re: Union

Some sort of organization would work.  If MTs could ban together and demand FAIR wages, the companies would have to comply.  They wouldn't have a choice and it wouldn't hurt them to do so.

In many companies, the main bottleneck in increasing wages is not the economy (especially in the medical field), but top management and the recruiters. Usually they are lacking any background in transcription or working in a production based environment.  These armchair decision makers usually do not understand and appreciate the potential of and opportunities in raising productivity through higher wages; they fail to see it as the ultimate weapon in increasing competitiveness.  And subcontractors?  Well, these companies will not last very long.

What many of these low paying companies fail to consider is that any wage hike can be more than offset by increasing productivity.  Offering higher wages should be taken positively as a challenge to improve efficiency and keep clients and MTs happy, rather than negatively.  The cost they are paying for unhappy employees that don't produce and have a lack in skill is FAR greater than a secure able employee being productive.   They can't keep their present employees happy, so they post over and over on the job boards trying to replace them.  Yes, someone will take the lower wage, but just as I said about companies not lasting long, neither will the employee accepting peanuts.

So, what should the name of our organization be?  

then demand a union instead
otherwise shut up.
There is a Union for MTs to join
MTs have been able to join the National Writers Union http://www.nwu.org/nwu/  for several years, though very few have done so.  Perhaps if more of us joined we might get somewhere.  Worth a try anyhow, don't you think?  We certainly don't have much more to lose.
Agree with Union
I agree, I think that there should be a union.
are everwhere -

Unions can/do have problems, but that doesn't mean they aren't very effective as well.

We don't have many weapons against the CORPORATION who(m) Congress has given IMMENSE power and UNaccountability to - we should NEVER let them take away the right to unionize - unless we are actually ready for virtual slavery.
I don't think many would know how to go about forming a union. SM
I myself wouldn't know the first thing about where to begin. I read almost all of the posts and there are some really intelligent people out there. It would be my hope that someone with all that intelligence and savy would know what to do and where to begin and just maybe start the ball rolling.

With all the thousands of MTs, it seems like someone out there could do something.
this is exactly why a union will not work...
you have women from one extreme to another, neither interested in helping the other. some of these posts are horrifying at how insensitive those who have are towards those who do not. this is why we do not progress in my opinion. there are always the sadistic types of personalities who think in 1 narrow mindset and have no compassion toward another human being who does not function the way they do

The response was overwhelming - 300+ very supportive emails (and still counting)from hopeful MTs who want to assume an active role in securing their future. 

You will be receiving a newsletter, information and questionairres by which you will express your opinion anonymously, in essence voting to agree on boundaries and terms.

We are realistic, and do not expect outrageously high wages, but we do expect to be treated with respect and compensated for our skills and dedication.

There will be no union dues as we get this thing off the ground in as many states as possible.  All  of our staff members are MTs, and they have volunteered their time to promote this initiative to stop the extinction of our trade.

Thank you for your quick and unexpectly great response ! 

We are stronger together.

NOTE:  For the naysayers who are trying to compare our plight to that of the auto workers', there is no comparison.  Apples and oranges.  Auto companies are directly affected by stock market plunges, oil prices, and the fact overproduction caused hundreds of thousands of gas-guzzling autos, trucks and vans that sit parked in the dealer lots throughout the US, gathering dust or snow.  Unions cannot control the world economy; they an only serve as the voice for a group of workers. 

Look what a union did for Detroit.
There is no union yet and there never will be. 
An MT Union is for the weak...
MT who cannot make it on their own.  They need to join a group and pay dues to some corrupt union leader who has probably never touched a keyboard in his life all because they need the protection of a group.  Why?  If you are not satisfied with the way you are being treated now, why not go out and work your tail off to find your own accounts.  Then you can hire your own employees and treat them how you please, pay them what you want, give them really nice Christmas gifts every year, lots of paid days off, etc.  I know you think these big companies abuse MTs, but I have news for you...until you go out and do the work to build up a company the way some have, you have no right to complain.  The *real* problem with this industry is that so many believe someone owes them something.  Nobody owes us anything! 
While I'm indifferent about a union ...
... I take pretty big issues at some of your points.

First of all, it seems to be a catch-all idea that you can tell someone to start their own company or quit bitching about the way things are. And that's just not right.

Basically, what you're saying is that people don't deserve decent treatment if they're employees - only if they're willing to start their own company and treat their employees a certain way.

It's completely devaluing the input and contribution of workers and it's a quick way to try to make a person feel like they're not worth fair treatment as they are. It's unproductive and tired.

Secondly, while I don't make slave wages (or even close to), I do (we all) have to make some pretty huge concessions to do what we do.

Not many other professions in the United States asks you to:
1. Sit for hours while waiting for work, and being unpaid for it.
2. Flex hours on a whim to bend to their needed schedules, all while being unpaid for the hours that may be missed.
3. Carry out extra work (such as calculating line counts, tallying time sheets, paperwork, company emails) and being completely unpaid for that, as well.
4. Flatly refusing to give raises or to pay relative to experience.

I'm sure there are more things out there, but I'm too tired to think of the negatives right now.

I was just talking to my mother the other night about how, when I started in MT 12 years ago, the average company paid 7 to 8 cents per line. Two years into my career, I found an IC position that paid 13 cpl.

The majority of companies still start people (regardless of experience) at 7 to 8 cpl. And if I ever found an IC job that paid 13 cpl at this point, I'd weep with joy. This is certainly not in keeping with inflation, and I can see how some of the slower typists could really struggle.

My opinion on whether or not we need a union is pretty noncomittal. I haven't really thought about it.

But our profession DOES need regulations, so that we can perhaps FINALLY get the respect that the majority of us deserve. This means that we, as transcriptionists, have to be on the ball. And it means the MT companies will have to start recognizing the importance of transcriptionists to their livelihood. It will mean respect on both ends, and it won't be a lot of fun, but it will change this profession for the better - and most of it in the name of patient care.

With so many different jobs switching to a work at home type situation, it's time for us ALL to cast off the guilt we have that keeps us justifying our treatment with well, at least I get to work at home ...

And I rambled. I'm sorry. I should stop typing now, especially since these snowflakes are slowing my computer down from a typical 130 wpm to what feels like 7. Heh.

All a union is going to do is force more
work to go offshore.   I work for a company that keeps 100% of the work in the U.S., pay better than 99% of the companies out there, pays for downtime, has great benefits and they pay for most of them 100% - all without a union. 
A union cannot guarantee you a job.
I never though a Union could work anyway
The only thing we can really do is not accept job offers that are less than optimal; however, some will take it because they need the loot!  So, it will never end, in my opinion, and the rates keep getting lower and lower and lower....  sad!
What does she pay in union dues? nm
Some union contracts have more pay for certification. sm
At a facility I worked at for about 11 years, we had that benefit - $1.00 an hour for certification. You would have to find a unionized hospital and see how their contract reads.
It's an ASSOCIATION, people. Not a union.
It's not so. There is no union for MTs.

They have broadened their scope, true. They have finally changed their name to fit what they really are focused on -- healthcare documentation.

MTs are a vital part of that process.

However, the AAMT or AIHD or whatever is NOT your union. Stop groaning over these things.

Instead of a union - start your own business
Start your own MTSO, pay your MT's what you think that they should be paid, plus QA, plus equipment, plus sales reps, plus insurance and benefits to the employees and then see what you can charge your accounts. 
It's why we need a union. Our voices are never heard,
Ive been wondering for years why we don't have a union.
Seems to me we need one. Other professionals have them. Why should we not be considered professionals? We are still classified as clerical/entry level positions pretty much everywhere. Doesn't seem right.
For Scribbles and his/her union friends

If you really want to know how to form a union, check out the link below for the AFL/CIO.  You'll need to pick a union with which to affiliate.  They have a list with contacts.  They also have state/local federations of labor with contacts.  You'll also need a professional union organizer to help you.  There's a form you can fill out to get in touch with one.    

SEIU split from the AFL/CIO and is a healthcare union.  Find a web page for a local in your area, and they can give you the same information as above. 

These are the people who can really answer your questions and help you.  I'm betting, though, that you just want stay on these boards to stir the pot and whine. 

Union - in a perfect world
This sounds like a great idea, but MTs are by nature antisocial creatures.  Hey, before you knock me over the head on this, just take a deep breath and read further!!   We're paid to type, not socialize, and we're all stretched to the limit managing the rest of our commitments.  Most of us work in a secluded environment and our only interaction with others in our field are on boards such as this one.  It would require a commitment of time, patience, and face-to-face interaction that many of us don't want to deal with and many more of us don't have the luxury of taking on.  I've toyed with the idea many times of a union, but bringing it up at AAMT meetings got me blank looks, but this was probably long before many people were directly impacted by offshoring.  Maybe you're right - in the current economic and political climate, this might be the exact time to make some noise again.  But we'll have to address the issues above to get the thing off the ground.