A new study from Health Affairs found that nursing homes with union workers have lower COVID-19 resident mortality rates when compared to non-union facilities. “Labor unions may play an important role in improving workplace safety, with potential benefits for both nursing home workers and residents,” concluded the authors.
The study examined publicly available data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on resident COVID-19 mortality rates, as well as proprietary data from SEIU on whether a labor union represented any workers in a given nursing home in all U.S. states except Alaska and Hawaii.
Data show that union facilities were associated with 10.8 percent lower resident COVID-19 mortality rates, as well as 6.8 percent lower worker COVID-19 infection rates. Substantive results were similar, although sometimes smaller and less precisely estimated, in sensitivity analyses.
“Beyond nursing homes, our results are consistent with recent studies that find that labor unions were associated with better infection control policies and COVID-19 outcomes for essential workers in education and retail," the authors concluded further.