The National Veterinary Professionals Union recently filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to become an officially recognized union. The stated role of the NVPU is to collectively bargain and negotiate for better wages and benefits, safer working conditions, and more workplace support for employee veterinarians, veterinary technicians, unlicensed assistants, client-care coordinators, reception staff, and other unlicensed assistive personnel.
Unions are not unheard of in the veterinary medicine space. Some private clinics, universities, and research settings already have unions. For example, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a relationship with a local organization representing ASPCA veterinarians at its Animal Hospital and Adoption Center in New York City. In 2004, some employees at an emergency veterinary hospital in Pennsylvania voted to unionize for better working conditions. Oddly, though, after organizing, they went on strike and the union stopped representing the workers.
The creation of the NVPU is unique because it is specifically targeting all employees of every veterinary clinic. The NVPU appears to be headquartered in the state of Washington and plans to work its way east. For all Midwest and east coast vets, you should prepare now for the onslaught of union organizing activity heading your way.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.