Alternative Title

To what extent does union membership and ethical clinical social work practice align?

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Labor union members-Ethics, Social workers-Professional ethics, National Association of Social Workers. Code of ethics, Social service-Moral and ethical aspects, Labor, Labor unions, Union membership, Ethics, Ethical clinical social work practice, NASW Code of ethics, Social justice, Values, Advocacy, Mental health parity laws, Labor strikes


The purpose of this study was to examine the question: “to what extent does union membership and ethical clinical social work practice align?” by interviewing Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) working within unionized environments. The study focused on the experience of these clinicians within their current working environment and how being a union member allowed them to be able to provide ethical clinical social work practice to their clients/patients. The most compelling findings from this research were that the clinicians felt that union membership did align with providing ethical clinical social work practice to their populations within their agencies or organizations. There were limitations and concerns when it came to union participation in the form of a strike. Participants had mixed responses regarding the ethical considerations that come about as a result of a strike and how it could potentially impact their clients/patients negatively. Implications for social practice and policy highlight the need for further research in how the values of both labor unions and the field of clinical social work are closely aligned and in turn how can that help clinicians provide the most ethical care possible.




iii, 81 pages : color illustration. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-73)

Included in

Social Work Commons