Massage therapists have been asking about and talking about forming a union since I started my career in 1987. It is always just talk and little action.
The old forums on Massage and Bodywork show many attempts:
Unions – Tampa Bay
The problem is that most massage therapists are self employed so they would not be able to join a union and would have no need to except if the union were somehow able to negotiate contracts with health insurance companies. I did recently find out that there are unions for self-employed but don’t know much about them.
The closest thing I have ever seen to a union was the Massage Advocacy Project created by Working America. NW Labor Press has the story:
LMTs work as employees, as independent contractors, or for their own private practices, and do their work in spas, health clinics, chiropractors’ offices, or even homes. Most must cobble multiple gigs together to make ends meet, including jobs outside their profession. Weiser, for instance, moonlights as an Uber driver, though she’s been an LMT for five years.
In the past few years with the pandemic going on I had time to research unions more and there was a small group started in WA to look into how to form one but it did not go anywhere.
As far as I understand, the union would have to be created by each group of employees like a union for Massage Envy workers at a specific location or a Union for Massage Heights workers at a specific location. Since each franchise is independently owned and operated, each location would have to create a union. Just this week (09/03/2022) I heard rumor of a union starting at a franchise.
With so much talk and action lately by companies like Starbucks, Amazon and others, if anyone is going to unionize your massage place of work, you better do it now.
The Other sides to Unionizing
The current climate shows many big companies that have groups organizing like Starbucks and Amazon Warehouse Workers. The thing is that places like Starbucks off such great benefits like paying for college, being able to transfer to other locations and many things that make it worthwhile to create a union. In the massage profession, there are just so many other place to work and you can always start your own business too.
The thing about unions is that most massage employers would be really hurt by a union and there is a high potential that the business will go out of business.
Massage therapists have so many options that it may be better to just go find another job which is probably why no one follows through with unionizing. There are so many opportunities to go and start your own business.
If you want a union, start one now.