Before I anser your question, this paragraph.
I do not think the term non profits is accurate in what you describe...its is Not for Profit that is the term that fits here. All hospitals work for profit, in order to remain viable. As you no doubt know from your research, the not for profit hospitals are constrained by a non distributive constraint, meaning profits may not be distributed to owners in the form of annual dividends or other earnings-conditioned payments, unlike their for profit counterparts. But the management styles and business practices of both for profit and not for profit hospitals does not vary with any truly perceptible degree, and the educational background of the CFOs/CEOs/Managerial tier is in no way different. While once not for profits were "volunteer" hospitals depending on philanthropy, this is long in the past. The seperation of for profit and not for profit hospitals is solely dependant on the non distributive restraint. Despite that restraint, in the 80s and 90s through to the new millenium, little managerial difference is experienced between the two entities in general and certainly in regards to the nursing labor pool upon which ALL hospitals depend and without which any hospital absolutely can not function. Where " once the voluntary hospital had been small, basic, and locally controlled, the not-for-profit of the 1980s was large and complex....By the 1990s, the not for profits were more likely to be part of a large corporate system, often with distant ownership or control and strong contractual ties to managed care or other (sometimes for-profit) insurers." See Health Policy Analysis Program Webiste [HPAP]. Community Benefits and Not For Profit Health Care, Policy Issues and Perspectives: November 1995. The Catholic Health Association. Madden, Katz et al
Now in answer.
The "patient abandonment" argument has been manipulated and over manipulated throughout the history of nurse primary employment in hospitals occuring since the 1930s stock market crash, both with detriment to the nurse providing the labor required of the hospitals dependant on her and the hospital itself, which inevitably faces an inconsistent labour resource pool as a result of lack of vision in regards to their longstanding problem in assuring consistent labor pool. Before the 1930s, nurses were primarily employed outside the hospital arena. Since the nursing shortage has existed since the post WW II era, with periods of spikes and inadequate market adjustment calming a crisis, but laying groundwork for the next inevitable crisis shortage [of which our current Crisis Nursing Shortage is merely a part], one can argue that ALL forms of [constantly recycled and never insightful] attempts to address the shortage have been inadequate, and shortsighted, and, in fact, evidence of conscientious mismanagement in general.
Unionization is not sought for the right to STRIKE [the cruxt of the 'patient abandonment' manipulation]. Unionization is sought for the right to VOICE. NO strike includes patient abandonment. There are too many failsafes and safe gaurds. Patients are moved out, surgeries cancelled, intake diminished, and ER visits curtailed through many months preceeding the actual strike which by law must be announced as "intent to strike" far in advance of a strikes occurence. What hospitals experience, and the real stregnth of the union, is diminished profit as a result of potential temporary loss of labor resource pool, causing them to pay attention, listen better than usual, and address market demand in addition.
Unionization is a right, a hard gained right, and to mess with that right is well, shortsighted and certainly adversarial. One might even be tempted to call it unamerican. No nursing strikes occurs spuriously; the groundwork for strike strongly protects all patients currently or during the period of percieved strike, reliant on the hospital. It can be easily argued that management is responsible for creating an environment unable to assure its labor resource pool and that in abbrogation of their weighty responsibility they create the episodes of patient abandonment possibility, the responsibility for which they then foist on the labour pool upon which they are dependant, while ignoring their own role in its formation.
My answer for your "no it should NOT be illegal" [beyond the implications of what it means to suppress this current right]:
According to all polls, whether conducted by the American Nurses Association or closely aligned groups, or the American Hospital Association and any closely alligned Management Lobbying arms, nurses complain PRIMARILY of two things. The first is easily born out in our free market economy. They feel they are underpaid. Borne out by free market economy reality, The wage/benefit ratio for work expected/performed is not adequate to meet market imperative. The second reason, though, is masked in many terms, but is one best described as "lack of voice" [you can refer to my ever expanding and as yet incomplete webpages at http://www.cynthiaswope.com/ABedsideRNPerspective/TOC.html if you wish].
Nurses throughout the country experience a lack of voice...and Nurses UNIONIZE as a result. Lack of voice involves both how the employer preceives and pays the nurse and his/ her work, AND how the general hospital hegemony disregards or ignores the concerns of nurses and nursing.
If you make the argument that nurse unionization SHOULD be illegal, be prepared to answer to the many bedside nurses NOT present in your managerial class, why it is there is no voice for the nurse in hospital management. Look at hospital boards of directors, and consider that there is no representation there for the 70%+ on hands nurses on which that hospital is dependent. While there is always a practising Medical staff member on the board, there is NEVER a practising bedside RN on the board. Any hospital board boasting an RN has one who is long aligned to management, and far removed from the bedside and the very population which you currently address.
In short, to suppress the right to unionize will NOT address the lack of nursing voice, it will be perceived as, and in fact will, diminish the ONLY vehicle currently present to express bedside nursing voice, thus contributing to the shortage, while also proving the managers inept and bullying. It will not encourage new members to the profession, neither will it assure the continuity of the nurses currently employed. It will be the bite your nose to spite your face movement which could be the death of the non profits, for it leaves the for profits competitor the only entity with that vehicle currently the only form of adequate nursing voice.
Rather than suppress the right to voice, which is how nurses percieve the choice of unionization when that difficult choice is made, your class should discuss how it is you will create voice, and thus not have to argue for or against unions at all.