Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Unions are healthy

They are pointed attacks, filling billboards and leaflets passed out on Boston’s busiest streets by idealistic volunteers. Their allegations ‘-‘- greed, oppression and abuse of power ‘-‘- could easily apply to any of the politicians battling to win this year’s general election.’
Instead, the new posters and advertisements are calling the public’s attention to one of Boston’s biggest health care facilities ‘-‘- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The allegation suggests the chief executive officer of the hospital is preventing his staff from unionizing, a serious charge if true. Nurses, doctors and, most of all, patients will benefit from a more powerful staff at the hospital. But as the campaign urging Bostonians to keep an ‘Eye on BI’ spreads through the hub, an equally skeptical gaze must land on the union leveling these attacks.
The United Healthcare Workers East’s attacks could be more specific and show’ how exactly management at the hospital is preventing its workers from exercising their right to unionize. Union Vice President Veronica Turner-Biggs said members have ‘heard consistently that there is a lack of dignity and respect for workers,’ but not named names. The burden of proof for this misconduct falls on the accusers, and UHWE has hardly been up to task.
Regardless of their methods, the members of UHWE make a compelling point. Workers at Beth Israel should unionize, with the higher wages and better working conditions it would bring. Patients would be better served by a medical staff that gets the hours and wages it desires, and the added costs to the hospital would only be passed onto large insurers, not the patients themselves.’
Last month, a state board cited Beth Israel for allowing some of its medical residents to work longer hours than was safe. If even some of the staff of the hospital were allowed to bargain collectively, doctors would be less likely to work so much overtime because the hospital would be forced to hire more help. This prevents patients from facing treatment from overworked practitioners who may be prone to mistakes.
These are serious claims that Beth Israel should address more directly. Whether in the realm of politics or health care ‘-‘- and this situation combines a bit of both ‘-‘-‘ the target of a smear campaign must always fight back with specific rebuttals backed up by the facts, otherwise the public will simply interpret silence as an admission of guilt and start to believe all those billboards and ad spots.
But the real question should be asked of the most silent party in this whole affair ‘-‘-‘ the hospital workers themselves. Union or no union, they need to speak up and answer the claims both warring special interest groups are making about their well being.

Website | More Articles

This is an account occasionally used by the Daily Free Press editors to post archived posts from previous iterations of the site or otherwise for special circumstance publications. See authorship info on the byline at the top of the page.

One Comment

  1. Please read this and especially the comments posted by our employees