Our mail room staff called today to say that over 500 letters had arrived from the SEIU to doctors in the hospital. One of the doctors was kind enough to share his with me, a letter from Mike Fadel, Executive Vice President. I'll spare you most of the details, but I will give you a small quote:
"BIDMC's CEO recently has complained that he has been singled out for public criticism on the 'question' of whether hospital workers should be promised that they will not be threatened by executives on the decision of unionizing. Be he has singled out his own institution by essentially promising to fight against BIDMC's own caregivers as if they were adversaries."
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that all of the above is not true. You know the high regard and respect I have for our employees, and you know of my personal efforts to improve the work environment at this hospital -- both for their sake and in support of providing better care to our patients. You can also see exactly what I have said about union organizing in general and the tactics of this union in particular.
The union's use of language is carefully chosen. It is meant, first, to isolate me by giving the impression that I am the only hospital CEO in Boston who feels this way. Not so. The others may not say so publicly, but they readily say so privately. (Who knows, perhaps they are wise to do it that way!)
Second, it is meant to try to create divisions between the doctors and the administration of the hospital. Not likely to be effective, either, in that the doctors see quite clearly what tactics are at play here.
A third subtle aspect of the package sent to the doctors is the inclusion of an op-ed from a Jewish newspaper that makes similar accusations and states that I am acting in a manner inconsistent with the "Jewish tradition of social justice." Months ago, I raised a hint as to this tactic as well. Perhaps the SEIU thinks that doctors at a hospital, one of whose antecedents was established by the Jewish community, would be receptive to this argument. Perhaps they don't understand that many people are likely to find it an offensive and mistaken use of religion in support of a political or organizational cause.
Meanwhile, I hear from friends on Beacon Hill that the union persists in complaining about this blog and what I say in it. What I say in it, as all of you know, is out there for the world to see and evaluate. If any of you catch me in a misleading comment or a mistake you can say so immediately and for the rest of the world to see.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant.