Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let's hear it from the staff

To continue the theme from the posting directly above, here are those comments I received from staff members about the recent SEIU ad campaign after I sent an email explaining what it was all about:

Frankly, I thought the content of the ad, as well as the manner of delivery was despicable. I was disgusted that the union attempting to court the nursing staff was responsible for such a caustic advertisement.

The information you sent to us regarding the union, (how and why managers need to be open and positive, giving facts, when possible), was noteworthy.
I also work as a public school teacher, as an active association (union) member, and find this also related to our administrators and how we, as an association, interact with them so that our students can have the best education, like patient care, possible. Thanks and great remarks.

My employees are very disturbed by this particular campaign. It is hostile, relentless, and they are harassed at home, at work and on the street, not to mention embarrassed by the negativity.

Thank you so much for this E-mail. It made me feel better. I am disturbed that there is a bill right now before Congress, to remove the right to a 'secret ballot'. I'm proud to work at BIDeac.

I worked at several union hospitals (including the Brigham) until I came here to BIDMC as a traveler. I was concerned, initially, about it not being a union hospital because I didn't know the difference. Unions were all I knew. However, I am pleased to say that I've never been happier as nurse here at BIDMC. I spent a year as a traveler and now I have been here for another 5 years (the longest I've stayed at any hospital). I travel an hour and fifteen minutes to get here and it's worth it. I could have gone back to the Brigham for increased wages but chose to stay here because of the environment and the close relationships and openness we have with our physicians and nurse managers. It angers me that the SEIU is trying to ruin a good thing here and I pray they go away!

Thank you for all the important information. Your words helped me and hopefully will help others who do not want BIDMC to unionized, but to continue to provide high quality care that we are proud of.

I agree, it is a free country. All the more reason why I am in full support of your actions. I have worked at hospitals with 1199, it is unbearable and could make a provider want to leave the hospital out of frustration.

You have just reminded me once again why I am so incredibly proud to be part of this hospital...thank you!

I am a long term BIDMC employee. I became aware of "Eye on BI" by reading your blog. I looked at that web site and found it so foolish I could only laugh! I think it is a good thing that you are open about this issue and I thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Thank you! I understand more clearly and I feel MUCH better.

I was actually just thinking about writing you. We've seen the truck go by out the window of our staff room, and there was a flyer in there one day which listed the SEIU allegations against BI... and all it did was make me mad that they were attacking not just our labor policy, but the quality of our hospital as a whole. And you're absolutely right - it IS a personal attack. I'm very proud to be working for this hospital, and the short time I've spent here has only demonstrated how caring and committed we are to patient care. I personally believe that labor unions have a place and should be an option for employees to consider, and the unions have historically done great things for workers (like the 5 day work week) but the smear tactics SEIU is employing now just makes me view them poorly.

We often times discuss the union in our dept and I constantly remind my co-workers of the lack of honesty these folks employ. Why would I want someone dishonest representing me?

Thank you for your leadership. I love taking care of patients in our patient centered environment.

Thank you for confirming what I quickly identified as a union "smear" campaign. I love my job and am happy to work at a hospital that supports open dialogue among it's employees. I have the utmost confidence in the leadership of the hospital.

Thanks for this information. I always get very upset when people attack the Beth Israel. I feel that I work in the best hospital in the City of Boston.

Another thoughtful and articulate presentation. I have great faith in our management team. I am not anti union in any respect, but I do share your belief that the union is not advocating for a fair process.

I've heard some of the advertising, and it is insidiously vicious. I'm glad that you are addressing this directly.

Thanks for sending this. It's a privilege to work here.

Like others, I was handed Union propaganda. I read what they gave me. Their effort increased my respect for and loyalty to BIDMC.

I think the union's activities are despicable and I am proud that you and BIDMC have called them on their activities.

I heard one of these adds yesterday driving home from work and I was shocked until I heard who paid for the advertising. Then it all made sense. Sure hope others see through it too.

I was quite upset by the ad I heard, since I've worked here many years plus the occasional ER visit myself. My experience was nothing but positive for me and my husband.

As a medical student at Columbia Presbyterian, this union went on strike, attempting to block everyone from entering the hospital, including students attempting to get an education. Racial comments were also made. As a resident at Columbia, I came to expect that the phlebotomist would either not come or state blood was not drawn because the patient refused, only to find the patient said no such thing. I learned to be a phlebotomist, transporter, I even ran my own blood samples, whatever it took to ensure decent patient care. Room turnover was so bad, most rooms were unavailable to patients until eight at night, forcing residents to perform histories and physicals in the lobby waiting area so they could get home at a decent hour. I dare not venture into physical plant cleanliness. When I came to the BI as a resident, I was absolutely shocked that people gave a crap , went above an beyond and thereby allowing me to focus on being a physician. Obviously, I never went back and hope we as an institution don't take this step backwards. There is nothing but power and ego involved here with patient care at the bottom of the list. Keep it up.

I have read your letter very carefully, and it takes away some of the anger that grew in me at the bold efforts of that union to degrade the establishment that I've felt right at home in my almost 30 years working here. Last Friday there was heavy campaigning around Joslin Park, crossing over to Brookline Ave. I was approached by a member offering me a "mouse pad and a flyer" I gave him a few choice words in a polite manner, smiles and all. When the other group across the street saw that I did not accept the "gift offered" they started walking toward me when I got across the street. They were looking at me in an angry way, I had to warn them to keep away from me or I will go to the cop that was standing at the construction work site at Dana Farber. This just goes go to show that they have a potential to intimidate employees in any way possible if their media tactic does not work, of which I hope it does not. I know the freedom of speech and the right to make a choice is law, but it will not take away the DEDICATION and COMMITMENT That we all have here at the Medical Center.

Thank you for clarification of this issue. I am sure you anticipated that BIDMC's leadership in transparency would be used against us. As Kent Keith wrote in his poem "The Paradoxical Commandments", "... Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway...".
It is frustrating to live with the fact that a reputation is much easier to smear than to build, and to hold yourself to a standard of conduct not shared by those who are better at breaking things than building them. In the face of vandals demanding tribute, the high road is hard, but necessary.

Thank you for your time and support, I worked at the company who had union I will never want it again...

As someone who has worked in a union environment in the past, (Seattle, WA) I too am completely AGAINST the union as it offers nothing but negativity, pulls staff and management in separate directions and this negativity is as well shown by this recent exposure, As an employee of BIDMC for over 4 years, I couldn't be more proud to work here. I too am a believer in free speech, but, is there anything we can do as employees to HELP in the fight to end the "UNION" coming into BI?? If there is anything we can do, please let me know, I think its a disgrace and very unprofessional what the union does and represents for their own best interest.

Thank you so much for sending this email. I've been at the BI for over 6 years and started off as a traveler. I had enough confidence in the establishment to sign on as staff and would never think of moving to another hospital because I believe in our practice and our mission and values. I understand the concept of free speech, but it is very hurtful when people purposely set out to hurt others with smear campaigns. I appreciate you giving some feedback on it and this just solidifies my faith in this establishment.

With everything else going on in people's lives: the economy, the pressing decision of the presidential election, and just the day to day stresses, we surely don't need this. I appreciate your time in informing the staff as to the why BIDMC is being targeted and providing your support to all.

Thank you Paul -- I have never written you an email until today. It was important for you to respond to this to us. I know it is difficult to "refute" this type of campaign. You can't win that battle - You will be painted as the powerful executive squashing the "rights" of the "little" people when in fact your trying to protect them from "bullying" tactics the union themselves so frown upon us. What I'm afraid of is, in this society it seems the more outlandish the claim the more believable it is. If you say it long enough and loud enough, people start to believe it.
I work in a hospital -- that says a lot about me and what I believe in -- I'm proud to work here -- I could go somewhere else and make more money but this is my choice. I don't appreciate their misleading, false and denigrating statements. It all such garbage - I had hope we could refute these "claims" but I understand your position.

I am sorry to see you and the hospital suffering negatively due to this smear campaign. As an employee I am glad to see you take a principled stand on this unionization issue. I am also a little worried on a personal level whereby if a union did establish itself here at BIDMC I may be forced to become a member of a closed shop union or else suffer the consequences. I wish you good luck in your handling of this problematic issue.

Thank you for this letter. We all know it is just propaganda, but feel good that you have addressed the issue.

Thank you for sending this and for being willing to put yourself on the line publicly about the SEIU's activities. Many staff have been upset over what's happening out there and I think it's important to acknowledge that. I also think it's important to stand up to the SEIU as you have and let them know that we won't be bullied. I fear that many of the staff they will be targeting don't understand the full implications of being unionized and are at greatest risk of being hurt by it. We can do a far better job of protecting our staff, especially the most vulnerable ones, than any union can.

I just wanted to take a moment to relay my time as a member of SEIU to you. Before I worked at BIDMC I worked in hospital represented by SEIU. In my experience their main function was to protect the employees which were not living up to the expectations of their job. This, in turn, led to a confrontational relationship with the management of the hospital. Since working at BIDMC I have never once looked back and wished I had stayed in my union position. I have never felt that my manager has ever asked anything of me that she would not do herself, I earn a fair wage, and I am treated very well here. In addition I would rather keep the percentage of my paycheck that would be taken by law for union dues if BIDMC were to unionize. I just wanted to share my experience with you and for you to know that I for one am proud to be a non-union employee of BIDMC.

Thank you for taking time to address this issue. For some time, I've wanted to speak to you about this matter.
I have been contacted, via unsolicited mailings, from this union and read the terrible things they've chosen to print in various publications. I know that these half-truths are meant to harm the medical center's reputation. I understand that to them, BI represents a lot of money in member dues and that these tactics are meant to be divisive and hurt morale of our staff so they can swell their ranks and coffers. Staffs are often enticed by the "grass is greener" argument to join a union. I know from personal experience that this simply isn't true and that unions today do not improve quality, efficiency, or employee relations. I have no respect for their underhanded tactics.
I am very proud of our non-union hospital. My leadership is supportive and fair and I know that I don't need a union official to act a middleman when I have an issue to discuss with them.
I've spoken with others here who feel the same way. We are all proud to call ourselves employees of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
When I get something from the union, I put it where it belongs -- in the trash bin.
I've had my eye on BI for over 5 years and like what I see. That's why I work here.
Please continue to fight the underhanded tactics and lies of this self-serving, power-hungry group. You have our support.

Thank you for this informative update of the current activities of SEIU. I too heard a radio announcement unflattering to BIDMC regarding rates in the ER and how expensive we were compared to other institutions. However, the tone of the ad was decidedly vindictive so I dismissed it as propaganda.

I know you are busy and your mailbox is probably full but wanted to get back to you to let you know that It is always so good to hear from you on these upsetting matters. I am very proud of the work I do here at BIDMC and I am thrilled to be employed in a hospital that doesn't incorporate the SEIU. If they were in this hospital it would be less of a place in my opinion. You so well put it into perspective and that is always comforting. BIDMC is a wonderful institution and does not deserve the untruthful maligning that is the product of the SEIU, they absolutely disgust me in their conduct. The media should be vetting their business practices and unethical tactics. You are supported in your efforts to set the record straight Paul, keep up the good work.

While waiting for the LMA shuttle this morning, which is also a bus stop, I came face to face with one of those adds. I was repulsed by the add and didn't understand why this was being said about the place I have worked at for 28 years. If this is the type of union that can only get it members by these types of ploys, then they must truly be desperate. It also saids something about the character of those in charge.

Your message is extremely timely, as I just saw my first "anti-BIDMC" bus stop ad in front of Vanguard Medical Associates about half an hour ago, and it disturbed me greatly. I work (and have worked for the past 20+ years) in hem/onc research at 21-27 Burlington, and activities/advertising at the main hospital campus often escape me....but here this was right under my nose when I went to take a little walk. In fact, I was mentally preparing an e-mail to you to voice my distress when your message was broadcast, so, thank you. I consider myself generally pro-union and am descended from a long line of pro-union teachers, etc. Yet the tactics of SEIU have been bothering me from the very first phone call that I got at home months ago. I tried rational conversation at first, but have since given up! The idea that SEIU can improve my research funding, while funding sources everywhere are drying up, is laughable. Laughable and sad at the same time. It's sad to me to see BIDMC (and you personally, in the ad I saw) portrayed in this negative light.

I saw the ad at my bus stop at Landmark this morning and then someone pointed it out in the free newspaper floating around. I am writing because I do not understand how this slander is legal. I can't imagine any other institution of our size without issues but I for one am very proud to work at BIDMC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


As am a proud and happy BIDMC employee of 28 years. I have been dismayed at the tactics employed by the SEIU. These are personal attacks against all of us who work here. I know I'm just one of a large group of BIDMC employees who keep an "Eye on BIDMC" (the MC is added because we know who we are) and we are quite proud of what we see. Please continue to defend us and our hospital from this vile organization. They will not improve anything here and they certainly won't try to help us recover from their lies after they successfully unionize us (let us hope that day never comes).

I have to wonder how many of these purple shirt wearing SEIU lackeys we see out in force at times are actual union members. I bet few if any of them are actually members at other company. I believe these people are all hired hands. That says it all for me