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    Wednesday, June 23, 2004

    Strike: (Warning: Boring local stuff.) The nursing strike at the hospital has been going on for one week now, and shows no signs of ending soon. It's made things slower for me on the hospital side. Call is quieter because there are fewer patients in the hospital, and because the emergency room was closed. They re-opened yesterday, so it's likely to get busier, but they're still diverting major traumas and some emergency squad runs to other hospitals. The surgical suites and labor and delivery are half-running, and cardiology is completely up to speed.

    Both sides are operating a PR campaign. So far the hospital is winning. At least they come across as more gracious and reasonable than the union. Every day they send an email update out to let us know the staffing situation on each floor. They never say a disparaging word about the nurses or their union representatives. If only the same could be said of the nurse's union. They sent out a letter to the community today that accuses the hospital of bad faith negotiations, of "squandering" negotiation time and that ends with a reference to "corporate managers with expense accounts triple a nurse's salary and who live in million dollar home neighborhoods."

    That last bit just doesn't ring true. The hospital is an extremely frugal one when it comes to spending. Hard to imagine anyone there with an expense account "triple a nurse's salary." The top salary for a nurse there is $28/hour. That would be an expense account of $240,000. No one would get away with spending that sort of money there. And although the CEO lives in a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood, it's also highly doubtful that it's worth a million dollars.

    And what if it were? And what if the CEO gave up his salary and his home, joined the Franciscans and ran the hospital gratis? Would that provide the money the hospital would need to meet the nurses' demands? Of course not. They want higher wages, and, most unreasonable, they want their spouses to be covered on their healthcare insurance, even if said spouses have insurance already through their own jobs. That in itself is a multi-million dollar benefit when spread over the six-hundred some nurses.

    And one final thought about this strike. What do you do in this strike situation if you're the sole bread-winner of your family, and yet you're a member of a union which is made up mostly of people who work for supplemental income? Seems like the sole bread-winners end up carrying a disproportionate amount of the strike burden, even if they voted against it. Guess you'd have no other recourse but to quit and find another job somewhere else if things went on too long.

    posted by Sydney on 6/23/2004 10:54:00 PM 0 comments


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