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Announcement :: Environment : Human Rights : Labor
BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER THREATENS UNIONS regarding Feb 26, 12-1pm, BioDefense Lab Forum
19 Feb 2004
It is CLEAR from Mr. Gorman's chilling letter threatening the Boston Medical Center unions, that free discussion of this issue without intimidation is not something BMC administration wants to see happen. Gorman's letter seems to indicate that free discussion by employees at BMC on this issue is something certain Boston Medical Center administrators are willing to stiffle by any means necessary .
BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER THREATENS UNIONS regarding Feb 26, 12-1pm, BioDefense Lab Forum


The letter from Dennis Gorman, director of labor relations at Boston Medical Center, sent to Celia Wcsilo, President of SEIU Local 2020, and me, President of AFSCME Local 1489 (via Jen Springer, Metro Coordinator of AFSCME Council 93) regarding the February 26, 12pm-1:30pm, forum on the BioDefense lab slated to be built in the BioSquare complex in the Roxbury/South End neighborhood area,real estate where the lab is to be located jointly owned by BU and Boston Medical Center is flagrantly untrue in its assertions, and highly unconstitutional in regard to freedom of expression.

The letter from Boston Medical Center (BMC) Labor Relations Director Dennis Gorman states:

RE: Union Posters

Dear Presidents Wcislo and Rotman:

The Boston Medical Center has recently found union posters (copies enclosed) that announce a "Forum" regarding the Boston University Biodefense Laboratory. Listed as sponsors of the "FORUM" are "BMC Employees AFSCME Local 1489, BMC Chapter of SEIU Local 2020". The posting or DISTRIBUTION [ emphasis supplied] of these documents is impermissible for several reasons.

The use of the Boston Medical Center's name within the context noted above constitutes a serious infringement upon the Hospital's exclusive rights to use to the use of its name. The grammar and the use of the hospital's name in the document also creates the appearance or implication that the Boston Medical Center has sanctioned the "Forum", which it has not. You are hereby advised to immediately cease and desist from using the hospitals name in any current or future posters concerning the Biodefense Laboratory without first obtaining permission of the Boston Medical Center.

The same posters have been found in many areas throughout the Hospital, the Menino campus in particular, which is a clear violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As the enclosed posters are also considered inflammatory to the Hospital they are not to be posted on Union Bulletin Boards, consistant with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Boston Medical Center therefore demands that you refrain from continued posting/DISSEMINATION [emphasis supplied] of these or similar posters on Hospital property. In the event members of the bargaining unit or employees of your respective Unions are found to have improperly posted/distributed posters the hospital will take immediate corrective legal action.

Should you have any questions or would like to meet to discuss this matter please contact me. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Dennis R. Gorman
Director of Labor Relations

Regarding sponsorship of the forum. Sponsorship is a broad coalition of sectors of employees, professors, students, a coalition of community groups, at BU Medical Campus, BU Shool of Public Health, and Boston Medical Center. Specifically, the organizations sponsoring the forum are the "Health not War Caucus", BMC employees AFSCME Local 1489, BMC Chapter of SEIU Local 2020.

The purpose of the Forum is to afford an opportunity to employees, professors, students, and concerned community people who are, or may be, impacted by the Level 4 Biodefense Lab on property jointly owned by BU/BMC to express CONCERNS regarding health and safety issues of interest to employees/staff/community.

Thus far there hasn't been any forum at BMC or the BU Medical School that wasn't controled by the powers that be where concerns can be freely discussed in an atmosphere free from intimidation.

It is CLEAR from Mr. Gorman's chilling letter threatening the Boston Medical Center unions, that free discussion of this issue without intimidation is not something BMC administration wants to see happen. Gorman's letter seems to indicate that free discussion by employees at BMC on this issue is something certain Boston Medical Center administrators are willing to stiffle by any means necessary .

The hospital has sent e-mails to all employees at BMC regarding a meeting at BMC by BU lab proponents that PROMOTES the Biodefense Lab, although many employees who hold low paid jobs who are represented by AFSCME Local 1489, employees who live in the South End and Roxbury, and other communities impacted by the Biodefense lab , such as Dorchester and South Boston and other communities in Boston, do not have access to BMC e-mail to be made aware of the one-sided presentation on the virtues of the top secret Level 4 biodefense lab that BMC administration is advertising in e-mails.

Boston Medical Center has also been doing one-sided advertising to BMC employees in the BMC newsletter.

If the City of Cambridge is opposed to a level 4 Biodefense lab because of health and safety concerns and has an ordinance banning such a lab for health and safety reasons, shouldn't BMC employees have a right to FREELY discuss our concerns at a Forum on February 26, without threats against the unions of legal action for distributing flyers letting people know about this Forum ??

The use of the term BMC is not a term exclusively copyrighted by BMC, but is part of who people who work at BMC are.

We are employees of BMC.

AFSCME Local 1489 is a union of employees at BMC. The BMC Chapter of SEIU 2020 has a right to say they are a chapter of SEIU 2020 employees working at BMC.

The hospital doesn't have a RIGHT to tell BMC employee unions or members of these unions that they can't mention that concerned BMC employees and unions are co-sponsors of a forum because because the 3 letters "BMC" is the PROPERTY of the BMC hospital administation.

AFSCME Local 1489 stationary has had the label, Boston Medical Center Employees Local 1489 for many many years, and legal action was never threatened against the union before on this.

It was the unions that advocated for the MISSION of BMC during the 1996 merger between BCH and BU Hospital, so how is it now that BMC employees and their unions are excluded from using the term "BMC" regarding the Level 4 Biodefense lab slated for construction on property jointly owned by BU/ BMC at the BioSquare Complex in the South End of Boston ?

If this type of REPRESSION is a prevue of coming attractions once the Level 4 Biodefense lab is built; with all its trappings of a top secret miltarized zone - right in the vicinity of where BMC employees work- where research is done on deadly viruses such as ANTHRAX (sound familiar ?), smallpox, ebola, plague, etc.; viruses that can be weaponized in weapons of mass destruction... perhaps BMC employees, professors and students at the BU School of Public Health, and people living in the communities of Boston have CAUSE for concern.

A Forum to express our concerns on Thursday, February 26, 12noon - 1:30pm, in the BU School of Medicine, Room L110 is more important than ever.

Perhaps Dennis Gorman's letter threatening the Unions is clear evidence that we should be VERY concerned on this issue.

Howie Rotman
President, Boston Medical Center Employees AFSCME Local 1489

INFO regarding FORUM on L4 Biodefense lab @ BU Med Center Campus,2/26/04,12-1:30pm;

On the BU/ Boston Medical Center, LEVEL 4, BIODEFENSE LAB,

February 26, 2004, 12noon-1:30pm, at the BU School of Medicine in
Boston's South End, Main Instructional Building, Room L-110. Building is
in the courtyard area of Boston University Medical Center, between East
Concord St. and East Newton St.

This important FORUM welcomes all members of the BU Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, BU School of Public Health community, area
residents, and other concerned individuals who have


This lab, besides doing research on infectious disease, is ALSO involved in defense related research on deadly viruses used in biological warfare - anthrax, smallpox,the plague, ebola etc.

There are questions of HEALTH & SAFETY to the South End/ Roxbury community, the Boston area, and Greater Boston Area... because of such
BioDefense research security "breaches" as is beleived to have contributed to the weaponized anthrax attacks in the US...and because of the possibility of accidents "Level 4 top secret" research that caused the City of Cambridge- where BioTech and prominent research universities are known worldwide- to ban Level 4 BioDefense Labs from that city.

Whether you are for or against the lab, please come to this FIRST community forum to be held in the vicinity where the lab is planned to be built.

Speakers will present concerns and answer your questions:

* David Ozonoff, Department of Environmental Health

*Kyle Loring and Klare Allen, Alternatives for the Communty and Environment

*Howie Rotman,Boston Medical Center Employees AFSCME Local 1489

*Jonathan King, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Council For Responsible Genetics

Sponsors: BU Health Not War Caucus, BMC Employees AFSCME Local 1489, BMC Chapter of SEIU Local 2020

(If your organization is not listed as a co-sponsor, and you would like to be a co-sponsor-which does not mean your group is "pro or con"-
please e-mail jwnelson (at) to include your organization as a co-sponsor.)

The Forum Flyer can be printed out from the microsoft attachment in the forwarded e-mail below. There is a typo in the flyer. "Biosafety" should read "Biodefense", which can be corrected easily before you print it. Also location of the forum on the flyer can be edited so it is more
comprehensible to people who aren't familiar with Boston Medical Center/BU School of Medicine campus (See location info at the top of this
e-mail for ideas.)

Spread the word !!!!

Forward this e-mail to your friends, family, other e-mail lists, and any organizations,groups, community leaders, academics, etc., you think
might be interested in attending this most important Forum.

This work is in the public domain