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News ::
Carney Hospital diverted patient care dollars to stop union
02 May 2001
Carney Hospital diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from patient care to prevent employees from having a voice at work. New SEIU report makes case for amendment that would prevent waste of public health care dollars at hospitals and nursing homes.
BOSTON –A new report shows that Carney Hospital spent about $273,000 last year on anti-union meetings and consultants to defeat an effort by its employees to form a union. The anti-union campaign was conducted between February and April of 2000.

Just prior to the antiunion campaign, Carney Hospital received a $1.5 million emergency “hardship” grant from the state so that it could stay open. Carney is part of the Caritas Christi Health Care System.

The report documents how thousands of hours of the employees’ time were wasted in mandatory meetings solely devoted to persuading workers not to form a union. High priced outside attorneys were retained to prepare anti-union materials, coach the supervisors and orchestrate management's campaign.

“It’s very disturbing to think that Carney Hospital spent a large portion of the state’s hardship grant in its attempt to keep workers from joining a union,” said Local 285 president Celia Wcislo. “And even more troubling is the fact that so many workers and managers spent thousands of hours in anti-union meetings instead of caring for patients.”

The report was prepared to support new Health Care Only legislation that would prevent hospitals and nursing homes that receive Mass Health Program funds from using that money to “assist, promote, deter, or discourage” union organizing during paid work time.

A hearing by the Commerce and Labor Committee on the bill was held last week. At the hearing, several caregivers spoke about their experience of being pulled away from their duties by managers who sought to persuade them from joining a union. Additional testimony in support of the bill was presented by Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian, Representative Paul Caron, Representative Martin Walsh and Marsh Hams of Health Care for All.

Please call Rand Wilson at the above number for a copy of the report.

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