Folks from other parts of the country may not know that the Poconos in Pennsylvania are a favorite vacation getaway for people living in the NYC area. The Poconos also is the site of a major battle between an evil for profit hospital corporation and its workers. From Labor Notes 3/18/11:
Members of Service Employees Healthcare Pennsylvania, the workers walked out March 15 to show unity against management attempts to impose an “open shop” in contract negotiations. The strike follows an earlier one-day strike February 9.
Unionized nurses in the hospital (members of the Operating Engineers) have been speaking out in support of their co-workers, joining rallies and holding a picnic for the strikers. Other SEIU locals from Pittsburgh, Ohio, and California have sent donations.
The 550 PMC workers voted in a union four years ago and have been negotiating their second contract, which expired in October. Management has been trying to push the “open shop” poison pill into the contract, in which workers could get the benefits of the union without paying dues.
These hospital workers had to fight hard to even get a union representation election in the first place, one that they won by a 2-1 margin. Now, an evil corporation is trying to divide the workplace and weaken the union by pushing a blatantly unethical "open shop" provision in contract talks.
It takes a lot to organize a union in the face of employer opposition. Working conditions and patient care conditions at the hospital forced the employees to fight against the odds and unionize.
Let's say that the fascist corporation wins the battle. Let's say that the workers get totally screwed. What will be the impact on healthcare?
- Nurses and other employees will go to work understandably angry and resentful.
- Many of the best nurses and other caregivers will find work elsewhere.
- The employees making up the slow exodus will be replaced by people who are incredibly desperate for jobs in the high demand nursing field. Most of the new people will be incompetent and dangerous.
- All the employees will be working under highly distracting, stressful conditions.
Now, what happens if you get sick or injured on vacation to the Poconos? Do you really want your ambulance to take you to that hospital if management gets to flush quality healthcare down the toilet in favor of corporate greed?
I'll vacation elsewhere. Yes, it will be partly out of solidarity, but it will mostly be out of self preservation.