Bad mix: Unions & health care

A friend of mine is a card-carrying member of the California Nurses Association. She is not a union supporter in theory, but cannot practice her profession at the hospital where she's employed unless she is a member. I spoke with her recently about a nurse that testified before Congress several months ago against the card-check proposal, saying she was harrassed and bullied at work by union organizers that attempted to strong-arm her into signing on.  My friend commented that she receives a magazine from the union each month.  She has often written to them to dispute an issue or present an opposing point of view.  The magazine has no space alloted for letters to the editor or forum whereby members can debate, or even ask questions.  Her union dues are taken from her paycheck and spent in ways she does not know and if she asks, her inquiry is ignored.  Her voice is irrelevant and silenced.  Her option is to continue or find another job at another hospital that also is most likely a union shop.  At 60 years of age, she is not in a position to give up nursing and pursue another career. In checking the website of both the California nurses union and that of the same organization in Colorado, there is a very different tone.  The Colorado website is professionally done and does not carry an obvious tone of hostility.  On the other hand, the California union nurse website is rather radical, if not almost militant about their support for one-payer nationalized or universal healthcare.  Their online store even includes the opportunity to buy Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko" and "Sicko" surgical scrubs and t-shirts.  My friend told me when "Sicko" was about to be released, nurses in her hospital sat at tables during the workday, handing out brochures about the movie, sold the t-shirts and veiled the entire propaganda campaign as being some type of health fair.  They did free blood pressure screenings, talked with employees, patients and visitors about the idea that if we are to be truly healthy, everyone should get onboard with a government regulated healthcare system.  The most outrageous part of this campaign came when my friend received more literature in the mail from the union, along with a return postcard which listed the movie theaters in the area that would show "Sicko".  My friend, and other union nurses, were urged to check which theater they would see the movie, along with the exact date and showtime.  This would allow the union to organize people to make sure each showing at each theater was sold out.  Their idea that Michael Moore is an expert in healthcare delivery was surpassed by the notion that if in the first days the movie was shown, it played to packed houses, that would create interest across the country, getting millions to go see it and ultimately buy into his notions.   The concept that average, hard-working nurses had the time and financial resources to put forth the aggressive promotional campaign of Moore's movie is not credible.  My friend pays about $1200 per year in union dues, but she feels much of that goes toward an ongoing mass mailing and workplace literature distribution regarding the different political policies they promote.  Where did all the money needed to try and send Moore's movie to the top of the ratings come from? 

California nurses union officials are in a brutal war of words with the powerful SEIU (Service Employees International Union.   Frankly, any connection between the words, "union" and "international" in our country gives me reason to fear. ) The SEIU is on the march with their own unionized agenda, attempting to sign up other hospital workers such as nurse aids, medical tech personnel, maintenance, housekeeping and food service workers.  The SEIU endorsed Obama for the presidency and funneled significant amounts of money into his campaign.  The California nurses union is fearful that the SEIU will be able to siphon off some union nurses into their organization.  

Will the radical agenda and determination to drive policy and shape delivery of care as seen in the California model spread East?  There is a strong movement to do just that. They are outspoken in their criticism for the current stimulus plan, as it does not give them the desire of their hearts--government controlled delivery of healthcare ASAP.  They are calling for a plan entitled, "Medicare for All". They believe every American, regardless of age or ability to pay or not pay, should be signed up for this new Medicare plan which would be operated in much the same fashion as the one we already have that is a bankrupt ticking time bomb about to go off, plunging us further into the morass of eternal debt and obligation.

 In promoting the new Medicare plan, the nurses don't explain how they intend to pay off and clean up the current Medicare nightmare.  One of their current mantra's is that the government needs to fix healthcare, for in doing so, that is the last best medicine for the economy as a whole. These folks also don't discuss their plan to solve the huge debt obligation California carries within it's Medicaid system. Millions upon millions continue to be spent around the country, California in particular, for health services dedicated to the care of persons in this country illegally. As for that issue, the California nurses union believes ALL persons should have full access to every type and style of healthcare in our country. Additionally, nurses should be able to demand through their union whatever salary they believe to be fair and have that amount paid. They believe the culprits in our healthcare system are hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Any attempt by those three industries to break even or make a profit is wrong and greedy.  It is only the nurses that are to be paid and profit at their desired level, and patients that should be given all healthcare services at little to preferably, no cost. 

Those in our families, circle of friends and communities that believe there is "free" healthcare waiting for them if only this particular stimulus package is passed are in for a sudden and rude awakening. If our healthcare is moving toward a system that is completely taken over by unions that actually believe Michael Moore is an authoritative voice regarding our care, may Heaven help the rest of us.