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Nurses – Unions – Benefits – Salary

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californiaprogressreport.comSo first they came for the garbage men, and we did nothing. Then they came for the teachers, and we did nothing. Then they came for the police and firemen, and we did nothing. Now it is becoming ever more clear that the big money interests are now going to go after nurses, their unions, and most importantly their compensation.

In an article today in the New York Times about possible nurse strikes happening both in NY and in California it has become clear that the same argument made to go after teacher unions is being used for nurses as well.

Stop me if this sounds familiar. From the NY Times article quote: “Management officials defend executive pay as the price of competition for top leadership, and accuse the nurses of refusing what many other American workers have accepted: paying a share of their health insurance premiums, along with higher co-payments, deductibles and prescription costs.”

That sentence says two things that are used in arguments against teacher unions and now against nurses unions. The argument is that to get the best executive we have to pay 2 plus million dollars a year. The best talent will work for other places if we do not pay them this amount. What I wonder is how great are these expensive executives if there is a continuing need to cut back in compensation for all the employees? Honestly, I have never managed a hospital, but for 2 million dollars a year in compensation I am sure I can do it effectively enough to cut back the nurse to patient ratio, and to demand all my employees take home less money every year than they did the year before.

The second and most insidious argument being made is that other Americans have accepted this change in how compensation is allotted so it is only “fair” that teachers or nurses do the same thing. I would like this argument if the goal was to make things fair. When non-rich people talk about it being unfair that CEO’s and other executives make multi million dollar salaries it is called “Class Warfare”.  Why is it that reducing middle class benefits or salaries by high priced executives is done to be fair, and is not Class Warfare?

It was union shops getting 40 hour work weeks, weekends, paid vacations, medical plans, and retirement accounts that made the rest of the employers offer the same. If a person could go work for a union shop and make more money then non-union employees had to at least match the compensation to get decent employees. It was union workers that agreed to these benefits and now they are saying union workers must do with less because employees in other fields either are not or will not get the same compensation? This seems backwards. Non-union employees should be fighting for union jobs so that just as before employers must match the union shops to get decent workers.

I stand with the nurses. They work impossible hours. Over the years they negotiated lower pay to keep paid time off, decent medical, and retirement. Now the executives want to change the terms of the negotiation. Nurses, teachers, police, and fire fighting unions must put a stop to this. Perhaps a national voice will emerge that can unite all the unions. One giant strike by all unions at the same time might wake some people up.


Written by samomulligan

December 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Teacher Unions

Tagged with , , ,

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