Letter: Insulting to nurses
It was depressing to read Karen Scott, who describes herself as a “staunch supporter of labor,” parrot Baystate Health’s talking points in its conflict with its nurses at Baystate Franklin in the pages of The Recorder. Scott and Baystate claim that the nurses are pawns in the larger plans of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, plans that are not in the best interests of our local nurses. This is incredibly insulting to the nurses, suggesting that they are not smart enough to understand the situation and that the nurses are easily manipulated. It also shows a real misunderstanding of how unions actually work. The MNA can’t force the nurses to strike; the majority has to vote to authorize a strike, something practically no nurses would do unless they felt they had no other option. Of course, Baystate could avoid a strike and the sort of damaging publicity that Scott decries by agreeing to having an impartial arbitrator sort out the issues of hours and overtime pay. This Baystate refuses to do, making the ridiculous claim that an outside arbitrator couldn’t possibly understand the local situation — even though I doubt that very many of the people who decide basic Baystate Franklin policy are local residents themselves.