Saturday, March 24, 2012

Can't afford to be sick

Someone once said that our strength comes through our pain.

I thought about this when I read a Face Book post by a friend.  She's a nurse in the emergency department who works 28 hours/week.  She has a family with school age children and a husband who works full time.  She is active in church and social events, helps out with all the sports and activities that her children partake in.  She's someone I go to as a moral compass.  Sometimes I get so passionate about a cause that I don't trust my own judgement, she can give me perspective on it, keep me on the right path.

She carries the health insurance for the family.  She posted that she is deeply concerned about the current contract proposal before us.  It would increase her insurance premium to $301/week by 2014 with no increase in wages. She worries that this would force her out of her 28 hour/week schedule into full time work and how this would effect her family life and her children's lives. 

I ask myself, how could I ask her to support such a contract?  How could I ask her to stay at Backus if such a contract went through?

If we accepted such a contract I believe it would be the insurance offered to all Backus employees.  How could our people in the kitchen, in housekeeping, etc, who make less than the nurses, afford to stay on the insurance?  They would have to try to get on state insurance or go without.  This is already happening at other hospitals.  The very people who care for the sick can't afford to be sick.

I know that insurance costs are out of control.  I know change must come.  What I say is this, don't put all the burden on the backs of the people doing the care taking, while others make $600,000/year or more. Work with us and we will find a solution.

It's painful, let's hope our strength come from this pain.  Let's stand together because together we are strong.

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