Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stop The Bleeding

We finish our series of 3 guest blogs from the L+M Local presidents with Harry Rodriguez, President of Local 5123 Healthcare Workers, telling us that together, we are strong.

As I sit here and write this article for our Tri-local Newsletter, I can't help but think about Solidarity, Unionism and the ability to work together in order to meet the goals of a good, decent and strong contract. The only way we are going to achieve these very important issues, is by sticking together.
What does that mean? It means listening to your Union leadership and backing them up as they fight hard for our contract. Coming to the negotiations has an incalculable impact, your presence sends a powerful message to management, one, that you care and two, that you are paying attention. Have you emailed your president to change contract language? Have you volunteered to be a part of the negotiations? Only together can we make changes to our contract. Only with solidarity can we organize and bring changes to short staffing, not needed and other issues which affect your working conditions.
You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Let us, together, be part of the solution. Standing strong, side by side until our goals are met. We must activate to bring change. We must formulate to bring change. We must work together and solidify to bring change. Our union fights for us, for our families, and for our rights. Never forget who you are and where you come from. Once we forget the sacrifices of our past Union leaders, we weaken ourselves. We are not weak. We are strong Unionist who will get a better contract because of who we are. We live in times when people are being misled. Instead of fighting back, we are listening and believing the lies that are being perpetrated against us.
Detractors of Unions blame the economic woes of the United States as being the fault of Unions. Instead of fighting back and demanding from their employers the right to Unionize, they settle for lower wages and lower benefits. Here we are being told that we are in financial trouble. We face layoffs because of our state legislators not fixing the budget. However, no one is upset about all the monies that are going out. We have bought Westerly Hospital for $69,000.000.00 million dollars. Our CEO has promised no layoffs for 2 years at Westerly. We are spending $35,000,000.00 million dollars on the Cancer Center. We have renovated the lobby at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars (The waterfall has
been shut down because no one can fix it. Waste of money if you ask me.) We are renovating 4.2 at the
cost of millions of dollars. We have capitol expenses everywhere.
Now, these expenses by themselves could be absorbed, however, all at once is financial ruin. In addition, you throw in the fact that our reimbursement from the state and the feds are being cut, well..... I can see why we are heading into a black hole. In the midst of this NOT ONE OF OUR TOP TEN VP'S AND CEO HAS TAKEN A PAY CUT. As a matter of fact THIER PAY HAS INCREASED DRAMATICALLY IN THE PAST FEW YEARS. They have laid off workers. (44 this year to date) They have negotiated the lowest pay increase for the Healthcare Workers in the last five years, citing bad economic times. We believed them and wanted to do what was right to save our hospital and keep it open, thus the 2% increase for our membership.
However, they (unknown to us at the time) continued to get hefty increases some over 10% a year, bonuses that are greater than most of us make in a year. Now they are planning more layoffs. The problem with all of this is that they are not talking about freezing their own salaries. Really, $700,000.00 thousand dollars is not enough to live on. Shame on all of you. How dare you say that we are suffering financial problems when you are siphoning millions of dollars in excessive salaries? Then like the cowards that you are you throw the board under the table and say that they set the salaries and we have no choice but to take the money. We need to find out who these crazy board members are that are GIVING AWAY SO MUCH OF OUR HEALTHCARE DOLLARS, while we sacrifice our yearly increases, which we thought were going to help the hospital reach its goals and help to stabilize our financial situation instead, are going into the pockets of these carpet baggers who will one day abandon us for greener pastures somewhere else.
What is it going to take for us to stand up and say ENOUGH? Fight for your rights and families. Fight the injustice of CEO and company abuse. Fight the carpet baggers who are killing our hospitals. Unionize, organize, and agitate.
In Solidarity,
Harry Rodriguez, President
Local 5123 Healthcare Workers

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