Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Together we are strong

Last week I was in Chicago at the AFT/NFN Healthcare Professional Issues Conference/Labor Academy.
While there, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Alice Leo, the president of the Porter Federation of Nurses and health professionals.
She told her story about how they became frustrated with trying and failing to improve care at their hospital in Vermont and how they worried for their employment if they spoke out too vigorously.
Then she told how they organized and gained a voice.
As she spoke I felt she was telling MY story, and probably the story of anyone who has lived through an organizing drive.
Afterwards, I approached her, introduced myself, and explained how her story had touched me.
We shared the commonalities of how we had organized, became leaders, and then presidents.
We shared our worries, worries that perhaps only presidents understand.
I offered her my support, for her, and her members.

One of the primary responsibilities of anyone who works in healthcare, education, or public service is to advocate for those in they care for, educate or serve.
If we cannot do this without fear of reprisal, then we cannot be effective.

That is what lead the nurses of Backus and Porter to organize, that is what is leading our brothers and sisters of Danbury.
I salute the nurses of Porter and the workers at Danbury and pledge my support, my solidarity.
Together, we are strong.

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