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April 10, 2013 / Paul Levy

Efficiency = More state aid

Thursday, June 11, 2009, 5:01am

Rob Weisman at the Boston Globe reports that workers at Caritas Carney Hospital have chosen to have SEIU represent them in collective bargaining. That the union was successful in this organizing campaign is unremarkable given the gag order neutrality agreement signed by the management of the Caritas system several months ago.

What is remarkable, though, is this: “Carney employees hope to improve their working conditions and pay and bring the union’s clout to bear in pressing for more public resources for the community hospital, which has struggled financially.” Carney already receives millions of dollars per year in public support. What an ironic turn of events that its success now relies on increasing that support while the state faces extreme financial problems.

Over the last several years, SEIU has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince the public that BIDMC is inefficient and unsafe — implying that the management is not competent and that our governing bodies are ineffectual — and that only its press releases have led to improvements. So while the union has money to squander on a corporate campaign at a hospital in which it has no jurisdiction, it will seek more public funds for a hospital which it will be running.

Perhaps the community should hold SEIU to a different standard of accountability: Demonstrate that it can make Carney more efficient and reduce the amount of taxpayer support needed to keep it viable. Also, start to post clinical outcomes to demonstrate progress in improving quality and safety.

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