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April 10, 2013 / Paul Levy

Figures lie

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 10:31am

The old adage about “figures lie” takes on a new meaning when you are the target of an SEIU corporate campaign. In a recent mailing sent to the homes of our staff members (accompanied also by voice mails left on home phone lines), SEIU cites the rise in the cost of insurance benefits to our employees and notes that a number of our staff relied on “taxpayer funded health insurance.”

Well, it turns out that many employers in the state, including unionized organizations, have employees who rely on taxpayer funded health insurance. Indeed, that was part of the design of Chapter 58, the universal health care coverage law passed a few years ago (the one being used as a model for national health reform). Here is the chart published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this topic. Let’s see a sample of which governmental organizations and nonprofits are included: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts itself, City of Boston, U Mass, Salvation Army, City of Springfield, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Bay State Medical Center, Boston University, Boston Globe, Catholic Charities, Action for Boston Community Development, U Mass Memorial Health Care, City of Cambridge, Boston College. As you can see, there is a mix of both unionized and non-unionized organizations included.

The SEIU mailing also decries the fact that our workers last year had cuts in earned time, retirement benefits, and raises. Absolutely true. As has been documented in national and local news coverage, BIDMC was a national example in avoiding hundred of layoffs by asking workers to make a sacrifice for the greater good. And all the while protecting the lowest wage workers by ensuring that they would continue to get raises. This is what happens when workers care for one another. In contrast, how many stories have you heard about where unions have refused to consider this kind of shared approach, resulting in layoffs of their most junior members.

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