Saturday, May 14, 2011

Widespread support

This week we saw an example of union dues at work. 1199SEIU sent over-sized postcards to thousands of Central New York residents, objecting to the "ill-conceived takeover of Community General" by SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Residents are asked to call State Senator John DeFrancisco and Assembly Member Bill Magnarelli. Presumably, they are expected to affirm SEIU's position that Community General Hospital's combination with Upstate is "rushed" and "badly-flawed."

Actually, the combination has been very carefully planned. Upstate has gone to great lengths to assure that vital patient services remain at Community General's campus, and it is taking steps to broaden and deepen patient care here.

Upstate intends to employ most of Community's workforce, and it has made special efforts to transition Community General's employees. The State Legislature even passed a special law allowing Community's employees the option of remaining in Community's pension plan after they join Upstate.

Some people who got the post card told me they called the legislators' offices but with a message the opposite of what SEIU intended. "I support the Upstate plan," one of them told me this week in the cafeteria, "and that's what I told them."

SEIU's post cards do not state the real reason for its opposition. The real reason is that most Community General employees would become public employees. That means they would join the public unions, and SEIU would lose the membership.

SEIU stands pretty much alone in its opposition. The Upstate-Community plan has widespread support.

Elected officials have already endorsed the plan in letters to the Department of Health:

State Senator John DeFrancisco: "I write you in full support of Community General Hospital’s application. . . . (as) essential for continued available services, and assuring uninterrupted employment . . . and providing high levels of care to patients.” (February 22, 2011)

State Senator Dave Valesky: “I believe the merger of the two entities is critical for the continuation of quality health care in Central New York and will benefit the entire region.” (March 21, 2011)

Assembly Member Bill Magnarelli
It is my belief that Upstate Medical University’s acquisition of Community General Hospital is the most reasonable approach . . .and is in the best interest of the community-at-large.” (May 5, 2011)

A number of community health planning organizations have also endorsed the Community-Upstate plan. They are:

▪ Hospital Executive Council
▪ Crouse Hospital/ University Hospital Affiliation Council
▪ Community Health Information Planning Service,and
▪ Central New York Health Systems Agency.

No comments: