Now that Our Picket is News, We Need to All Write Letters to the Editor
Today’s Telegram & Gazette features a great story (see below about our tremendously successful picket and rally for safe staffing, our objection to service cuts and our call for a fair contract. Now that this story has appeared every member has a role to play in keeping the story alive in the media as our struggle continues. We are asking everyone to send letters to the editor of the Telegram stating why you are standing up for quality care and a fair contract. Below is the link to send letters to the editor. Keep your letters under 200 words, and you need to provide your name and where you live for them to be published. Talk about how staffing conditions impact your ability to provide the care your patients deserve. Talk about a shift when you had 5, 6 or 7 patients when you should have had 4, and describe what that meant in terms of the care you were or weren’t able to provide. Talk about what it is like to know there are patients waiting for your attention, in pain, but who suffer because you are too busy with two other patients in more critical need of your attention. Talk about having to hold patients in your unit, because there isn’t enough staff on another unit to safely transfer them, and what that means for your patient.
If there is something the hospital has said in the press or in their recent full page ad, provide your side of the story. For example, in response to the hospital’s claim that our home care nurses are overpaid and deserve a 10 percent wage cut, home care nurses can talk about the tremendous positive impact they have on patients lives post discharge from the hospital, how they help them manage their condition so that they are not readmitted, and so they can go on to a full recovery. And in so doing, home care nurses save the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, under the health reform law, the provision of quality home care is more important than ever. Also, home care nurses can talk about their high skill level they need to do their job and the fact that they work alone. In all our letters feel free to emphasize how wrong it is to cut services and to fail to provide appropriate staff when every other day, patients are backed up in the ED waiting for care, and after this hospital made 90 million in profits.
We know many nurses will want to follow the comments at the bottom of the story. Don’t worry about those, instead send a letter to the editor as that will appear and be read by thousands of people over the coming days.
Also, do not be put off by the hospitals publishing how much money you make. UMass tried this with the University nurses when they went on strike and it didn’t work. Remember, the public trusts nurses more than any other profession. Also remember this: you are highly skilled professionals who hold human lives in your hands every day, you are personally accountable for the safety of the patients every minute of every shift and if a mistake happens, you could you lose your license to practice your profession. Remember that every day you work with hazardous chemicals and are subject to exposure to dangerous diseases, that nurses are assaulted more than police officers and prison guards, and that nurses are injured on the job more than construction workers. DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR, NOR FEEL GUILTY ABOUT WHAT YOU MAKE. You earn every penny. It is John O’Brien and Dr. Ettinger who need to feel guilty and ashamed for being paid enormous salaries for cutting the care of patients and for putting their lives in jeopardy.
Here is the link to the Letters to the Editor page – let your voice be heard.