News & Events

Lost in ‘Bizarro World’

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
April 2009 Edition

By Deb Rigiero
Associate Director, Organizing

My husband says that there is a Seinfeld episode that addresses every issue in life. I am beginning to believe him. For those of you old enough to have seen a Seinfeld episode, I am talking about the 1996 episode called The Bizarro Jerry, where everything is the opposite. Journey with me to Bizarro World where nothing is what it seems.

In Bizarro World:

  • “Go-lightly” really means “go a lot” (colonoscopy humor)
  • The “No Child Left Behind Act” leaves many children left behind
  • The Clean Air Act allows industries to “dirty” the air
  • The Healthy Forest Restoration Act opened up more logging in our national forests
  • A “Right to Work State” is actually a state where workers have no rights at work
  • “American Rights at Work” are pro-worker rights that support unionization, where “National Rights to Work” are pro-management “rights” that allow for the take-away of workers’ rights to unionize
  • Health care workers cannot afford their own health care.
  • The “Patients First” initiative means the solution to unsafe staffing is to tell the nurse to “do the best they can.”
  • Amidst today’s “shortage of nurses” very few nurses are hired to work 40 hours per week while other facilities have hiring freezes in place. To top it off, hospitals don’t want to hire new nurses until they get a year of nursing experience.
  • A CEO who runs his company into the ground gets millions in bonuses, keeps his job and gets more bail out money to try again. Meanwhile a worker who tries to organize a union at work can be fired illegally.
  • Auto company CEOs take private jets to meet with Congress. But auto workers—whose salaries are 10 percent of the company’s total budget—are blamed for the auto crisis.
  • Bank of America and AIG—both of whom have taken millions in bail out money—participated in a telephone conference with other corporate giants to strategize about how to fight the Employee Free Choice Act. The Employee Free Choice Act would protect workers’ rights to unionize. The question is, did they use the bail out money provided by the tax payers and the very workers whose rights they want to stifle? Talk about hypocrisy.

Escape from Bizarro World

How do we escape this crazy bizarro world? The solution is easier than you think.

  • We need to question authority (don’t tell my children I said this)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Get your information from different sources
  • Become an educated consumer
  • Be a good neighbor; no man is an island
  • Be a participator not a spectator; get involved and get informed
  • Most importantly, don’t give up hope

I hope, believe and will work hard so that the future will be better for my children. I hope and believe that they will be able to make it on their own without having to live with me until they are middle-aged or that I will have to live with them in my golden years.

I can see the sign: “You are now leaving Bizarro World.” Let’s try to escape together.