Michael Moore to Temple Nurses: I Got Your Back

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 21 | Posted Apr. 14, 2010

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Love him or hate him, Michael Moore’s a good guy to have on your side. He’ll do and say things no one else will. And when it comes to this country’s unions, he’s relentless.

So, it should come as no surprise that Moore supports the striking Temple health-care workers union. He presented a letter to the strikers, which was read this week up on North Broad. In it, Moore threatens one of the worst pains imaginable for anyone: his own presence.

“I am proud to support the striking nurses and staff at Temple University Hospital. It is an embarrassment that an otherwise fine institution of higher learning would treat its own nurses and other health professionals with such contempt.

“Exactly what lesson is Temple teaching to its students when they attack the nurses at their own hospital? That we should beat up on the very people who have dedicated their lives to helping us when we get sick? President Hart, like the rest of us, you, too, will someday probably have to stay in a hospital. When you look up at that person taking care of you, will you hope that that nurse has been well-treated, well-paid, well-trained? Or will you say to yourself, ‘I sure hope that nurse who’s placing that IV in me isn’t paid more than minimum wage! I sure hope she’s struggling to pay for her own health care! And I sure hope this hospital is making life as miserable as they can for this nurse!"

“I don’t think you’ll be saying that, President Hart. I think you’ll want the very best care from a staff who’ve been treated like human beings. I think that’s what you’ll want. So why not give that to the patients inside Temple University Hospital right now?

“Stop trying to bust this nurses’ and health professionals’ union! Teach your students how to behave toward those who work hard for a living. End this nonsense now before the entire country turns its focus on you and your behavior. You don’t want that, do you? Seriously do I have to come to Philly? Donovan McNabb leaves, but Michael Moore shows up? No one wants that! Do the right thing. Negotiate in good faith and give the nurses and staff the contract they deserve.”

Pat, hide your cheesesteaks (yeah, it’s a fat joke; big deal) – the king of misleading video (Andrew Breitbart and the ACORN “pimp” douchebag aside) says he’ll come to Philly if Temple doesn’t clean this thing up! The horror!

Anywho, for anyone not following the Temple Nurses strike, let’s review:

Since Sept. 30, 2009, nurses and other health-care professionals, all of whom are members of Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, have been working without a contract. Talks between union officials and hospital administration (through a state mediator) had been going on, Temple’s administration at least says, for nine months.

Talks eventually deteriorated over pay raises, the cost of health insurance, tuition benefits for employees' children, random drug testing and, perhaps the most important issue to some, the gag clause. 

The gag clause would bar union members from openly criticizing the hospital, ala Red China’s policy relating to citizens and top government, although other communist policies, such as human experimentation, would be kept to an agreeable minimum by Temple. Temple Watch says, “The clause, if implemented, would enable the employer to discipline or fire a healthcare professional who speaks out in ways the hospital deems "disparaging" of the institution.”

The strike officially began on March 31st at 7 am and includes 1,500 workers.

In early April, Temple University Hospital hired about 850 temporary workers who were reportedly being offered $2,862 to $10,388 per week. Sandy Gomberg, CEO of the North Philly health center said all temporary workers’ credentials had been reviewed, validated and their licenses checked out.

This past Monday, the Inquirer published an MIT professor/Carnegie Mellon University student study showing that hospital deaths rise when nurses go on strike (“in-hospital deaths rose by 19.4 percent and readmissions by 6.5 percent for patients treated during strikes”).

We recommend you check out PW writer Gustavo Martínez Contreras’ 2-week update on the strike.

Stay tuned, because Michael Moore’s presence looms.

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Comments 1 - 21 of 21
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1. Duh said... on Apr 14, 2010 at 02:20PM

“Predident Hart is NOT the president of Temple University Hospital, or Temple University Physicians or Temple University Health System. Moore already has his facts wrong. How can anyone trust this guy ?”

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2. Katy said... on Apr 14, 2010 at 02:24PM

“I don't know about anyone else, but I want the nurse that cares for me to be able to speak up if there are any problems. What is Temple really worried about anyway? I'm not quite certain patients should go to any health care institution if employees don't have any option to speak up. It just doesn't seem very safe.”

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3. Nurse's spouse said... on Apr 14, 2010 at 05:04PM

“To Duh-you need to get your information straight. Ann Weaver Hart is the President of Temple University and PERSONALLY hand picked Temple U. Hospital's CEO-Ed Notebaert. Mr. Notebaert is infamous for going to hospitals and busting up healthcare unions. The kicker is, this administration is using State Funds to do it. That's right-taxpayers' money to disban a union, yet keep Ms. Hart in a luxurious condo in an upscale downtown Philadelphia neighborhood, with a 600,000 salary plus 75,000 expense account. All paid for by subsidies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her expense account is more than what some healthcare workers make in a year. So please don't act as though Michael Moore does not know what he is talking about-we have informed him about our situation very well. Remember, one day we all will be in a hospital, and we will see a doctor for 10 minutes at most, but your nurse is your advocate all day. They really do care for their patients.”

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4. John said... on Apr 16, 2010 at 01:17AM

“Temple, the sapposedly "lung" specialty hospital - turned down my Fathers admittance while he was on life support while on vacation and suffered from a severe lung infection. He died 3 weeks later - BTW Temple was also my Fathers primary Hospital for the past 11 years- IM NOT SUPRISED They are making more lives difficult- Temple Hospital officials are SCUM!”

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5. andi35 said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 12:43PM

“John I am very sorry for your loss and I totally agree they are scum. I will keep you and your family in prayer.”

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6. Amanda said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 06:41PM

“John, so sorry about what happened with your father. Temple only cares about making profits and APPEARING to care about the community surrounding it. Call your representatives and tell them "Stop letting Temple use MY money to break up a union!"”

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7. PASNAP' er said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 06:51PM

“Since March 29, 2010, Jeanes Hospital (a Northeast Philadelphia campus of Temple) has been under a "Code White" (Internal/External Disaster). During this time we are not allowed to leave early (even for a family emergency), call out sick (need a Doctor's note - even for one day), or to take an unscheduled day off. No one in administration will say what the "disaster" is specifically. The surrounding community is unaware of any type of disaster, the news media has made no mention of this great "disaster". I'm sure it as all Temples way of retaliating against the strike. The Jeanes PASNAP contract is not up until November 2010. GO TAP AND TUHNA!!”

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8. susan RN said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 06:57PM

“I would personally love to see Michael Moore join the struggle with these health care professionals. Up until now Temple Univ Hospital administration has taken the bad local publicity with a grain of salt (incidentally not only displaying what little it thinks of its workers, but also the patient population it serves in Philadelphia); it would be interesting to see what if any effect the bad publicity on a national level would have on them. After all, they do boast about their nationally reknown lung center...how many people would fly across the country to place their family in a hospital that is being run short-staffed, by scab employees, whose credentials still have not been validated by the hospital?!”

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9. Anonymous said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 06:58PM

“I'd feel more sorry for them if as a nurse at another hospital I made anywhere near what they made. At a suburb hospital our nurses start at $21/hr. Last year raises were capped at 2%.

It's nice to hate what you have when you have it better than many others. We have nobody fighting for us or listening to us.”

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10. bothrns said... on Apr 18, 2010 at 08:00PM

“Smart, very, very smart. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States of America fund the Temple University Hospital. The hospital is spending 4-5 million dollars a week to fund the strike. After over 4 hours of the union slicing and cutting demands yesterday, the hospital's cheif "negotiator" told US Rep. Brady, that the hospital WILL NOT budge from its "last, best and final" offer it made last September. It seems as though the Temple University Hospital has only one thing in mind, to bust the union of its 1500 professionals. It seems to have no regard for the patients or the community. It is not just nurses. The strikers include, Social Workers, Resp. Therapists, Nurse Anesthestists, Physician Assistaints, the Lab professionals, Radiology Professionals, cardiology and Echo techs, and the list goes on. This is the time to talk and listen, not dictate and stonewall.”

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11. temple rn said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 08:28AM

“to anonymous... yes at a suburban hospital you make less, yet you dont have to pay city wage tax for working at a city hospital and you also dont have to work in an innercity hospital where things are not as how do i say "trying".. and fyi temple rn's have not gotten raises this year either.”

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12. temple rn said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 08:36AM

“re: anonymous- also try working at temple before you say you have it better than many others.. we EARN every penny we make. As for nobody fighting or listening to you, sounds like you need a union as well. contact PASNAP if you want to organize!”

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13. sharon rn said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 11:17AM

I am a Temple nurse and I am so sorry for your loss. You are welcome to come down to the picket line at any time to share your story and vent your frustrations. If Temple has their way many more stories will end in tradgedy. This administration does not care AT ALL!”

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14. Anonymous said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 06:24PM

“Jeanes Hospital and Temple are a joke.The employees don't stand a chance against their management.Clean house of managers with all their titles.”

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15. donna rn said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 06:32PM

“Well Anonymous I've got a deal for you.....get in contact with PASNAP and become a sister/brother after organization. I'm from a suburban hospital and we got a good contract! Don't be judgmental until you've walked (worked) in their shoes! So because you have nobody for you it should be the same for all?

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16. Anonymous said... on Apr 19, 2010 at 09:36PM

“My hospital is "trying" as we are in another city in the suburbs. I know people who work at the city hospitals and we compare and trust me when I say we have a similar patient load. In fact I've been told our number of deliveries is much high than many of the city hospitals...and we have that with the innercity types.

We tried to get a union and it failed.

The amount made here is significantly less than other hospital EVEN if you bumped it up to cover city wage tax.

I've watched "scabs" get bad mouthed. For some...this is a chance to make some money because other hospitals have it terrible and no way to fight it.

And don't be judgemental until you have walked in these shoes either. My point...as a nurse I'm not about to worry that somebody else has it bad. If I could work the strike I would. I need the money and can't make it here. I can't leave because of other issues...so don't even suggest it. The day I can get out...I'm gone.”

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17. donna rn said... on Apr 20, 2010 at 10:22AM

“You made your point, that is WHY nursing is where it is......if I can't have it no one can. Instead of trying to raise yourself up to a greater level you try to pull the upper level down to you. Nursing has been eating its young for a long time and with the unions its slowing it.
You can not blame the Temple nurses because you live in a lower wage rate area. It sounds like you need to make a fresh start including a new profession.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Apr 22, 2010 at 02:15PM

“No you are missing some of my point.

People hide behind unions. They want more more more when sometimes what they have isn't that bad. The union tells it's bad so they go fight for more. My point is just because you don't like what you have doesn't mean it's bad. Temple doesn't have it horrible.

I don't need a new profession because I think people should be happy with what they have when it's really not that bad. It's okay to compare things and in comparison...they don't have it that bad.

Maybe those who want want want...maybe they need a new profession.”

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19. Anonymous said... on Apr 24, 2010 at 11:03AM

“#18 and maybe those who wallow in complacency are in no position to judge!
What is the nurse to patient ratio where you work and what kind of floor is it? Have you been afraid to walk to your car at night in the parking garage that you have to pay to use? How many times has your car been broken into in that lot? How many patients do you see with AIDS, HEP C, TB etc? Comparing the conditions from suburban hospitals to Philly are night and day. To walk a line and not get paid to make a point says something about these professionals. They have the courage of their convictions. They never claimed they did not like what they have, I think the majority of them love their jobs, or they would come to the suburbs and take jobs there when there were openings. They are not just fighting about a raise, there is so much more to it. There are things like staffing, lack of equipment, equipment in bad repair, loss of benefits, loss of differentials for nights and weekends and more. (continued)”

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20. Anonymous said... on Apr 24, 2010 at 11:06AM

“It seems to me it is about the right to take a real role in the care of patients, the right to say we need more help if this job will be done properly, the right to say fix things so that people do not die, and the right to maintain what they have in a very trying environment. DO not believe everything either side says, really read the coverage. The group that continues to contradict themselves is usually the one not telling the whole story,,,figure out who that is and then think about what is going on here for real! Google the names involved, google Temple hospital 990, see where the finances are, really look!!”

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21. Anonymous said... on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:11AM

“How long has Sandy Gomber been CEO? Hospital workers talk about how the last CEO was filtering funds out of the hospital before they stepped down to take a job with the new casino project of Philadelphia. This led to the TUH system to loose lots of money and lead to the closing of Northeastern Hospital and now to cutting benefits from the workers. If all the employees talk about this, why has no one investigated it. Is it just hospital gossip or is their truth to these scrub room chats?”


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