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Opinion: Porter Medical Center engaged in union busting

I am writing in response to Angelo Lynn’s editorial of Nov. 9. The idea that it is necessary to cut healthcare coverage to part-time employees in order to save Porter Medical Center from financial ruin would be believable if this strategy weren’t so obviously a classic union-busting tactic.
First, the target of the cuts is the most vulnerable group of employees at Porter — the workers with the least political and economic clout, some of whom are also union members. The tactic is to remove benefits from one set of workers but retain those benefits for others in order to break down solidarity among the workers, and in this case, among union members.
This dynamic sets the benefitted and the non-benefitted workers in competition with each other for “scarce” resources and creates resentment among the have-nots for the haves. Further, it establishes an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the workplace, fear of who will be targeted next and what further disasters might befall already economically stressed families.
It is obvious that we are expected to believe that the part-time workers’ healthcare benefits are a threat to the survival of Porter and therefore a threat to every Addison County individual. This is not a reasonable premise. The truth is that all the people of Addison County, employed or unemployed, full-time or part-time, should have equal access to healthcare. Healthcare must be a public good and a universal human right, not a favor to be bestowed on those who are privileged and withheld from those who are not. Our community does not gain because some of us suffer an undeserved hardship.
If Porter’s survival is threatened by the cost of healthcare benefits, is the Porter administration also giving up their own healthcare benefits in order to save the institution? After all, one might think that the administrators, with higher salaries, would be in a better position than the part-time employees to purchase the expensive policies available on the Exchange.
I, as a consumer of Porter Medical services, need to know that the employees are dealt with respectfully and with regard for their own needs and the needs of their families. If the institution is worth having, that is the kind of organization it needs to be.
Millard Cox, Ripton

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