Both Wednesday Journal and Pioneer Press printed paid advertisements in their early July issues entitled “Swift Injustice,” subtitled “When arbitrary discipline didn’t silence nurse Laura Buenrostro, West Sub hospital management eliminated her job.”
My family and I have been connected to West Suburban Medical Center since the early 1980s. We, friends and community members have used the hospital for our needs, emergency and non-emergency. At no time have I, my family or any other community members with whom I have spoken, ever complained of poor, inadequate or uncaring service. Yet, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 – the union that has campaigned for the past seven years to organize the Resurrection Health Care system – has consistently and persistently characterized West Sub as uncaring, unqualified and unaccredited.
It has picketed meetings of local organizations, which have no affiliation with West Sub. But, unfortunately, the organization had a member who was a part of West Sub’s leadership. It has hired non-union or unaffiliated persons to picket the hospital. It has spread lies about West Sub’s quality of care at places like the farmers’ market. AFSCME has used such pressure to circumvent an election of employees to its union, instead making life difficult (unbearable) for hospital senior staff in the hope that management would cave and give the unionization of its employees to AFSCME. Any rational person would have to question such tactics.
The advertisement is the most recent case in point. It is replete with inaccuracies and untruths. For example, nurse Laura Buenrostro is depicted as being the victim of a job loss for her organizing efforts. That is not true! West Sub, as do most organizations struggling to make ends meet at a difficult time and in a difficult business, must consider reductions in staff in response to a reduction in the number of patients being served. Ms. Buenrostro happened to be a part-time staff member who was affected by the need for reductions. But with no interruption in her pay or benefits, she was offered (and accepted) a full-time position at a Resurrection Hospital a mere 15 minutes from West Sub. The decision to reduce staff in Ms. Buenrostro’s work area was made before the June 20 appearance mentioned in the ad.
I bring this to the attention of our community because it deserves to know what is the real story about health care delivery by West Sub and the lengths AFSCME will go in order to tell an untrue or half-true story to achieve its ends. AFSCME ended a recent television ad with the quote “West Suburban Hospital is a risky choice.” As a potential member of AFSCME, I would conclude, from the type of campaign it is waging, that joining AFSCME would be a risky choice.
Martin Noll was a West Sub board member until its merger with Resurrection. He chairs West Suburban Sentinel Corp., the entity formed to ensure that the merger agreement is fulfilled.