Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of May 4, 2000

The problems in health care did not come from the unionized workers, they have occurred as a result of corporate greed and managed care. Nurses are working harder, with more patients, worse conditions, and less benefits. As a result patient care is declining. I have been a nurse for more than 31 years, and I believe that forming a union for nurses and other health care workers is the only way we can significantly change health care so that we have a say in how things are done, and how the money is spent.

The complaints from these people are ridiculous. How dare they even mention (and how dare you even print) the obviously homophobic charges about the executive director and the president. Who cares how much their house costs? How can you print such insults without even giving the names of the "dissident" nurses?

Your biased, poorly researched article was gleefully duplicated by many anti-union lawyers and distributed to many hospitals. It has caused damage to the thousands of nurses in Florida who are striving to have a voice in taking care of your family. I hope that if you are hospitalized you will be taken care of by a union nurse who is appreciated by her employer, who makes a good salary, who has enough time to spend with you, who is not exhausted and frazzled, who is using modern and safe equipment, whose work is not being done by poorly paid, unlicensed personnel, and who can fearlessly speak up about the quality of your care.

Noreen C. Prill, RN

Nurses: The Truth Lies in Between
I have been an SEIU member at Jackson Memorial Hospital since the union's inception in 1991. I have not been active but have regularly paid my dues. I do what I do best, which is nursing, and I leave union issues in the hands of the union.

What I do know is that SEIU has been very good to me. We have the best working contract of any hospital in Florida. Recently they handled a grievance for me and my fellow associate head nurses that resulted in an average check of $4000 for back pay.

I was shocked to see the smiling faces of the three nurses in the article. Two of them I personally know and with regard to one, I have serious professional concerns. As for the union representatives who were let go, I dealt with one on several occasions. I finally had to write to the union concerning that nurse's unprofessional approach toward me and a disruptive attitude on the unit.

I guess what I am saying is that Kathy Glasgow's article addressed only the two sides: the three angry nurses and the legal representative for SEIU. The truth lies in the middle, with the members. Ask us. As for me, SEIU has been good about addressing my concerns and improving my working conditions.

Nick Cassun, RN, MSN
via the Internet

Transit Blues
Elizabeth Lanteigne has a few hundred thousand choice words for the county's public-transportation system
By Victor Cruz

Thanks to Metrorail, I Finished War and Peace
As I sat at the Brickell Metrorail station reading New Times, I came across Victor Cruz's article in the "Metro" section about Elizabeth Lanteigne and her battles with the public transportation system ("Transit Blues," March 9). I was able to read the article while waiting for the southbound train to arrive. I also read the next article and the next and the next. The reason I did so much reading that afternoon was that the train I was waiting for took nearly 40 minutes to arrive. I was obviously a little upset at the delay. But as I read the article about Mrs. Lanteigne, I thought about all the money Miami-Dade has spent on her numerous complaints. You might think a person in my shoes that afternoon, reading that article, might applaud the efforts of this elderly woman in her fight against the system.

But I cannot help wonder if the money that went into defending against and settling with Mrs. Lanteigne might have been better spent on more trains, more operators, or something that could keep me from sitting at the Brickell station reading the New Times for 40 minutes. Nothing against New Times. I just wanted to get home.

I certainly have not been riding as long as Mrs. Lanteigne, but I have never seen any problems while using the public transportation, except for the tardiness of the trains. I just think maybe she is laying it on a little thick. She may have gotten a rough ride once or twice, but the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for her legal action.

Lawrence Sudderth

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