The Nurses Union and supporters showed in force at yesterday’s University Health System address. (The Michigan Student Assembly passed a resolution in support of the nurses earlier this month.) Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, CEO of UMHS, reluctantly acknowledged the presence of 200 nurses with arms crossed lining the auditorium and about a dozen UM students sitting in the front row. Attempting to break the line of red Dr. Pescovitz invited the nurses to fill the empty seats – no one moved.
It took a mere two slides of powerpoint and 5 minutes of speech before it was clear that Dr. Pescovitz’s address would work as an argument against her position at the bargaining table. Dr. Pescovitz enthusiastically stated again and again that ‘ideal patient care experience’ was essential to financial future of UHS. And yet the very people that work so hard to ensure that experience — the thousands of nurses at UHS — are being asked to work more for less.
The gap between Dr. Pescovitz’s rhetoric and action was brought into sharp relief by her appeal to the wisdom of Hellen Keller –
“The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker”
If Dr. Pescovitz believes the words of Keller, then she and UHS ought to show it by giving these honest workers a fair contract.