The Aug. 14 Gazette opinion about the Billings Clinic contract rejection by the membership of the Montana Nurses Association sounded like it was copied verbatim from the Union Busters Playbook.
Despite the bargaining issues that were referred to and that were the apparent cause of the rejection, The Gazette’s anti-union bias was plainly evident in the sorry argument that the "union" is complicating the bargaining process through its intermediary nature and that hospital management's hands are tied because they have to deal through the "middleman" of the union. The only reason that there are any contract negotiations taking place at all is because the nurses at the Billings Clinic have the courage, integrity and sense of justice to negotiate over their wages, benefits and conditions of employment rather than just take whatever bone that management is willing to throw at them.
The nurses are the union, and the union overwhelmingly rejected the hospitals proposal. Since 1968, Billings Clinic nurses have set the standards for wages and benefits for all of the Billings area health care nurses. Any concessions by these brave care providers will have a devastating effect on the rest of the billings health care "industry" workers.
My family and I have elected to receive our health care from Billings Clinic because of the Clinic's prior reputation of respect for the union rights of its employees. There are other likeminded "patients" in this community and we are aware of the other available sources. If push really comes to shove, I'd be proud to join the Billings Clinic nurses on their picket line.