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Posted by (name unknown) on Oct 20th, 2017 11:28am

“Fake news” has unfortunately become part of our culture. This time, however, we have an opportunity – and in fact an obligation – to correct it. If you needed additional proof that the Massachusetts Nurses Association union is focused less on patient care and more on trying to damage hospitals to advance its misguided upcoming ballot initiative to force mandatory staffing ratios, look no further than the recent false press release distributed by the MNA. The nurses’ union untruthfully said Berkshire Medical Center, which was the target of a recent union strike action, had withdrawn its unfair labor practices complaint against the union – when in reality it was the MNA that withdrew a complaint against the hospital.

MNA issued a retraction, of course, and claimed their leaders had “mis-read” the National Labor Relations Board actions. In the union’s zeal to attack Berkshire, they missed something very important – the facts – as they consistently have done in their efforts to advance their mandatory ratios agenda.

And the facts are clear about our state’s healthcare system. Massachusetts hospitals work collaboratively with their teams of doctors, nurses, and a wide range of other clinicians and support staff to achieve some of the best healthcare outcomes for quality and patient safety in the country. Those are the facts.

The Berkshire incident is the latest in a pattern of reckless MNA actions designed to politicize contract negotiations and inflict harm on hospitals.  A June 2017 MNA memo issued before a Tufts Medical Center nurses strike also indicated that the union leadership wanted to pick a strike date “most harmful to the hospital.”

In their own words in both situations, it’s clear that the union is more interested in hurting hospitals than it is in helping patients, or even its own members. That the MNA attempted to validate the Berkshire falsehoods using quotes from their members that were clearly based on inaccurate information provided by the union leadership is particularly disturbing.

There was one true statement in the MNA’s erroneous press release, but it’s not about the hospital, it really reflects the MNA’s own behavior: "This charge was obviously just a public relations ploy, one of many baseless accusations[.]” The union’s false claims and disingenuous actions throughout both the Tufts and Berkshire contract negotiations have been hypocritical and self-serving. And this fact should not be forgotten as the public debate over this issue takes shape over the coming year.

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