Setting the Record Straight
Message from HGEA President Randy "F*** You" Perreira to membership, January 10, 2015 (see debunk below)
You may have read Star-Advertiser political writer Richard Borreca’s latest misstatement of facts in his column this past Tuesday about the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Mr. Borreca used the column to erroneously state the HGEA strategy and position on HHSC, so allow me to set the record straight.
The HGEA has been involved for a number of years in discussions about the future and sustainability of our state hospital system. This interest is not only because we represent employees in the hospitals, but because our neighbor island members and family, including retirees, need access to these hospitals as the only means of health care in their community. We have always been willing to participate in discussions and reach agreements to make changes to our public system to replicate private sector hospital practices – but unfortunately, the leadership of the HHSC has never been willing to make fair comparisons with the private sector and instead approaches all conversations with the expectation that employees of HHSC should be prepared to work for less.
Until today, HHSC leadership attempts to scapegoat unionized HHSC employees as THE reason for the system’s financial difficulties, totally disregarding other causes that stress the finances of the state. The HHSC propaganda suggests that private operation of these facilities is the resolution to all ills, completely ignoring the fact that to provide services on the neighbor islands to replicate service levels on Oahu will be very costly, making it financially problematic for any private operator to survive without government (read: taxpayer) support. But once again Mr. Borreca has taken the bait and is parroting the words of the proponents of privatizing the hospitals, ignoring the true cost drivers and joining the anti-union bandwagon.
We challenge Mr. Borreca and others who have blamed unionized employees to produce facts to support their claims. After all, nearly every private hospital in Hawaii is organized – so how is it that those hospitals can pay union wages and benefits and HHSC cannot? It’s time for our new Governor to get to the bottom of things and really see what is truly challenging HHSC finances. Perhaps then we will all be able to see a path to resolution more clearly.
by Andrew Walden
Richard Borreca explained January 6: "The HGEA knows change to the hospital contract will not help union members, and a damaged membership will not support the existing union leaders. So stall, talk and then block is the course of action for the HGEA."
Borreca is 100% accurate as far as HGEA's legislative strategy--"stall, talk and then block"--but he is mistaken on one point: Union members would benefit immensely from getting HGEA off their backs. The threat to Perriera would come not from hospital workers but from ambitious challengers who would take him to task in the next union election for losing so many members. All of the problems sister isle medical patients face trace back to Randy Perreira's need to keep his pathetic little union presidency job.
Everybody knows HHSC is doomed. The HGEA and the UPW will lose control of these jobs when the hospitals are closed down for lack of funds. So Perreira is really just protecting himself from being blamed when the inevitable occurs.
Perreira asks how private sector unionized hospitals can pay union wages? Simple: Private sector hospitals don't have to put up with HGEA work rules. Duh.
What Perreira conveniently fails to note is that non-HGEA hospitals pay MORE than HGEA hospitals. His sorry excuse for a union is keeping workers' wages down and requiring them to expend themselves in endless gaming of the overtime system just to make ends meet while they count the days to retirement. Workers in private sector hospitals don't have to do that. Perreira says HHSC management wants employees to work for less? Nonsense. After dumping HGEA, employees will earn more, but cost less to employ.
Maui Nurses know the HGEA is not representing them well: Listen to them telling Gov Abercrombie about it
The real question is what is taking HHSC employees so long? Since they earn less but cost more to employ, (think about that for a minute) obviously what they must do is decertify the HGEA and replace it with a private-sector union so they can make more money and the hospitals which employ them can be saved.
Time is running out....
Reference: Hawai’i State Hospital Employees Game Overtime System
HGEA's real program: Hospital Reform? Randy Perreira Says "F*** You"
Reality: Last Chance? Maui Memorial Proposes Partnership with Straub, Pali Momi--HGEA Rejects
More Reality: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)