The Congress and the White House have worked together to give union bosses bailouts and handouts to the extent we have never seen.  But there appears to be no end in sight.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced legislation for taxpayers to bailout troubled union pension funds, legislation that will cost taxpayers another $165 billion.  Perhaps rather than spending a billion dollars a year in political ads and campaigns, the money would be better suited to ensure union workers retirement funds are secure.

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3 Responses to Yet Another Union Bailout: $165 billion

  1. Nerdse says:

    Sorry, bumped the wrong button…someone who needed a “neb” couldn’t always wait, but since nurses weren’t allowed by the union to do respiratory therapy jobs, nurses had to stew & wait until an overworked RT could set up a neb. At the large tertiary care hospital where I’d worked before, nurses gave all nebulizers; RT just set us up with the things we needed. I gave my end-stage lung cancer patient a saline neb to tide her over & it helped. I was blessed that the RT on duty allowed me to take care of things like that for her, & came by enough times to cover for me.
    NOW YOU KNOW WHY THE IOM FOUND SO MANY MEDICAL “ERRORS.” They are NOT always errors – they are quite often union-instituted restriction & sanctions.
    On the OTHER hand…
    Hospitals without unions often hire fewer nurses, forcing them to work with an unsafe patient load, which drives nurses to seek unionization. Unions are the only ones who’ve been successful in instituting ratios to increase patient safety. In fact, just before I got too disabled to work, I was near a room with a meeting, trying to get past without disturbing them, when I heard this through the open door:
    You will not use agency nurses, no matter how many patients the nurses have or who has called out. No, you are not going to get more positions. Yes, we closed positions. We couldn’t fill them anyway & it stops Joint Commission from issuing a citation every time they come by for the number of open positions we have. No, they will not be re-opened. Make do with the staff you have. This isn’t just happenning here; it’s a System-wide mandate (i.e., all the hospitals in a big hospital system).
    So, now you see how Joint Commission, rather than use common sense that there is a NURSING SHORTAGE (induced, actually), & thus positions cannot always be filled, instead punishes healthcare facilities for open positions – but does not look to see if, historically, a work area had more open positions to determine if staff are caring for an unsafe patient load.
    BUT – satisfying Joint Commission that way leads to the risk of more medical errors due to fatigue & overwork (including mandatory overtime, instituted no matter how tired the nurse might be). Pretty soon, Joint Commission is citing them for something else that could not be helped given the circumstances. IF there is a nurses’ union, however, Joint Commission won’t cite the healthcare facility on as high a level; they’ll blame the union.
    Which makes it actually better for a hospital to have a nurses’ union, because the “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” open nursing positions problem is eased up a bit for them.
    It doesn’t help that Medicare reimbursement (& Medicaid) is at an all-time low, cutting the profit margin (keep in mind, a nonprofit puts profits back into the system for expansion, repairs, hiring staff, etc) – at a time when the government is insisting healthcare facilities buy computer systems. In the late 90s, a turnkey healthcare system (one that is very, very basic & difficult to use in most cases) was $10 MILLION for a base contract for a 5 year period, & that doesn’t include the cost of buying computer hardware that can accept the software, or of setting up wireless networks.
    On top of that, HIPAA & Sarbanes-Oxley, EPA, general & specialty laboratory, imaging, patient care, pharmacy, & other regulatory agencies CHARGE THE HOSPITAL MONEY to do a survey, adding a huge regulatory burden. For example, if you don’t do a finger stick test for blood sugar levels on a diabetic in just one way, the lab gets gigged for a point of care diagnostic test violation, & the way you have to do it increases the required time for the procedure quite a bit – with no discernible difference in results for the most part.
    You know, there’s not just a nursing shortage out there; almost all healthcare providers have shortages with the exception of physicians – except in primary care, where the reimbursement is so low that it isn’t worth a physician’s while to stay with family care even though it’s the backbone of medical care.
    Now you know why – too many regulators, too much punishment, too many foolish demands on limited resources.
    AND you also know now why healthcare costs so much – someone has to pay these regulatory agencies who spend all their time making new & more burdensome regulations to justify their existence. Someone has to pay for computer systems that are so user unfriendly they get between caregivers & patients, that are placed on balky low – end Windows computers or even computer terminals (1960s computing, anyone?) that crash constantly, & software that doesn’t allow clinicians to do something basic to all computer work – save their work intermittently – because the LAWYERS think intermittent saves mean nurses are editing their notes to make themselves look good – that they’re falsifying information. Someone has to pay the lawyers for all the lawsuits for poor care because people are leaving healthcare wholesale (it’ll get worse with Obamacare). Plus, the computer systems are cruddy because it costs more to pay enough computer professionals to maintain a decent system than it costs to hire nurses (computer professionals generally make more than nurses, even with the shortage, so hospitals would rather tick off nurses & hire new ones because it’s cheaper).
    Yeah, I know – quite a chain, huh? But all of this chain comes back to one thing:
    IN ORDER TO GET THE RIGHT TO GIVE GOOD PATIENT CARE, nurses eventually feel forced to unionize – THEN the UNION gets in the way of good patient care, along with all these regulatory agencies – & Obamacare is going to create 110 NEW REGULATORY AGENCIES. So, Obama, whose healthcare bill never addressed any of the real problems to begin with, gives in to unions for 2 basic reasons: 1. Try to get nurses who left the profession to return with a false promise of better working conditions, AND, 2. Because any good Communist – er, I mean Socialist – system is filled with unions who paralyze all functionality.

  2. Nerdse says:

    I once had to work under a union. I actually had other nurses tell me to quit working so hard because I was making them look bad. I always asked them one question: If you or someone you love was sick in the hospital, who would you want caring for you – me, or someone like them? They would always walk away, knowing one thing: For me, nursing is a calling; for them, it’s a job, & it’s a job you work for money, doing as little as you can to avoid getting fired. In addition, there were labor union divisions for respiratory therapy, physical/ocupational/recreational/speech & language therapy; laboratory; imaging…& if you did work that was assigned to them alone, the union would make sure you were fired. This was an inconvenience, but it could be fatal at times if you have one respiratory therapist working several floors, & someone with a chronic respiratory illness could easily code without the proper nebulizer treat

  3. monica murray says:

    Stop the bailouts! Under no circumstances should we bail out the Unions and should have NEVER bailed out GM. What a disgrace our current Government is destroying our nation and if things do not turn around this November, many of us, many, will go to new country and take all our money with us!! Then who will bail out the Nation!!!! Stop trampling on the Constitution!! Baillouts are UNconstitutional!!