Mar 11, 2009

Contentious Times

As I photographed the demonstration this morning at St. Lukes, Allentown, I noticed a protesting union member photographing me. On Feb. 24, The Morning Call printed my blog about the Card Check Proposal, including my photograph of the union thugs from "On The Waterfront." That publication resulted in a robust back and forth between pro and con union people on the Topix forum. Since then, the paper has published two letters, both from Union Organizers, taking issue with my position on the blog. The most recent letter stated my inclusion of the photograph, implying intimidation, was an insult to the Unions.
Back to this morning, I crossed the street to confront my photographer. I asked how they could stage something so demonstrative and be concerned that someone was photographing it? The protester, from the Carpenters Union, was very polite and not at all menacing. He declined to discuss my question or their protest, but did give me a printout. His Union is upset that St. Lukes has engaged a construction manager, whose subcontractors use non-union workers, for a new outpatient center in Montgomery County.
Yesterday, The Morning Call published a surprising editorial opposed to the Card Check System. The editors have issues with both the lack of secret ballot and the timing in our current economy. I should also note that on Saturday, in an article about changing their Editor- in- Chief, they hinted at producing a more controversial publication.
Personally, although opposed to the Card Check Law, I am not anti-union. I used the photograph from the movie because one of the people shown was a relative. I believe that hundreds of comments on Mcall, indicate that the Card Check is very contentious,and should receive much more public discourse prior to any vote.


Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Michael, this might be a little off-topic, but your latest piece reminds me of the same union's past appearances (with the rat) outside the Promenade Shops.

What a waste of union dues and manpower.

Hey, I was once a dues-paying member of PSEA ($650 per year), but demonstrations like this are pointless. I was ALWAYS against visibly striking. Thankfully, only once in my 33 year career did my group have such an action.

Assuming such demonstrations COULD work at the Promenade, we should expect to see patronage dramatically decline, which it clearly did not, and will not, no matter how often the rat shows up.

Or, the ownership admitting their mistake, ripping everything out, then re-building all over again. Don't hold your breath.

I find such demonstrations difficult to understand in today's America.

michael molovinsky said...

of course all of us would hope not to need the services of a hospital, but when such a need occurs, their union stance would be the last thing on our mind. this particular demonstration concerned a project in montgomery county. i found it interesting that a union in phila. has $130 million to invest (morning call article about lou peckor projects). unions appear to be big business. i would be willing to host a pro union or pro card check posting if any readers are so inclined.

Anonymous said...

I love it how everyone comes to Allentown to exercise their political ideology.

Anonymous said...

MM -

Thanks for the update.

I had passed St. Luke's Allentown a few days ago and saw some people on the corner holding a mock coffin with the word "wages" inside. I wondered what was up since the Allentown expansion was largely completed some time ago. I guess the coffin was related to the protest you saw yesterday.

It seems odd, however, to be protesting here for something happening in Montgomery County. Unless there was a board meeting being held in Allentown, the top officers of the hospital are over in Bethlehem and (as you mentioned) this protest is unlikely to deter anyone who really needs to visit the hospital.

Mike Schware

michael molovinsky said...

i suspect this is St. Lukes most visible site, with the bethlehem hospital tucked up on fountain hill. there was no attempt to hand out their flyers to passing vehicles, my "photographer" retrieved one from a plastic case. among other things, it says; "we cannot believe that St. Lukes would turn their backs on the Carpenters whose health benefits helped St. Lukes net $4.5 million in profits in 2008." i should also not that at the bottom, in small print, it says; "we are not asking anyone to cease work or refuse to make deliveries."