Friday, September 28, 2012


I am not a union punk by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this is only the second time in my life that I have been forced to pay union dues. The last time was when I worked on-air and in the newsroom at Q-93/CKIX.  Frankly, I accept that incredible sacrifices union leaders have made to ensure equality, equity, safety and collective rights for workers. However, there are times, like today, where I think unions help protect the lazy and the stupid.

Arbitration hearings to protect people who steal, cheat or  refuse to do their jobs really bug me. Some people do not seem to have any concept of self-responsibility any more. There does not appear to be a clear understanding of right or wrong.

In fact, right or wrong is often not the issue. Securing a doctors note using stress, your poor sex life or some addiction to justify an inexcusable work place offense sickens me to the core. It undermines the good work, the incredibly vital role of unions to protect workers rights.

So imagine my reaction when I hear the news that a serial snooper, a clerk at St. Clare's Hospital, who was fired for looking at more than 20 private medical files, will get her job back. It is one of those WTF? Moments?

An arbitrator has ruled that the employee should be reinstated after she serves an eight-month suspension. NAPE’s President Carol Furlong is quoted as saying "From our perspective it was a good decision”. Again I say WTF?

Something is really flawed, screwed-up and wrong when an employer can not fire someone for something as obviously wrong as looking at confidential patient information, accessing someones most private details.

This is not rumbling through your neighbors’ medicine cabinet. It is a very grievous intrusion into patient-doctor confidentiality.  I think Furlong looks out of touch with an issue that really bothers the public. Good luck trying to earn the respect or sympathy of the public in a negotiation year. This clerk, and the union’s defense of her, might just become the symbol of what is wrong with public sector unions. Talk about throwing government a bone to hammer you over the head with.


Anonymous said...

Cannot see how anyone could disagree with your comments. My feelings exactly.

Anonymous said...

The optics are not good. The union should have just accepted the ruling, spoke to how serious the issue of secrecy is and asked the membership to be more responsible.

Instead they look like cheerleaders for the individual! Makes all public servants look like they can do whatever they want without repercussions.

Anonymous said...

NAPE President Carole Furlong supports the arbitrator's decision.

I wonder what she would say if it was her medical records were snooped by a complete stranger?

Particularly mental health records?