"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day

Yesterday, I celebrated Labor Day as I normally would--relaxing, some shopping with my wife and friends (some decent sales on golf clothes), afternoon beach time, a dinner of a low country boil and college football (Go Terps!).  Labor Day is the only holiday that I really don't think of as a holiday of any recognition.  It is simply a day off. 

I don't come from a union background.  My father was in a union sort of; as a police detective, he was a member of the Police Benevolent Association.  In fact, my earliest experience with a union was when I was early in my career in health care and it wasn't a good one.  The Operating Engineers at the hospital where I worked went on strike and I was the Assistant Director of Materials Management.  Most truck drivers were teamsters and wouldn't cross the picket line.  I had to assemble a team of managers and supervisors to pick up supplies, equipment, blood, drugs, food and bring them across the picket line.  I crossed the picket line numerous times to personal threats, attacks, punctured tires and holes in the radiators of trucks, vans and cars.  I was followed and tracked by union workers from other locals, I was in vehicle chases carrying medical supplies and equipment and I was run off the road.  The strike was over after about two weeks, but it was the longest two weeks of my life.  The strike catapulted my career since the Director of Materials Management was older and had a family.  He wouldn't cross the picket line out of concern for his personal safety and his family's wellbeing.  I was 25 years old, married, but no kids.  He was my mentor and I told him that I would handle it.  However, the CEO was not happy with the Director's lack of commitment and his 9-to-5 work day during the strike when the rest of us were working around the clock.  The Director was told to begin looking for a new job as he had no future at that hospital going forward.  He had a new job that year and I was promoted.  

Anyway, back to Labor Day.  Recognition of workers after the deadly Pullman Strike was with great merit; however, Teamsters boss, James Hoffa, threatening to" take people out"  referring to the GOP and Tea Party members this past Labor Day brings me back to those not-so-memorable days.

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