Policy

Minnesota nurses union really doesn’t like Tom Horner

I’ll say this about the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) — the union sure knows how to hold a grudge. Last week, the MNA blasted Tom Horner, calling the Independence Party candidate for governor and former public relations executive “disingenuous and borderline condescending.”

I’ll say this about the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) — the union sure knows how to hold a grudge.

Last week, the MNA blasted  Tom Horner, calling the Independence Party candidate for governor and former public relations executive “disingenuous and borderline condescending.”

Horner’s major crime? Advising Twin Cities hospitals during its contentious labor spat with the nurses union last summer. The MNA apparently didn’t like the advice Horner offered the hospitals, which, according to the union, consisted of painting “nurses as greedy, overly emotional and irrational employees.”

The hospitals “spent hundreds of thousands — maybe even millions — of dollars on a PR and advertising blitz that did nothing to settle our contract and instead sewed divisiveness and discord between the employer and nurses,” registered nurse Bettye Shogren said in a statement.

“Horner followed that up with advising the Twin Cities Hospitals to waste nearly $24 million in operating expenses on a one-day strike, along with millions more in lost revenue,” she said. “Is that Tom Horner’s idea of being cost-conscious? If so, I think more than just nurses should be wary of voting for this guy.”

Um … Horner didn’t call a one-day strike against the hospitals, the union did. As for the PR advice, well, maybe the hospitals should ask for a refund. The MNA has done an excellent job of painting itself as overly emotional and irrational.

By the MNA’s rationale (and I use that term loosely), the nurses are the only ones allowed to manipulate public opinion for their own purposes.

Oh, please. In any labor conflict, management and workers throw verbal punches at each other. But that apparently disqualifies Tom Horner from being governor.

Not surprisingly, the political action committees of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) and the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) endorsed Horner. But unlike the MNA, the endorsements have something to do with healthcare.

“The PAC board’s primary consideration for the endorsement decision was the candidates’ positions on the key issues affecting Minnesota’s residents and the quality, affordability and accessibility of the health care they receive,” Mary Klimp, Minnesota Hospital PAC board chair, said in a statement.

“Typically, we don’t endorse candidates, but the projected state budget shortfall and the significant changes that lie ahead for healthcare delivery and financing over the next several years call for us to speak in support of the thoughtful, balanced positions and leadership Tom Horner offers,” MHA CEO Lawrence Massa said in a statement.

Not once in the MNA’s rant did the union mention its favorite phrase — “patient safety.” Nor did the MNA explain how Horner’s election would help or hurt healthcare in Minnesota. And the last time I checked, nurses play a big role in healthcare.

Instead, the union comes across as political, bitter and vindictive. Maybe the MNA needs better public relations.

Say, I know someone….