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.”

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, 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 health care.

“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 health-care in Minnesota. And the last time I checked, nurses play a big role in health care.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/27/2010 - 08:37 pm.

    Nurses that I know, were more concerned with how the National organization were calling the shots for the local. My take was that the local did not necessarily agree with the Nationals influence. Of course this is purely anecdotal, but it would be interesting to get the perspective of nurses that were ambivalent towards the strategy of the National.

  2. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/28/2010 - 09:47 am.

    Minnpost should be embarassed to be printing this kind of tripe.

    The criticism of Horner by the union is based on the fact that his public relations efforts, which consisted of demonizing the union, worsened the situation. And its relevant to the governor’s race because it exposes Horner as a fraud when he claims to be a moderate and the voice of common sense.

    Richard, I know nurses who were ambivalent about the strike, but who were offended by Horner’s lies. He wasn’t a problem solver – he poured gas on the fire. Which is why he is the absolute wrong solution for Minnesota. And why Minnesotans have such a negative opinion of him and are overwhelmingly rejecting his dishonest candidacy.

  3. Submitted by Joe Williams on 10/28/2010 - 11:32 am.

    Unfortunately, this is a case of everyone doing their jobs well, isn’t it? It is unfortunate that the negotiations were as emotional and divisive as they were, but both sides were asking for things that were rigid and unfair. MNA did an awful job of negotiating for patient safety, but the hospitals didn’t seem interested in preserving the health and welfare of their nurses, either.

    The best things that are coming out of this entire health care debacle are those that are improving access to health care to those who cannot afford it. CCDS, for one.

  4. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/28/2010 - 04:27 pm.

    Actually, this is a case of Tom Horner doing his job exceedingly poorly. He made a bad situation worse by upping the emotional and divisive rhetoric. The last thing this situation needed was a guy like Tom Horner. Which is why Horner is a terrible choice for governor, and why Minnesotans are overwhelmingly rejecting him.

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