'Have you no shame?': Albany Medical Center CEO accuses union of disrupting gala

The CEO of Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center emailed staff this week criticizing a nurses union demonstration during a recent gala, according to the Times Union.

James Barba wrote Dec. 9 that he has "turned the other cheek" in the last year or so "as the nurses union organizers have put my name on inflatable characters; as they have paraded a truck with my name and picture on it through the streets of Albany; and as they have attempted through TV ads, using my name, to further ridicule me, our board of directors and others."

While he considered all of this "par for the course," he said he "draw[s] a line" at what took place Dec. 6 at Albany Medical Center's Dancing in the Woods gala, which raises money for the medical center's child cancer program.

Mr. Barba said that a handful of union organizers showed up in the parking lot outside the gala to distribute flyers "making their same points." He said the efforts disturbed guests and that their cars were littered.

"To the union folks who organized this demonstration, to those who participated in it, and to those who supported the idea, I have only one question: Have you no shame?" he wrote. "This was an event to help very sick children." 

Albany Medical Center declined to comment to the Times Union about the email, which was endorsed by Dennis P. McKenna, MD, who will succeed Mr. Barba next year.

But Colonie Police Lt. Robert Winn said officers saw several people leafleting in the parking lot who left promptly and peacefully when asked to, according to the newspaper. 

A photographer at the gala told the newspaper he did not notice upset guests.

The email comes as the New York State Nurses Association negotiates a contract on behalf of Albany Medical Center nurses. 

In a union statement to the Times Union, Melissa Barden, a nurse in the medical center's pediatric unit responded to Mr. Barba's letter: "More than 200 other nurse positions remain unfilled, jeopardizing patient care, including care for children."

Another union representative asked Mr. Barba to stop refusing to fill the nurse positions, according to the newspaper. 

Albany Medical Center attributed the open nurse positions to a statewide nursing shortage, the newspaper said. 

 

More articles on human resources:
Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato spars with union over open bargaining
University Hospital, 900 RNs reach tentative labor deal
McLaren Macomb Hospital loses challenge to union election, considers appeal 

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