By: Eric Fisher – August, 2011
If it can happen to Newburyport, it can happen to YOU. Notice it says, “to Newburyport” because Electrician’s Union IBEW Local 103 has decided that since it lost a bid to work on Newburyport’s Anna Jaques Hospital, that it’s going to make not only the hospital but also the whole town of Newburyport suffer for it – that’s right, Union Bullying 101.
On any given day, one can find up to a dozen IBEW 103 members in Newburyport, allegedly being paid $100+ per day, sitting on downtown benches, tossing spent cigarette butts in every direction, passing out fliers full of malicious, questionably accurate information and, as of late, accompanied by a 15ft inflatable rat which, not so ironically, represents the union’s behavior more so than that of their intended target. In fact, a few days ago, the rat’s air compressor was pouring exhaust fumes directly into the front door of a local ice cream store. Locals and store employees had previously asked nicely for the union to move the compressor but their pleas were refused until the fire chief arrived and demanded it. To add insult to injury, IBEW Local 103 has a plane buzzing over the town each weekend with a banner in tow, advertising the web address of their attack site, and with complete disregard for any outdoor events (graduations, weddings, etc.) that might be taking place. Allegedly, they have a year-long permit to continue pulling these stunts and they’re on record as saying they’re in it for the long haul.
Local residents have also witnessed members of IBEW Local 103 outside the Anna Jaques Hospital harassing both workers and patients as they arrive — to one doctor, “Is your car big enough, Doc?”, and to an arriving patient, “You know you’re coming here to die, right?” Some were even seen crowding a female supporter who was in her wheelchair… crowding a wheelchair! In all fairness, not every single union member is engaging in these behaviors. But that’s because they just need enough bullies to get their message across to any, and all, potential employers – if you’re not careful, you, too, could be “Newburyported”.
The locals, however, are not taking this lightly and they’ve formed a movement in support of the hospital that is steadily growing. They’re careful to note that they are not anti-union but rather anti-bullying, as well as pro-Anna Jaques. Signs in support of Anna Jaques are popping up all over the place – in store windows, yards, and car bumpers, to name a few. Websites and blogs, such as “Citizens Supporting Anna Jaques Hospital”, are helping to set the record straight, exposing IBEW Local 103’s bullying tactics and correcting what they see as union disseminated misinformation.
If IBEW Local 103’s attack site, “Anna Jaques Exposed”, has any information regarding their gripe over losing the bid, it sure isn’t obvious to this writer. The bulk of their information consists of a list of malpractice payments made by a handful of the hospital’s doctors (which, in no way, is proof of guilt) and these are preceded by cartoon drawings suggesting AJH doctors as some kind of gross, evil, mad scientist types one might expect to find in a sci-fi horror film. Add in a dash of “toe tags” and a pinch of “crying seniors” and, in a mad twist of irony, you have a self-portrait of IBEW Local 103 when it’s engaged in these behaviors. Or, maybe scaring seniors, maligning health care workers and assaulting a town with buzzing airplanes, inflatable rats, character assassination websites and grotesque attack leaflets are the “new good?”
But, the main point is that this isn’t just Anna Jaques’ problem. And, neither is it only Newburyport’s problem. Nor was it just Beverly’s problem when IBEW Local 103 did the very same thing to Beverly Hospital back in 2007. And it surely wasn’t just the problem of Forks Township, NJ when IBEW Local 827 did it, as well. You could say IBEW has yet to develop a more modern, civilized approach to problem solving. The thing to remember, however, is that this is everyone’s problem. And, you can rest assured it’ll be coming soon to a town near you. Maybe even yours. So, please, take a moment now to show the town of Newburyport and supporters of Anna Jaques Hospital your support – visit their website, make a donation, offer to stand out with them, hold a sign, comment on their blog and relevant online news articles, tell your friends, or just contact the group via their site and ask them what they need the most. I did, even though I live over 30 minutes away. Do you know why?
Because, IBEW Local 103, with their bullying tactics and inflatable rat, came to a town near me.
Citizens Supporting Anna Jaques Hospital
Article about IBEW harassing Beverly hospital
IBEW Local 827 does it as well… it’s a union wide tactic: