To Disagree Without Disrespect

Is DRO disrespectful to Oregon State Hospital employees? On the contrary.

In this Friday’s Oregon AFSCME e-lert, union spokespeople claimed that DRO was disrespectful to Oregon State Hospital workers.  Our offense was arguing that the voting members of a proposed oversight committee for the hospital should not include those with a direct financial interest in hospital operations.

The publication went on to state:  “No decisions have been made, but one possible compromise would be for any committee member who has any sort of financial tie to OSH to be an ad hoc, non-voting member. That would include employees, but would also include Joondeph and his ilk, who make money from OSH client families.”

Hmm.  DRO does, from time to time, get crosswise with public employee unions who sometimes view our advocacy for patients to be anti-worker.  We rarely get credit for advocating for improved conditions in the hospital that make life better for patients and staff alike.

Consider this: despite deep cuts in the state budget, construction of a new hospital is still on track.  The budget for the existing hospital has not only been held exempt from cuts, but OSH continues to hire hundreds of new staff.  Is the advocacy that brought this about disrespectful to staff?  I don’t think so.

The state hospital is not a place to work if you want fame or fortune.  But it is a place where people with good hearts and unique skills can bring healing and recovery to Oregonians whose lives have been devastated by mental illness.  These professionals deserve the tools and resources to do the job right.  That includes an oversight board that can keep the condition of the hospital in the public eye and not be dismissed as a tool for one interest or another.