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The Union Election
July 6, 2000
12:28 pm
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For those who haven't heard yet, the union election has been cancelled. Marty will have six months to turn things around and restore the comraderie of the staff and volunteers. This doesn't mean that the independent efforts to address the problems will stop.

July 6, 2000
9:08 pm
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Did support for the union fall off that drastically that it was deemed tactically wiser to postpone the vote? Can Marty have really blinded so many intelligent people into believing he has their and the Free Clinic's best interest at heart?? Will there be enough staff left in six months to stand up to him?
Linda B

July 6, 2000
11:08 pm
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Just a commentary . . .

I have found the hotline with NO workers again today. No calls are being answered. I called about 10:00pm and it rang and rang . . .

Those who want to wait until exploring options may condider that the hotline has mostly died already in my opinion. People in need are suffering because of the partial disappearance of this vital service.

I suggest that for the next meeting, people seriously consider whether it is time to look closely into creating an alternative hotline. Bring ideas and proposals. This staff member told me that Marty and co have no interest in the hotline, and would be perfectly happy to see it end or move away.

I hate to be a pessimist, but with the effective loss of the union vote, the rejections by the board, the totally deaf ear we are receiving, what can we do?
Unfortunately, it appears that the chances of getting Jane back are nearing zero. I hope I am wrong.

I have heard from a staff member that there is now widespread talk in the management and the new staff of instituting a fee structure (sliding fee scale) for patients. If true, and effected, essentially this would mean the end of the free clinic.

That is, the guiding spirit, the underlying notion of the clinic, would have been undermined and eliminated by the very people who supposed to be carrying out the mission. How ironic!

They might have to rename the clinic -- "The Formerly Free Clinic" - a fairly reasonably priced Clinic for those who are willing to give up privacy and confidentiality in order for management to get bigger paychecks and a new building.

The mission would have to be changed too. Here is a suggestion - Providing health care to those who have sufficient co-pay and/or are willing to sign financial responsibility statements.

If necessary, we will dunn those who fail to make these payments, and will team up with a collection agency. We will attempt to provide some confidentiality, but we will require information so that the Formerly Free Clinic can get government moneys. If you object or do not have the required co-pay, you are free to go outside of the clinic, and drop dead.

I don't think I want to continue being associated with such a vicious, bastardly bunch of villians - i.e. the management. They have essentially ruined what was a beautiful institution. They are taking away everything virtuous, everything that made the place special and motivated people to volunteer in the first place.

July 7, 2000
1:44 pm
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we were warned by the union organizers that union busting activities are very effective. In the last few weeks, it became clear that that was so at the FC. Marty increased the hours and salaries of some staff who had signed union cards who were interested in seeing who could give them a better deal - the union or Marty. Those folks then started sayiong they were against the union. Marty arranged to call a bunch of pro-union staff "managers" so they would be unable to vote or speak openly in favor of a union or else lose their jobs. They were silenced. Marty forced staff to attend propaganda sessions, viewing anti-union videos and receiving very distorted or completely untrue "facts" about unions. Some staff got scared by these sessions and started backing down on open support of a union. The fewer the people who were visibly in support of a union, the more fearful people became about considering it or backing it. And let's not forget how good Marty is at manipulating people, especially newer staff who are goodhearted and want to believe the best and don't want people upset and who Marty looks dead in the eye and lies to, saying how hard this all is for him, he only wants to do what's best and leave a legacy and serve people, and can't we all get along, after all we're having communication workshops and he and the board are working so hard and they intend to pay better salaries and make things better sometime soon...Those of us who have worked with Marty for several years or more have seen many times how masterful he is at fooling people. So, yeah, this is very bad news about the failure of the union effort.It probably means the end to the concept of the FC as something bigger than simply a place that doesn't charge money. Yeah, I agree that we need to step up the efforts of the alternatives committee. Also, a group of workers are exploring spin-offs of programs. But we still have some irons in the fire that will be emerging very soon in the form of greater media attention and hopefully wider community attention to the problems at the FC, so I still think it is worth more efforts to try to turn the FC around. It is, of course, an increasingly worse longshot. But I believe the FC is worth the effort. Jane

July 9, 2000
1:30 pm
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To the person who posted before Jane,
Staff have been trying our best to keep hotline running. Yes, some shifts have gone unfilled,things are not run as well as they were when Jane was there, we are short on volunteers and due to these factors vital calls have no doubt gone unanswered. Most shifts have been filled though. Through the efforts of some great volunteers and a few of the paid staff hotline has kept running and has helped countless folks in need. To say hotline is currently dead is a total slam to those volunteers who have been answering the phones through these trying past two months. Is hotline in trouble - yes, do I support efforts to look at alternatives - yes. I guess I'm just troubled by the hatred towards staff indicated in your post (vicious, basterdly villians). Calling us names and tearing down the work staff has been trying to do doesn't help anyone and is just cruel. If you aren't on paid staff I realize that it would be difficult for you to see the continuing efforts of staff both to deal with the problems at the Clinic and to keep services running. We aren't just ignoring things or letting them fall apart for lack of effort. Please stop kicking us while we're down, we alreaady get that from Marty.

July 9, 2000
1:53 pm
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If people have concerns about how hotline is being run why aren't people talking to me about it directly? If I've seemed unapproachable, I'm sorry - I haven't been in the hotline room as much as I'd like to because I'm running around trying to juggle so much. I'd really appreciate any feedback/concerns/suggestions. I promise to keep an open mind and hear you out. Early shift on the 6th did go unstaffed. The every other early Thursday person has been out sick for a while now - I've also had next to no volunteers for Thursday intake and faced with a bunch of people sitting in the waiting room I've ended up doing intakes all night. As a result hotline has gone unstaffed. This is not meant to be an excuse - just an attempt at an explanation. I'm only one person where there used to be two and as a result there are gaps - I'm not just neglecting/ignoring things, although I can see it might seem like that. I hope you'll be able to talk to me about your concerns. Getting anonymously slammed on the web hurts. -Deby

July 9, 2000
4:39 pm
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Ever notice how it is mostly the negative posters who remain anonymous? Someone is obviously trying to further divide and distract us from the issues...and some of the postings are so convoluted as to be nearly unintelligible. I would remind folks also that HL workers may already be on calls that require their full attention and unable to pick up another line. I don't see any of the people criticizing HL (& by inference Debi who certainly does NOT deserve it) coming forward to help out. If they have not had HL training I'm sure there are plenty of things they could do to free up some of Debi's time.
Linda B
p.s. Debi- I will be back on my shift next week, barring any further complications. LB

July 9, 2000
5:17 pm
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Linda B: Mary and I stayed over the last two alternate Saturdays and covered your shift. It was quite busy both times. It seems especially worthwhile to work the hotline these days when it seems so imperiled. I am glad you are doing better physically. Those that are still coming in for shifts (including even the Unknown Female) are doing our best. I'm so glad Deby is still there. Give my best to Lonzo. Brian R

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