AUGUSTA – On Sunday, the Portland Press Herald revealed that MaineHealth defied Maine CDC guidelines by vaccinating out-of-state, union-busting consultants, who the company flew into Maine to thwart unionization efforts, ahead of vulnerable Mainers and eligible seniors. MaineHealth has since released a statement saying that they “erred in vaccinating those individuals.”
Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated to each state based on population. As such, the doses arriving in Maine are intended for Maine residents.
In response, Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash, Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry of Brunswick released statements criticizing MaineHealth.
“In the middle of a deadly global pandemic, the nurses at Maine Medical Center, like most frontline workers, haven’t blinked, going above and beyond to be there for patients in the most heart-wrenching circumstances when patients’ families can’t. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for MaineHealth. While nurses are putting in long hours, providing first-class patient care, MaineHealth has been fighting tooth and nail against unionization at the expense of Maine people.
“Every out-of-state consultant and lawyer that MaineHealth flew in as part of their intimidation campaign got the vaccine instead of someone’s grandparent or loved one. It’s concerning that MaineHealth would put their own anti-union agenda, and their own bottomline, ahead of the health and well-being of Maine people. At a time when Maine has only a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and is still grappling with a public health crisis, this seems particularly cruel.
“Last week, the President of MaineHealth released a slickly produced video where he talked about ‘values’ in an effort to convince the nurses at Maine Medical Center that they didn’t need a union. This week, MaineHealth revealed what those values truly are and the lengths they’ll go to protect their own bottomline.“
“In the wake of an unprecedented pandemic, it’s unconscionable that MaineHealth would dole out doses of Maine’s limited allocation of COVID-19 vaccine to non-Mainers as part of their anti-union campaign on nurses, who have been on the frontlines of this crisis. Our frontline workers are exhausted; every day they’ve gone into work to care for their patients in the toughest of circumstances. Nurses at Maine Medical Center are speaking up and demanding change. The lengths that MaineHealth has taken to prevent their nurses from unionizing proves that they are not interested in listening.
“Fair wages and decent benefits for our frontline workers shouldn’t be a controversial issue. I’m disappointed that MaineHealth would see the unionization as a greater threat to their institution than the deadly COVID-19 virus.”
“Almost a year into this pandemic, Maine’s frontline health care workers haven’t had a chance to catch their breath. They’ve dealt with shortages of personal protective equipment, staffing issues as their colleagues have come down with the virus, and extraordinary loss. It’s why we’re seeing health care workers across the country band together to form unions to protect themselves and improve patient care. The fact that MaineHealth views calls to improve patient care and employee safety as a serious threat is concerning. The choice to vaccinate these individuals over vulnerable Mainers signals a huge lapse in judgment and priorities.
“MaineHealth is comfortable calling nurses heroes but draws the line at treating them like heroes or respecting their desire to form a union. The latest move by MaineHealth is appalling and an affront to Mainers who are patiently waiting their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”