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For Glenn Beck, SEIU Is 'Radical, Marxist,' Except When Its Nurses Treat Him for Emergency Abdominal Pains

Beck described SEIU nurse care as "amazing" after his inflamed appendix was removed.
 
 
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Earlier today, a hospitalized Glenn Beck tweeted in praise of the "AMAZING drs/nurses" who have cared for him since the emergency removal of his inflamed appendix yesterday afternoon.

The quality of care he is receiving should not have come as a surprise. When Beck complained of acute abdominal pain during his radio program on Wednesday, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The security-conscious Beck has not disclosed the name of the facility, but it's a safe bet that it is staffed by proud members of a storied union: New York's Local 1199, aka United Healthcare Workers East, which belongs to the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has organized all of Manhattan's major hospitals, including every facility to which Beck could have conceivably been sent.

It probably has not occurred to Beck to link his kind, efficient nurses to something as dastardly as the SEIU. As recently as Wednesday, he was busy smearing the union with his usual verbal feces. For the past several months, on radio and television, Beck has cast the SEIU, the country's largest union, as a Toxic Avenger-looking bogeyman in his conspiratorial fantasyland. In the progressive plot of Beck's imagination, the "radical, Marxist" SEIU is conspiring with ACORN "thugs" to destroy the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and turn this country into North Korea--or worse.

Just hours before his hospitalization, Beck was at work increasing the pitch of his attacks on SEIU and its leaders. On Monday, he warned his Fox News audience that SEIU president Andy Stern is "controlling our country." On Wednesday, he claimed Stern was spouting "communist, Marxist propaganda" by addressing the need for labor to organize globally in a global economy.

It is obvious listening to Beck go after the SEIU that he has only recently encountered the name Andy Stern. Almost certainly the introduction came in the form of talking points spoon-fed to Beck by his friends at the corporate-funded policy shop, Americans for Prosperity. It is also apparent that he knows even less about the labor movement in general. Compared to Beck--who probably knows more about the 80s TV show ALF than he does about the history of the AFL--Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are Pulitzer-winning labor historians. He clearly has little to no understanding of what unions do, their central role in creating the American middle-class, or why the labor movement has long served a legitimate and important role in national politics.

While he's lying on his back, Beck should take advantage of his illness to begin his self-education. He might ask his "amazing" nurses what they think about their wages and benefits, which are some of the best in the country. He should ask them to talk about the relationship between those wages and their yellow and purple union cards. He might learn that they enjoy some of the highest standards for healthcare jobs in the country, not because of the "free market," but because generations of 1199 members fought for them.

The quality of care Beck is receiving is directly connected to the proud history of New York's Local 1199. To pick just one study out of many, research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows that heart attack victims sent to unionized hospitals enjoy higher survival rates over those sent to non-unionized hospitals by between seven and 11 percent.

If Beck wants to put his healthcare where his mouth is, he should demand to be taken to a non-SEIU hospital on the future morning when the inevitable cardiac arrest interrupts The Glenn Beck Program and puts its smug, unsuspecting host in the back of an ambulance once again.

 
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