Governor acted within rights on labor issueIn a July 1...


July 12, 1996

Governor acted within rights on labor issue

In a July 1 letter to the editor, defeated gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey assails Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his lawful exercise of executive authority. Further, she voices strenuous opposition to the process of collective bargaining.

Ostensibly, Mrs. Sauerbrey takes exception to the issuance of an executive order authorizing a limited degree of collective bargaining rights for state employees. Her argument is primarily based on her opinion that the governor's order is a usurpation of legislative action. Mrs. Sauerbrey correctly points out that a series of collective bargaining bills failed to pass the Maryland General Assembly. Consequently, she concludes the executive order regarding collective bargainning is "an arrogant disregard for the process."

I vehemently disagree.

The entire membership of the General Assembly did not have the opportunity to address the issue of collective bargaining. The "process" is structured so a bill that is killed in committee does not receive a vote of the entire body. Consequently, out of the 141 members of the House of Delegates only 26 members of the appropriations committee voted on collective bargaining issues. In the upper chamber, which has 47 members, only the 11 senators assigned to the finance committee spoke to the issue.

With respect to the appropriateness of the governor's action, executive orders are a statutorily recognized vehicle for a chief executive to institute policy. They have been extensively utilized by both Democratic and Republican executives in Annapolis and Washington to formulate and promulgate policies favored by the administration. Unlike legislatively enacted measures, these orders may be rescinded by the governor or his successor.

Governor Glendening has simply exerted his gubernatorial prerogative. There is nothing arrogant or sinister in this action.

Public sector bargaining in no way hampers private sector labor relations or deters economic development. All big seven jurisdictions have had collective bargaining relationships for many years and have successfully competed in the economic development arena.

Kevin B. O'Connor


The writer, president of the Baltimore County Fire Fighters Association Local 1311, is vice president of the Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO.

Medical interns deserve respect

A recent "Perspective" article by D. J. Peddicord and a letter by E.B. Croffot would have us believe that society spends $100,000 a year training new physicians while the "students pay none of this."

Long on generality but short on specifics, neither told us exactly how that money is spent. To equate graduate medical trainees with other students may reflect on the understanding of the issue by these experts. And The Sun (July 7) went a long way in educating us.

Please forgive the residents who are working 80 to 100 hours a week with three hours of sleep if they haven't had a chance to read and respond. As a former director of a [resident] training program allow me on their behalf to ask a few questions:

How much will it cost to have "house physicians" work 80 to 100 hours a week in lieu of the residents? Don't the residents provide a service to the hospital in return for the money spent on them?

Wasn't it common for almost all hospitals to have residents as cheap labor until the mid-1970s, when the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) demanded acceptable training by hospitals and eliminated residency from most of them?

How much extra money is spent to recruit and support experienced faculty? Do academic hospitals pay their faculty more than the income of practicing physicians? If faculty income is paid for by Medicare, why then must the faculty scramble for research grants to support their salaries?

If it has been truly identified that residents and interns are the ones ordering additional diagnostic tests and therapies, why aren't those "highly paid" faculty doing anything to curb it? Why haven't the various administrators and regulators stopped it?

Leaving the politics of medical economics aside, as they begin a grueling year of training let's appreciate the superb efforts of these fine physicians undergoing the most rigorous training to -- deliver the best health care on this planet. Only they will ensure us of that privilege.

Abulkalam M. Shamsuddin, M.D.


The writer is professor of pathology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Conservatives now the 'nattering nabobs'

Whenever I read a Cal Thomas column, I am struck by his assumption that America is a sick society. This viewpoint appears to be shared by most conservatives, especially those of the so-called Christian Right.

Granted, we have problems, but we have come a long way from the days of overt racism, sexism, Cold War militarism, gay-bashing, censorship, lack of freedom of choice and the like, and with no thanks to conservatives such as Mr. Thomas and Ralph Reed.

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