Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hey, AHF?? Do Condoms Prevent The Transmission Of Unionization Fever, Too?? (Or..How Neglecting Your True Mission Comes Back To Bite 'Ya)

You know...Malcolm X had this phrase about how chickens coming home to roost never made him sad.

Right about now, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is thusly waist deep in chicken poop...mostly of their own neglect.

You see, folks....AHF has been so busy buying performers and lobbying politicians and paying press hogs to sell their condom mandate, that they allowed their primary mission of actually treating people suffering from HIV/AIDS to kinda get stepped aside.

And now, they are reaping the whirlwind of their neglect...big time.  Stamped, with a union label.

I'll just let the Los Angeles Times (also reprinted over at The Real Porn Wikileaks) take it from here.

A group of medical providers at clinics run by an influential but controversial AIDS-focused nonprofit group have launched a bid to unionize, saying that the organization's leadership has lost sight of its mission and patient care is suffering.

Doctors, nurses and physicians assistants in the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Los Angeles and Bay Area clinics have been engaged in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the organization's leadership for the last two months.

On July 31, medical staff members submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board, announcing their desire to organize under the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

The foundation's leadership has contested the validity of the petition, saying that some of the employees involved in the union drive are supervisors not allowed to take part in union organizing.

The organization, with a budget of $750 million, runs a network of HIV and AIDS testing and treatment facilities around the world, as well as its own pharmacies. Its 10 clinics in the Los Angeles area serve more than 7,000 patients, many of them through contracts with the county.

Local providers say that those clinics are understaffed, that there is a lack of Spanish interpreters and that there has been a push to pack more patients into the schedule each day at the expense of quality care. They say their complaints have been disregarded and that the organization is focusing too much energy on political advocacy. Those include fights with the county and with the adult film industry over attempts to mandate condom use on set as a way to reduce exposure to social diseases.
Oh, gee....don't y'all know that $750M is chicken feed compared to the risks of HIV?? After all, how in the hell can AHF be so effective without paying the full costs of treatment for our propagandists such as Darren James or Derrick Burts or Cameron Bay and Rod Daily? How else can they be so successful at buying the votes of entire city/county legislatures, and even the California Assembly, or mount their coups against whole government agencies who don't kowtow to their company line on jamming condoms down the porn industry's throats??

After all, we all know that AHF would NEVER, EVER neglect their patients, would they?? Oh, wait...

"We support AHF's mission — that's why we're all here in the first place, but we feel like they're not really carrying out their mission," said Felipe Findley, a physician's assistant at the foundation's downtown clinic.

Kim Sommers, medical director at the organization's Hollywood center, recalled that one day the clinic was so over capacity that a patient suffering from chest pains was sent home by the lone over-stressed medical assistant on duty because no one was available to give him the electrocardiogram Sommers had ordered.

But, the absolutely hilarious part is Michael Weinstein's response to this potential raid on his gravy train.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation founder and President Michael Weinstein said the union process had been "tainted" by the involvement of middle managers.

"They've got an absolute right to form a union, but right now it's been organized by people in management, and they've put a lot of pressure on rank-and-file employees," he said. For their part, employees have filed complaints alleging that the executive leadership retaliated against them for their union activities.

Weinstein said the organization is indeed focused on patient care and that changes in scheduling policies were made because the organization had lost patients when they were unable to get follow-up appointments scheduled in a timely manner. He defended the organization's political activities as a core part of its mission.

"The advocacy is who we are, and I would argue that the advocacy we do has very much helped us to improve the care in our patient centers," he said.
Oh, great....the old "they're being brainwashed by outsiders" card used by right-wing union busters everywhere.

I wonder, would Assemblyman Isadore Hall approve of all this? He is a pretty damn liberal Democrat who took all of AHF's money and pushed their bills (unsucessfully), but I'm sure that he is proud to support unionization efforts of health care professionals, right?? 

Count this Lefty as in full support of the workers there for their efforts...and if by some chance they knock some sense in Weinstein's dome and cause him to rethink his mission of substituting condoms for actual care, so much the better. Solidarity Forever, and all that.


  1. Well said, Anthony. Obviously, I'm with you in your support for unionizing efforts among health care workers, as I favor unionization generally (and before anyone can come back at me with it) including in the porn industry, though for reasons already discussed, that would be a very steep climb.

    What's interesting here is that I've heard rumblings from within the care-provider community in general (particularly in San Francisco) about AHF's grandstanding and self-promotion at the expense of patient care. I've even heard it from doctors down here who work with AHF, one of whom told me that "every time I drive past one of those damned billboards of theirs I just want to go in and kick all their asses for wasting money on advertising that should go to patient care."

    Politics is an expensive business, not only in terms of money but in terms of the attention required to dummy up petitions for ballot initiatives, assemble phone banks to robo-call residents in the districts of elected officials who don't fall in line with AHF's agenda, stage press conferences every half hour to defend the latest legal proceedings initiated against city, county and state governments and/or other NGOs and exchange rivers of emails with various lawyers involved in pursuing all that litigation. With so much else to do, who has time for sick people?

    I predicted long ago that this quixotic campaign to compel a branch of the entertainment industry to become a propaganda outlet for Michael Weinstein's personal crusade would backfire from within. AHF's only excuse for its foul behavior, and the one reason otherwise sensible people have continued to defend it, is because it takes care of those in need. If it fails at that mission, if fails, period.

    That failure is now being made public by those charged with actually providing that care. Weinstein can try and talk his way around the specific incidents that have been cited so far, but I have reason to believe that they're just the tip of the iceberg. As this conflict intensifies, expect to hear more from AHF employees, former employees and, most damningly, from AHF patients.

    And then there's that Medicaid fraud investigation and the growing impatience of the county supervisors with AHF's legal harassment.

    Weinstein believes himself invincible. He's not, and that's a fact I suspect will soon become apparent to all.

    If AHF doesn't knock off its politicking and get back to helping sick people, Mike W.'s $638,000 a year salary may end up going toward his own legal expenses.

  2. Thank you for your support Anthony and Ernest
    an AHF doctor in LA