Boston Mayor pimps for SEIU at hospitals

The union trying to organize more workers at Boston’s teaching hospitals has landed Hollywood star power and political muscle to push their cause.

Cambridge homey Ben Affleck, who’s in town to promote his new flick “Gone Baby Gone,” and Mayor Thomas Menino will hold a joint press conference today to announce their support for the Service Employees International Union’s latest attempt to unionize as many as 55,000 workers at university-affiliated hospitals such as Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women’s.

“Through his political activism, and charity, Mr. Affleck has shown himself to be a true citizen patriot,” said Mike Fadel, executive vice president of SEIU Local 1199.

Thousands of nurses at area hospitals currently belong to unions, as do some other health-care professionals. But the vast majority of workers at nonprofit hospitals associated with universities don’t belong to unions.

The SEIU has said it’s seeking commitments from chief executives at hospitals to abide by an agreement allowing “free and fair” union elections.

A spokeswoman for Partners HealthCare, whose Boston hospital members are associated with Harvard Medical School, declined comment on the union’s campaign.


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