five levels of silence: Statement by David Allen Mitchell, Unite-Here Local 2 and Local 2850
|Statement by David Allen Mitchell, Unite-Here Local 2 and Local 2850
FIVE LEVELS OF SILENCE
"Since the first living thing gazed upward through the darkness,
Man has seldom been content merely to be born, to endure and to die.
"With a curious furvor he has struggled to unlock the mysteries
of creation and of the world in which he lives.
"Sometimes he has won, sometimes he has lost, and sometimes
in the tumbling torrents of space and time, he has briefed
glimpses of a world he never even dreams."
Good day, everyone. My name is David Allen Mitchell.
I stand before you today numbed by grief, stunned by
the sudden and unexpected death of my wife, Bettye,
on June 20, 2008, six weeks ago today.
I thank the Lord for allowing me to be here today. It is
His Divine Grace and Everlasting Love which carries me
through each day.
Bettye, My Darling Sweetheart, I stand before you
and your heavenly presence, and I just want to remind
you that the declaration I made to you on your death bed,
the one about injured workers, will now begin to bear witness.
Since 1983, Bettye worked many of the Bay Area's All-Time
Most Memorable sports events involving the Forty-Niners,
the Giants, the Warriors, the Athletics and the Raiders.
What type of person was Bettye Jean Jones Mitchell?
She was a concessionnaires ambassador extraordinaire,
providing top-flight customer service to every fan in attendance
at the four major professional sports venues in San Francisco and Oakland.
She greeted everyone with a warm smile and open heart;
she made certain the food was properly prepared and served,
and she continuously thought of others all the while meeting
the needs of everyone around her; she carried herself
with the utmost dignity.
Deeply rooted in the beliefs of being an exemplary union
member; Bettye served 13 years as shop steward at
Candlestick Park and AT&T Park; she participated in contract
negotiations that provide seasonal workers with exceptional
health & welfare and pension benefits.
Bettye and I attended the Injured Workers SPEAK-OUT
in Davis in late April; she's on the internet; I'm so proud
she was able to tell her truths of mistreatment and denials;
I'm also saddened that UNITE H.E.R.E. leadership doesn't
step up to assist disabled, injured rank-and-file workers.
Do not misunderstand; Bettye had other health issues;
the cause of death is still to be determined by the medical
examiner's office. Earlier in the year, she was diagnosed
with rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling disease.
So, I cannot go on any further without mentioning the
brothers and sisters we have lost the last year on both
sides of the bay:
From San Francisco:
Florence Hannah, a cook; Richard Abrams, concessions worker;
from Oakland, Wallace Prater, concessions worker, who passed
away June 22, hours after learning of Bettye's passing.
There exists in this state a secret terror, stirring from its
dark place of ambush, deep within the California Workers'
Compensation insurance system.
This terror is a torture system created by the governor and
insurance companies which by mandated reform repeatedly
denied Bettye the basic human need of healthcare treatment
for legitimate work injuries which were first reported
April 6, 2001, but not entered into the system until May 6, 2001.
As it came to pass, there were persons making decisions
(for others) far beyond Bettye's control, persons who stuck
to a nightmare script, and broke the most honest and truest
person many of us will ever know; some circles call it
collateral damage; I call it white collar slavery.
Bettye dreamed of one day returning to work. Although
unable to work the San Francisco Giants 2008 season opener
due to illnesses, Bettye donned her black-and-whites and
apron and wore them throughout the day; when I returned
home from work, she greeted me at the door in full uniform,
wearing her biggest smile.
Twice in the final years of her life, Specialty Risk Services,
the workers comp carrier for two employers, asked Bettye
when was she going to resign; the intent was never to help
her return to work, it was to get rid of her, phase her out,
which, other than seeming immoral, unethical and inhumane,
might constitute conspiracy to commit fraud; it's not for me
to say, but an Audit Review of her case would draw attention
to a need for healthcare reform.
The last four months of her life, Bettye paid for her own
health-and-welfare coverage through COBRA; to-date,
all her medical bills have been paid-in-full.
Your self-determination always dazzled me, Bettye;
I'm thankful you're in a better place.
Thank you, for allowing me to share Bettye's story.
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