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The View: What’s in a name? Smitty’s snafu by United Healthcare Workers

Recently Berkshire County was swamped with a postal card mailing from United Healthcare Workers-East (1199SEIU Massachusetts) of 150 Mt. Vernon St., S-300-POL, Dorchester, MA.

Normally one gets these double-sided political postal cards, looks at them and throws them in the wastebasket.

This one was different.

It was a thank you from Senator Benjamin (B.) Downing & Representative William Pignael?


There is no one from this area with the name – Pignael.

Even if it were spelled correctly – William Pignatelli – some people might not recognize the name. Most people in Berkshire County don’t address the Rep. as William or Bill.

He is known locally as “Smitty” Pignatelli.

He has even keyed his e-mail:

According to the representative, the nickname or his handle came from “My Dad’s (John Pignatelli) best friend from Lenox when he was growing up: William Smith.

(Smitty) was killed during WWII at the age of 19.”


So, where did the snafu originate?

Jeff Hall, communications director, 1199SEIU Massachusetts, tried to play the game on background. You know: “Off the record.”

I said it was a mistake. People make them daily, including this writer/editor.

Mr. Hall said: “The vendor cut the last name short because of the character count and the first name in this case was pulled from a State House database by a third party fulfillment vendor, who should have been familiar with the Representative’s more commonly known name, but unfortunately failed to make the manual correction at the time of the initial printing.

All folks involved on this end including the vendor who made the error have been told to use the Representative’s more common name – Smitty – in the reprint and moving forward.”


Good try…I am more interested in the miss-spelling noting that someone should have proofed it before it was mailed.

Please lay it out for me….

Mr. Hall noted earlier: “The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU felt it was important to let voters and our local patients know that Rep. Smitty Pignatelli has been a true champion in protecting the local healthcare services and community hospitals that help keep area families healthy and safe.

“Our community hospitals provide vital emergency and preventative care and we felt the work that Rep. Pignatelli has done on Beacon Hill to protect services at those facilities warranted acknowledgement and thanks.

“A vendor error (occurred) during the mailing process resulted in a typo for which the healthcare workers union has apologized to the Representative – who was very gracious and good-humored about the third party vendor’s mistake.

“The real news here is the tremendous and important advocacy that Rep. Pignatelli has done for the local community and local families during state budget negotiations.

“A corrected version of the mailer will be resent (2,000) to the same limited group of recipients that received the initial postcard.”


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Posted by on September 5, 2013. Filed under Opinion,View from the Tower. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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