Daria Smith’s UNAC/UHCP Dance Continues
Daria Smith, RN, left her Staff Rep position at UNAC/UHCP last month. However, she’s not going far. She’ll return to full-time NICU nursing. But she plans to stay involved as an activist. She first caught the union bug in 1997, a year after she started at Kaiser Fontana. KFRNA’s then-rep Carol Jones tapped her to attend that year’s UNAC/UHCP convention. She expected to be bored. Instead she got hooked. “All of us are part of the same cause, united. It was an awesome feeling.” As she got more involved, first as KFRNA Parliamentarian, then winning back a nurse’s job in her first Steward case, she came to understand the power of the contract. In her prior job the employer could do whatever they wanted. Not here.
On lost time she helped organize Anaheim in 1999, Tenet in 2003 and the Kaiser specialty care nurses their first-time around in 2006, before joining the staff full time in 2008. She learned how she could make a difference in the lives of members as a group, not just one-on-one. Even as a Rep, she kept working NICU shifts, even though sometimes it meant working 14 days straight. She says the time has come where she can’t continue to do both, and she’s not ready to give up taking care of small, sick newborns. “There I’m advocating for the infant and empowering the parent to take care of that child,” she says. She plans to remain true to her UNAC/UHCP ideals. “I can still advocate for patient safety and workers’ rights.”
Smith reports from the field that during her first week back in the NICU, she has already had an opportunity to help a coworker with a contract violation. UNAC/UHCP wishes her the best in the NICU and we know we will be seeing her.