Denise Duncan, RN
“From San Diego to Bakersfield, UNAC/UHCP represents some of the best health care in the country. We need to brag about it, organize around it and remind the public why organized labor makes a difference in their work life and in their health care.”
Denise’s history has been interwoven with UNAC/UHCP’s for over 27 years. Denise became an activist early, then an affiliate officer, and a staff representative in 1993. She’s participated in nearly all the Kaiser negotiations since. She dove into Tenet and NUHHCE organizing drives. In 2004, The Journal of Nursing Care Quality published “Nurse Perceptions of Medication Errors,” a first-ever study to consult nurses about errors and their cause, for which Denise was co-researcher. She helped push California’s historic safe staffing law, meeting with the Governor twice and testifying to the Board of Registered Nursing.
“If it’s right I will support it, and if it’s wrong I will fight against it,” says Denise.
Charmaine Morales, RN
Executive Vice President
“Our union’s growth is possible by saying yes. By getting involved. I want that opportunity to be open to all our members. You can take action and make positive change in your work life. We all can. You just have to say yes!”
Charmaine has been a UNAC/UHCP member since 2007, and she has risen fast, from a stand-out steward to Political Committee Chair, 2012 Contract Specialist, and the affiliate Parliamentarian. Charmaine has put down deep organizing roots at her Kaiser South Bay affiliate. She started by organizing affiliate members to walk the picket line in solidarity during other strikes, and doing actions on behalf of UFCW’s local members. Charmaine’s biggest organizing success to date was the lightening-fast organization of over 700 people to protest position eliminations at Kaiser South Bay.
“We are all part of a strong union family. We are not alone,” says Charmaine.
Jettie Deden-Castillo, NP
“This is the future of our middle class. We have to continue to organize. It’s going to be our security. I’m thinking about all the young people going through college and having to work so hard. I want them to have the same benefits that I have. We are not just RNs like we were when this union first started in the 70s. We are all UNAC/UHCP, and we all need to work together. In the end it will only make us stronger.”
A nurse at Kaiser since 1977, Jettie Deden-Castillo, NP, was given a scholarship in 1979 to become an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner—a union-negotiated benefit. “I will be indebted to UNAC/UHCP for life for that gift,” she says. In 2011 she became Contract Specialist at Downey and it opened her eyes to the great work UNAC/UHCP accomplishes. Jettie was an officer at the Kaiser Downey affiliate before being elected to UNAC/UHCP Treasurer. In 2012, she helped to organize the Specialty Care Nurses, Certified Nurse Midwives and Wound Ostomy Nurses.
Elizabeth Hawkins, RN
"In my time at UNAC/UHCP, I've seen many members who wanted to get involved but didn't know how. As a union, it's our job to train and mentor our local leaders who want to be ready to work for a better workplace."
Elizabeth started off her 30+ year nursing career at a non-union hospital where a nursing shortage set a new path for her life. Fed up with mandatory overtime, Liz was preparing to leave the hospital when she was offered the opportunity to become a pre-cursor to a rapid response RN. Within a few years, she had moved to the Kaiser Riverside ER, where she eventually became a contract specialist. From there, she spent two years as a UNAC/UHCP staff rep before being elected to serve as State Secretary.