Parkview Nurses Pray for Fair Contract Resolution – January 26, 2009
Lifted up by inspiring words and songs of the civil rights movement, Parkview Community Hospital nurses gathered Monday morning for a prayer service as they continue bargaining for a fair contract and a voice on the job.
"The Catholic Church supports the rights of workers to organize," Father Benjamin Alforque of St. Catherine of Alexandria told the nurses gathered at Hunt Park , a block from the hospital in Riverside . "It is part of your human dignity. Your work is part of God's creative work. We are with you in this struggle."
Father Alforque read a passage from the book of James that describes how the powerful are held to account for their treatment of working people: "Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord."
Pastor Jaime Kim, an organizer for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, also prayed with the nurses. "Give us strength during these contract struggles. Continue to guide us so we can be leaders in this community."
"All religions support the right to organize and fight for a fair and just community," Kim said. "The work you do as nurses and leaders in the hospital helps our community. It is unfortunate you have come under such hardship. You are standing up for justice."
After voting to join UNAC/UHCP in February 2008, the Parkview nurses have been negotiating their first contract since April, but hospital administrators are dragging their feet.
"I'm inspired by the support we got today and hopeful we're going to get a contract signed," said Cynthia Pama, RN in Parkview's Telemetry department. "It was important to come together today to show we are united."