President’s Message – June 2012
UNAC/UHCP members are on a winning streak: Kaiser national bargaining; a first contract at Beverly Hospital; a court decision that puts Chino RNs at the bargaining table. But we can't rest. We must beat back the Corporate Power Grab on the November ballot; win that first contract for Chino RNs; and get strong contracts in all our upcoming negotiations.
How are we racking up the wins? The old fashioned way: solidarity and collective action. When we show up, stand up and speak up, we're unbeatable. Over 1,500 members attended Kaiser bargaining on their own time—a tsunami of blue that swept management's plans to freeze our pensions and cut our benefits right off the bargaining table. Beverly RNs took collective action in the halls of their hospital and the streets outside, backed by fellow UNAC/UHCP members, other labor unions, and supportive political and community leaders. In the best tradition of trade-unionism, when we support each other, we support ourselves. It's how we win.
And management knows it. That's why corporate interests and wealthy donors are trying to cut us off at the knees and silence our political voice with an initiative on the November ballot, disguised as reform, which we're calling the Corporate Power Grab. This is another fight we must win.
To hold onto and strengthen safe staffing; keep our home addresses off the internet; and elect political leaders who will stand with us on our issues and in our contract fights, we must get active. Host or attend a home phone bank to call voters. Walk a precinct to tell your neighbors about the candidates we support. Make sure all our union brothers and sisters know the truth about the Corporate Power Grab. We can win it the old-fashioned way.
The win in Kaiser bargaining isn't complete until members vote. Our KP affiliate officers approved the agreement at a CKPU Delegates Conference May 19. Next we'll hold all-day meetings across the region from June 27 to July 18, where members can hear the details and discuss it before they vote. All members will be notified of the outcome.
Ken Deitz, RN