President’s Message – May 2015
The UNAC/UHCP formula for winning strong contracts continues to prove its effectiveness so far this year. Beverly Hospital RNs recently concluded a hard-contested second contract with their first wage grid, and numerous other improvements to working conditions, particularly patient care. The RNs at Corona Regional Medical Center continue to push hard for their first UNAC/UHCP contract. As we know, the first one is usually the toughest. But the Corona RNs are a tough group and they can handle the challenge. The Kaiser pharmacists who just voted to join us early this year have begun negotiating their first UNAC/UHCP contract. And we’ve begun national bargaining with Kaiser, along with our allies in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.
We know what it takes to win. As union members, we have an indispensable resource that management can never match—our numbers in solidarity. We are the nurses and other vital health care professionals, the backbone of patient care. There are more of us than them. When we stay united; when we show up to bargaining by the dozens or even the hundreds so that management knows we’re paying attention to their every word and every proposal; when we stand strong on our principles and refuse to give up; we will always ultimately win.
Another secret to our success is the team that backs up our members. Our legal team protects our members’ rights and makes sure management toes the line of what’s lawful. Our political team keeps local elected officials and community groups aware of what’s going on in negotiations and seeks their help as needed. Our research team helps develop and back-up our proposals. Our communications team ensures that our members remain informed and engaged. While our dedicated administrative and finance teams take on numerous behind-the-scenes tasks to make sure everything runs smoothly—including the complex logistics around our recent steward trainings and Kaiser negotiations attended by hundreds of members. As UNAC/UHCP continues to grow, our support team has grown with it, not only in size but in excellence and experience.
With great reluctance I must also mention the sad blow that hit our UNAC/UHCP family with the passing on March 11 of Delima MacDonald, RN, BS. She was the longest standing Treasurer for UNAC/UHCP and as with the other founding leaders, Kathy, Sonia and Maryanne Miller, laid the foundation for all of us to be the great union that we are all today. In particular, her care in handling members’ dues was legendary and has everything to do with our union’s reputation for financial integrity. We will all miss you, Delima.
Ken Deitz, RN