President’s Message – October 2011
One of the most important duties of a union is to help you get the best contract possible.
In this month's issue, we'll tell you more about the fight at St. Francis for a better contract. Time and time again we've found the best weapon in these fights is an energized membership at negotiations. During St. Francis bargaining last month, 150 Registered Nurses attended on a single day and were asked to introduce themselves to hospital management. Some nurses even introduced their children who were born at the hospital. The bargaining team later remarked that the pressure of hundreds of members at negotiations really “burned up management's lawyer.”
Recently, the Garden Grove Registered Nurses Association (GGRNA) settled their contract with Prime Healthcare ahead of a Board of Inquiry hearing. This was no small feat, as Prime's goal was to avoid signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement with any union. We are the first. Again, this was possible because of the high level of engagement within GGRNA. During negotiations, hospital management complained about “getting the stink eye” from GGRNA members at the bargaining table. This level of pressure is what put the union over the top on a first of its kind contract from Prime Healthcare.
Finally, we have our fight of the RNs at Parkview Community Hospital. On the last day of negotiations, 60 RNs were behind our team at the table. The bargaining team reported back that the standing room only at bargaining made management squirm. The crowd of nurses helped secure a phenomenal second contract for the Parkview Registered Nurses Association.
You may think that one person will not make a difference, but you do. Showing up to negotiations and forcing management to own the proposals they've made creates change. As we head into difficult negotiations next year with Kaiser, remember that actually being at negotiations can make a difference when it comes to your next contract. So can attending meetings, signing petitions, wearing stickers, and staying informed through the various modes of communication UNAC/UHCP uses. If you have questions about bargaining, speak to your representatives.
Ken Deitz, RN