I‘m always ready to fight to ensure we deliver quality care. Last year we had a difference of opinion on job scope with the administration of our department. As a Steward, I knew UNAC/UHCP had the power to force the issue, and when I asked them to help, they did. In the end, upper administration told our department the nurses were right. Had the union not gotten involved, it wouldn’t have come out that way.
I became a Steward when I joined the radiology department and saw a lot of unfairness and misinterpretation of the contract on the part of management. I learned most of the issues got better when the union got involved. I became an activist, the loudest voice in the department.
I encourage everyone I know to work for a union hospital so they have a say in what goes on in their workplace. I’ve worked in a non-union hospital, and I know what it’s like to be without that voice. I’m very proud that my daughter just became a nurse, and she’s working for a union hospital now too.
Before I came to Kaiser, I helped try to unionize St. Jude’s in Fullerton. It was upsetting to watch that process fail. They really squashed the nurses and actively prevented us from coming together to form a union. When I compare the two work places, there’s no way I would go back.
I’m always there to represent the members, no matter what the issue is. I’ve seen the most effective way to make change is to take action, no matter how simple. For instance, by filling out staffing objection forms in Radiology, we showed the need for more staff. As a result, we’ve doubled staff in the last year.
The bottom line is we’re all just trying to deliver the best care we can. With UNAC/UHCP as our champion on the job, we’re able to stay focused on patient care, where our attention belongs.
I’m very concerned about the upcoming negotiations. I don’t want us to lose what they’ve promised us in the past, and I feel like this is a trust issue. We trusted them to give us what they negotiated with us in the past and now they want to take it away. People worked a long time to earn their health care and their pensions, and now Kaiser wants to take them away, and I don’t think that’s right.