Reflections on our Retiring President – Nov/Dec’10 Voice
What can I say about Kathy, WOW! To think that over her career, she has led UNAC/UHCP to grow from one small group of nurses in Fontana to over 18,000 Registered Nurses and Health Care Professionals. To me, that is totally amazing. While a proven leader, Kathy has always looked at what was the best thing to do for the patients and the UNAC/UHCP members. Not only has she led to meet their needs, she has done the leading in a humble manner. There is no arrogance in her leadership. I personally owe a lot to Kathy, as she has been a tremendous role model and mentor to me in the twenty one years of working for and with her. Kathy, take care and enjoy the well deserved retirement you are going into.
Ken Deitz, RN — UNAC/UHCP Executive Vice President
You were not the “union boss” that I envisioned when I first heard about the organizing campaign at the Kaiser Mental Health Center in 1982. Although you and Sonia did not win over my vote in that election, I was converted once I had an opportunity to see the two of you in action in the 1983 negotiations. You were truly concerned about the patient care, the nursing staff and advancing the nursing profession. You have never lost those driving forces.
Throughout California and the nation, nursing leaders, labor leaders and representatives of management, have the highest regard and admiration for you. You are known as tough, honest, and a “straight shooter.” It has been said that you have only gotten better with the years of experience. I heard one labor leader declare “Kathy Sackman is like a fine wine, she just gets better with the years.” You are the standard which all nursing and labor leaders should be held.
You have been my mentor, friend, confidant, tutor, leader, “boss” and have always inspired my personal and professional growth. I am grateful for the opportunity of working with you and for you, over the last twenty four years. The time has flown but many of the challenges for nursing and labor still continue. You have provided the foundation for those of us remaining to continue the fight and most importantly, continue the growth and development of UNAC/UHCP.
You deserve a retirement filled with joy, time with your family, hours of uninterrrupted sleep (remember those late night calls regarding mandatory overtime), long walks with Lady and afternoons with time for “a glass of wine with a side of ice.”
With greatest respect and gratitude,
Barbara Blake, RN — UNAC/UHCP State Secretary
Kathy J. Sackman, you have dedicated your life to making working conditions, wages and benefits better for healthcare professionals. You are a pioneer and a heroine for nurses in the Labor Movement. To have the strength and courage to break away from CNA because they did not meet the needs of our organization and to have the determination and commitment to build our union to what it is today is priceless.
We have grown in membership and have represented our healthcare professionals under your leadership and guidance through many negotiations, grievances and arbitrations. Your belief that all healthcare professionals should have a say in the workplace and in the care of our patients is evident with our persistence in the courts (St. Francis) and the couple of strikes that we have endured and were victorious.
We thank you for showing us the way! Your legacy will not be forgotten. You will be missed but the officers know that you are only a call away. I wish you well in all your new endeavors.
Delima MacDonald, RN — UNAC/UHCP State Treasurer
I cannot believe that Kathy is actually retiring. After 30+ years it does not seem possible that there will be UNAC/UHCP without Kathy.
We have so much to thank Kathy for.
There would not be the great Kaiser Labor Agreements without her.
There would not be the Nurse Negotiators without her (she taught me).
We would not be known nationally without her—she insisted that AFSCME start United Nurses of America for the AFSCME Nurses nationally.
She was instrumental in forming the Kaiser Labor Management Partnership and has played a big role in holding it together.
Her leadership and support has kept Tenant, Sharp, St. Francis, Big Bear, Balboa, and Pettis VA in place.
Kathy’s commitment to education and legislative issues has led UNAC/UHCP to take a leadership role in legislation in California. She has also continued to encourage and provide our leaders and members with education in the field of labor management both internally and externally.
Because Kathy firmly believes that nurses and other health care providers can represent their peers, she has tried to hire representatives from within and they continue to do a fine job of representation.
I believe with the legacy that Kathy Sackman has left this organization, it will continue to grow and prosper and be one that she can be proud of forever. But in spite of this she will be missed by us all and we wish her well in her retirement.
Sonia Moseley, NP — Retired UNAC/UHCP Executive Vice President
I just received the notice that you’re not going to run for re-election! Am surprised but then, not surprised when I think of the time/years that have gone by ever so fast! How true are your words that it’s bittersweet to say goodbye.
It’s bittersweet to be writing you under these circumstances. Your written words regarding the memories you have starting with that group of 40 nurses in 1972 reminded me of some memories, too. The small role I played in UNAC allows me to remember what a very special bond there was that enabled each of us AND the Organization to remain, maintain and to grow into what it has become:
A dream that came true NOT just because of the members, but in huge part (as the old song goes), because of YOU……And yes, I will never forget your support in those early days. Yes, you’ve had some superb help along the way; Sonia for one and am sure you miss her. However Kathy, YOU did it!
I am sure the Organization will continue albeit NOT the same. That special flavor will be gone but not forgotten. There’s a saying: “The place will never be the same.” I would rather say: The place will be the same; WE will not be the same.
Kathy I wish you well always, continued success and as YOU choose, whatever future relationship with UNAC is there for you.
With special care, love and fondness,
Jan Platz, RN — Retired UNAC President (1972-1974)