UNAC/UHCP Organizes Beverly in Whirlwind Two Month Campaign – March/April’11 Voice
In a landslide election victory, Beverly Hospital RNs voted 161 to 57 to join UNAC/UHCP on February 25th. The National Labor Relations Board made it official by certifying the election on March 4.
Beverly Hospital RNs won their election despite a massive anti-union campaign conducted by the hospital’s CEO and a private consulting firm—the same firm Parkview Community Hospital used, unsuccessfully, to try to stop RNs there from organizing into UNAC/UHCP.
Despite all of management’s “mandatory” anti-union meetings and intimidation, the nurses prevailed. “Beverly Hospital is my community hospital, my family’s hospital. We need to make sure that patient care comes first. A union will provide support for RNs who speak up for what ‘s right when we’re challenged to look the other way,” said Kristi Gajkowski, RN in the Special Care Unit.
Beverly RNs took inspiration and found support from UNAC/UHCP members who pitched in at key moments of the organizing campaign. Kaiser RNs who worked at Beverly were among the strongest supporters. Parkview nurses corrected management’s misinformation about UNAC/UHCP’s successes at their hospital. Nurses from those hospitals, as well as St. Francis, Garden Grove and Sharp hospitals shared their experiences and answered questions at the “Nurses’ Forum.” Solidarity with Beverly nurses also came from UNAC/UHCP’s new squad of Member Organizing Volunteers (MOV). At the UNAC/UHCP Convention in November, dozens of UNAC nurses and healthcare professionals signed up to join the new MOV. They went into action by helping to organize Beverly, making UNAC/UHCP’s newest members feel welcome.
“More nurses need to have the opportunities that we have by being in a union,” said Rebecca Koontz, a Labor-Delivery nurse at Kaiser Fontana. “I got a great inspiration out talking to the Beverly nurses one-one-one, helping them understand how the union could help them make positive change. It made my day.”
Beverly Hospital RNs will now begin preparations for negotiating a first contract, seeking improvements in working conditions and patient care. They’ll elect their own bargaining team, conduct a bargaining survey and organize to support their team at the bargaining table. They’ve shown they have what it takes.