1500 RNs unionize! What do you think? - page 2
Associated Press Online December 14, 2002 Saturday 9:18 AM Eastern Time Nurses at Large Calif. Hospital Unionize BYLINE: CHRISTINA ALMEIDA; Associated Press Writer DATELINE: LOS ANGELES... Read More
Dec 17, '02"How can any Union claim to be able to solve staffing problems, or any problem, until they have an actual contract? "
CNA's 10-year campaign for Safe Staffing Ratios
All of the following initiatives were introduced by CNA.
1993 First ratio legislation, AB 1445
1996 Proposition 216: Ratios were a core component of this HMO reform ballot initiative, co-sponsored by CNA. 3.2 million Californians vote for 216.
1998 Staffing ratios bill (AB 695) wins approval in the legislature for the first time. Governor vetoes bill after extensive lobbying by the hospital industry.
1999 AB 394 introduced by then-Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl. CNA gathers over 14,000 letters in support and commissions public opinion poll showing 80% public support for bill.
AB 394 passed by legislature after CNA mobilizes 1,500 RNs for rally on steps of the Capitol on the day Senate votes on bill. Governor Gray Davis signs the bill, making California the first in the nation to legislate staffing ratios.
2001 CNA mobilizes over 2,000 RNs for a rally in Sacramento demanding adoption of CNA's proposed ratios. The hospital industry proposes 1:10 for medical-surgical, telemetry and oncology units.
2002 In January, Governor Davis and Department of Health Services hold press conference in Los Angeles with CNA Board of Directors to announce specific unit ratios. Hospital industry's proposed ratios soundly defeated.
In September, official ratio numbers are released by DHS. Official public comment period set including public hearings in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Fresno.
2003 Implementation of ratios
Dec 23, '02Have any of you been through a difficult union campaign?
Cedars-Sinai to Challenge Union Vote
The filing of objections with the National Labor Relations Board over 'misconduct' in nurses' election could delay certification of vote.
By Charles Ornstein and Peter Y. Hong
Times Staff Writers
December 21 2002
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said Friday that it will challenge a vote by its 1,500 registered nurses to join a labor union.
Officials at Cedars-Sinai, the largest private hospital in the West, accused the California Nurses Assn. of intimidation, property damage and "interference with the right to vote." Last week, the nurses voted in favor of union representation, 695 to 627.
The filing of objections with the National Labor Relations Board could delay the certification of the election by weeks or months, both sides said.
"There are rules set forth in the election that both parties need to abide by -- and that includes the CNA," said Jeanne Flores, the hospital's senior vice president for human resources.
"To the extent that we believe that there was misconduct, we have a right and a duty to our nurses to raise the issue and let the NLRB decide."
Flores refused to disclose examples of misconduct, saying, "We do have specifics, but we prefer to raise those with the NLRB in the legal process."
Officials of the California Nurses Assn. called the hospital's allegations baseless and outrageous. If anything, they said, the labor board should sanction Cedars-Sinai for its conduct during the election.
"Ultimately, they're trying to win through legal maneuvering what they failed to win at the ballot box," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the union, which represents more than 45,000 nurses in the state.
"They invested so much money into this anti-union campaign that I imagine they're embarrassed, and they're looking for some way to save face."
DeMoro added: "They ran a vile, vicious campaign against the nurses."
Lawmakers and actors rallied to the union's side during the nasty union battle. They accused Cedars-Sinai of misrepresenting the union's positions and forcing nurses to attend anti-union meetings. Several pro-union nurses also said that they were threatened with retaliation.
Some labor advocates contend that, by aggressively opposing the union campaign, Cedars-Sinai is betraying, not only workers, but its own heritage as a Jewish institution born a century ago on the Eastside.
"The Star of David is not there by accident," said Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), referring to the symbol of Judaism atop the hospital's main building.
"I've always hoped Cedars-Sinai would reflect positive Jewish values. I'm so disappointed," he said, referring to allegations by pro-union nurses of heavy-handed anti-union tactics by hospital officials.
Thomas M. Priselac, Cedars-Sinai's president and chief executive, has said the lawmakers and actors made such statements based on misinformation.
Priselac also rejected assertions that the hospital had breached Jewish values. "My impression is that the Jewish community has a diversity of opinions about matters related to unions, as is true in the community in general," he said earlier this month.
Hospital industry officials say facilities like Cedars-Sinai prefer to work directly with their employees, without a union set on increasing its ranks.
A union "really complicates a lot of situations, and it really handcuffs the hospital in terms of being more creative and in terms of being able to deal directly with their employees," said Jan Emerson, a spokeswoman for the California Healthcare Assn.
Long before it became the hospital for the stars, with towering buildings named for Max Factor and George Burns, the hospital was an institution for the city's working poor, many of whom were Jewish.
The hospital began in 1902 as Kaspare Cohn Hospital, named for a financier who made an early fortune lending money to Basque sheepherders in Los Angeles and who would later found Union Bank, the leading bank in the city's garment district. In 1910, it moved from Echo Park to East Los Angeles, on what is now Whittier Boulevard.
In 1929, the hospital changed its name to Cedars of Lebanon. The same year, Mt. Sinai Home for the Chronic Invalids, which would later merge to create Cedars-Sinai, was established in East Los Angeles.
A bustling community of immigrant Jewish workers relied on Cedars of Lebanon's clinic, which offered care free or for 10 cents. Many of them also did what they could to contribute to the hospitals. Both Cedars of Lebanon and Mt. Sinai hospitals benefited from fund-raising by groups such as the Workmen's Circle, or Arbeter Ring, a leftist community service group.
"Those institutions welcomed support from mass organizations such as the Workmen's Circle," Eric A. Gordon, director of the Workmen's Circle Southern California district, said of hospitals like the forerunners to Cedars-Sinai. With that history, "it's kind of embarrassing for any Jewish place to be fighting unions," he said.
Cedars-Sinai officials disagreed. "There has been an implication that the fact that we simply campaigned has been somehow anti-democratic, and I don't think that's at all true," Flores said. "We are in favor of a free and fair election, and of allowing our employees to make the decision for themselves."
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