RNs at San Pedro Hospital Vote to Join the California Nurses Association

  1. http://www.calnurses.org/
    For Immediate Release July 14, 2003
    Contact Liz Jacobs, 510-273-2232; David Monkawa 818-262-4495

    RNs at San Pedro Hospital Vote to Join the California Nurses Association
    A two-day election at San Pedro Hospital in Southern California, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, was capped by a vote count today with the California Nurses Association (CNA) winning representation of 200 Registered Nurses at the hospital.

    RNs first approached the nurses association in early 2003 and, by May 2003, CNA had filed for the election. The hospital is owned by the Little Company of Mercy, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Providence Health System.

    "This is a vote for justice on behalf of our patients," said Lora Smith, an RN for six years in the Critical Care Unit at San Pedro. "We'll now have the ability to speak out about the quality of care that's delivered to our patients, and have CNA's support behind us."

    Smith predicts that CNA's presence will also attract more RNs to the hospital, an additional benefit for patients as well as for the nurses.

    In the brief six weeks between the election filing by CNA at the labor board, and the election itself, hospital officials began an anti-union campaign designed to dissuade the RNs from voting for CNA, utilizing mandatory meetings, e-mail messages, and literature. In the week leading up to the election, RNs were treated to breakfasts, lunches and dinners at no cost, in a final attempt to convince them the hospital should remain union-free.

    "Despite some impact on some of the RNs, clearly most of us were not influenced enough to reject CNA," said Phyllis Whitmore, an RN at San Pedro Hospital for 29 years, now working in the GI Lab and Ambulatory Care. "Many RNs were determined to vote for CNA in order to address many things, including issues of patient care, retirement, and wages."

    Wage disparities resulting from a subjective merit pay system and a failure by the hospital to establish incentives for long-term RNs drove many of them to seek representation with the nurses association. Also of major concern were patient care issues along with scheduling practices and staffing needs.

    "Registered Nurses in our organization have understood their power and effectively exercised their influence on behalf of their patients and their profession for decades," said David Johnson, Southern California Director for the California Nurses Association. "We are experiencing a tremendous wave of registered nurses at non-union hospitals coming to that realization and approaching us for representation."

    Johnson points to the election filings by CNA for over 5,000 RNs at 19 hospitals in California run by Tenet Healthcare over the past 3 months. The nurses association currently represents 50,000 RNs at 150 facilities statewide.
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  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Tuesday, July 15, 2003

    Hospital nurses vote to unionize
    SAN PEDRO: Workers at Little Company of Mary facility vote to affiliate with the California Nurses Association.
    By Lee Peterson

    Registered nurses at Little Company of Mary-San Pedro Hospital have voted by a margin of seven votes to form a union, a ballot count by the National Labor Relations Board determined Monday.
    The decision by nurses to join the California Nurses Association at the hospital formerly known as San Pedro Peninsula comes as part of a recent wave of health-care worker unionization in California.
    With about 160 RNs on staff, the vote was 72-65, with six challenged ballots that weren't counted. Because the challenged ballots were not enough to change the outcome of last week's two-day election, the NLRB found that the vote was in favor of the union.
    Nurses who supported the union said they believe the union's presence will increase their voice in the hospital. As part of the wide-scale organizing of nurses in the state, it will also help recruit new nurses to the profession and the hospital, they said.
    "A lot of us are old-timer nurses who have been there for 20 years-plus and we were probably the core behind this," said Phyllis Whitmore, a 29-year veteran of the San Pedro hospital who works in the gastrointestinal lab and in ambulatory care. "We've seen a lot of changes."
    Whitmore said that as the facility has become part of bigger and bigger chains, the nurses have had less of a voice.
    The hospital converted to a Catholic facility when it joined the the Little Company of Mary chain in 1992. Little Company of Mary became part of the Providence Health System in 1999.
    Nurses said that with a greater voice, they could help improve care at the hospital.
    The hospital has the right to challenge the election, but has indicated in a written statement issued Monday afternoon that no decision has been made on that issue yet, as the hospital is still learning the process.
    "Regardless of the outcome, our hospital will remain true to its mission in the delivery of quality health-care services to our patients," said a statement attributed to hospital Administrator Nancy Carlson.Carlson said all hospitals-unionized or not-are struggling to recruit nurses in the face of the ongoing nursing shortage.
    CNA has filed with the NRLB for union elections for 5,000 nurses at various hospitals around the state in the past three months. The Service Employees International Union also has been busily organizing, signing an agreement with the state's largest hospital chain-Tenet Healthcare-to open the door for union elections in those facilities.
    Publish Date:July 15, 2003