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Henry Mayo Newall Workers Celebrate their UE Victory ...
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There couldn’t have been anything better than this," said Leticia Ramirez, a nurses aide, after she and her co-workers at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital voted by a nearly four-to-one margin to be represented by UE.

In a two-day election that took place in pouring rain unusual for sunny southern California, Henry Mayo Hospital workers voted 288 to 77 to join UE. The election was conducted by the National Labor  Relations Board on Feb. 23 and 24.

The approximately 510 employees — licensed vocational nursing staff, technicians in Radiology, Lab and Respiratory, clerks and support staff — are roughly half the hospital’s total work force. They sent a powerful message to their employer: they are tired of years of declining benefits, severe understaffing and a five-year wage freeze.


The 1,000 Mark

Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley points out that with the win at Henry Mayo, UE has now organized more than a thousand workers since the close of last summer’s 64th National Convention.

"This was a vote for better jobs and better patient care," said Judy Hice, a data coordinator who has worked at the hospital for 16 years.

The new UE members expressed concerns about patient care, understaffing, wages and raises, health insurance, retirement benefits, continuing education and tuition reimbursement, job security, and respect for years of service.

When workers began their organizing efforts nine months ago, many were at their wits’ end about the intolerable working conditions and pay. Now there is a renewed sense of hope and power.

"I never thought we could have gotten this far," said Leticia Ramirez, who has been at the hospital for 12 years. She delayed planned and much-needed back surgery, continuing to work despite pain for more than a month, to help organize her union and secure the lopsided majority in last month’s election.

Levma, Bucknall and Fisher

In a final push for the union, Laura Lerma and Terry Bucknall lend a hand to co-worker Susie Fisher. A licensed vocational nurse, Fisher was fresh out of surgery when wheeled to the polling place. Many Henry Mayo workers went out of their way to make the victory possible.

Many other hospital employees went the extra mile to contribute their vote to the huge victory. Susie Fisher, a licensed vocational nurse, was fresh out of surgery when she was wheeled to the polling place by her coworkers. Edwin Quinones, a nurses aide, was off both days of the vote and drove more than four hours, round trip, to cast his ballot for the UE.


The UE organizing campaign began in June 1999; the union filed a petition with the NLRB on Dec. 29.

The Henry Mayo victory is a product of a unique collaborative effort between the UE and the California Nurses Association (CNA), an independent union representing 30,000 registered nurses in the state of California. The CNA won bargaining rights for the 250 RNs at Henry Mayo six months ago. Staffing and pay concerns also fueled that union victory.

UE credits the nurses — both the CNA organization and the Henry Mayo nurses on the job — with unwavering support throughout the union drive.

The CNA is now in contract negotiations with Henry Mayo; members of both unions look forward to continued collaboration and additional strength in bargaining. "The unity of the employees throughout the hospital will strengthen the position of both unions as we bargain for quality care and quality jobs at Henry Mayo," said CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

UE and the CNA have worked closely together as prominent backers of the Labor Party. CNA’s DeMoro addressed UE’s 1996 National Convention.

Henry Mayo Workers were assisted in their victory by International Representatives Terry Davis and Fernando Losada, and Field Organizers Leah Fried, Jeremy Prose, Ray Riordan, Mary McGinn, and Rachel Wells.

UE News - 03/00

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