Beverly Hospital Nurses Vote to Join UNAC/UHCP

February 2011

Registered Nurses at Beverly Hospital seeking to rectify long standing patient safety issues at the facility voted by a wide margin to join the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday and today. The next step for the new bargaining unit of over 270 nurses will be negotiations with Beverly Hospital management for a contract, in which nurses will seek protections for safe and legal staffing to improve patient care.

Beverly Hospital nurses delivered a petition last Thursday, February 17, charging that the hospital repeatedly endangers patient safety and violates California state law by not meeting safe nurse to patient ratios. The nurses demanded an immediate resolution to the problem and an investigation into the staffing crisis. The petition was also submitted to the Los Angeles County Department of Health & Safety, which has jurisdiction over Beverly Hospital. As with previous instances where Beverly nurses have reported patient safety issues, hospital management has not responded to the charges.

“We’re trying to win a collective voice so we can sit down with management to make our hospital safer,” said Krystal Gomez, RN in the Medical-Surgical unit at Beverly Hospital.

“Beverly Hospital is my community hospital, my family’s hospital,” stated Kristi Gajkowski, RN in the Special Care Unit. “We need to make sure that patient care comes first. A union will provide support for nurses who speak up for what’s right when we’re challenged to look the other way.”

Ken Deitz, President of UNAC/UHCP and an RN for over 31 years, said, “These sincere and dedicated nurses have taken a courageous stand for their patients, families and community. We’re proud to stand with them.”