Hillary Clinton, Riverside Councilman Support Parkview Nurses – January 18, 2008
Surrounded by supporters, including a Riverside city councilman, registered nurse Deirdre Kirkwood called on Parkview Community Hospital to let her go back to work after she was unfairly fired for trying to form a union with UNAC/UHCP for a voice on the job.
"I love Parkview, and I want my job back," proclaimed Deirdre, a seven-year neonatal intensive care nurse, at a news conference on January 18 outside the hospital.
Deirdre and her fellow nurses were also buoyed by a letter from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, expressing support for their campaign. "I believe that when nurses join together in a union, they not only improve the quality of their own jobs, but also the quality of care for patients," Clinton wrote in a letter to Parkview CEO Doug Drumwright, asking him to ensure a free and fair union election process.
Although she has a spotless performance record, Deirdre was fired with no warning on January 4. The human relations manager told her there was "poor morale" at the hospital and it was "cleaning house."
At the news conference, Deirdre distributed a notarized letter authorizing Parkview to release her employment files to the public.
"With a clean record, I can only conclude that the reason I was fired was because I am helping form a union at Parkview," Deirdre said. "It's true that I want a union at Parkview. I want a union because I love Parkview and I want to make it better."
After the firing, Parkview administrators began a campaign of intimidation and harassment against Deirdre and other nurses who support the union. They called police when supporters tried to tell Deirdre's story to employees outside the hospital. Security guards took pictures and videotaped nurses talking to union supporters. An administrator and two managers even tried to muscle their way into a private union organizing meeting at Deirdre's church. UNAC/UHCP filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Parkview.
"We want Parkview to stop this kind of behavior," Deirdre said. "We are asking Parkview to allow the nurses to have a fair union election, free from harassment and intimidation."
"Parkview has a choice," said Kathy Sackman, RN, UNAC/UHCP President. "It can keep battling its nurses. Or it can allow the nurses to choose for themselves whether to have a union."
Riverside City Councilman Andrew Melendrez added his voice to the nurses' campaign. "It is extremely important that we maintain our dignity, and we ask the administration to do the same," he said. "I am proud to be among nurses who are passionate and committed to their jobs."
Learn More, Take Action:
Read Hillary Clinton's letter supporting the Parkview nurses.
Download Deirdre's story
Email your message of support to Deirdre
Deirdre's not alone: thousands of working people get fired every year for being active in union organizing campaigns.
Take action to strengthen federal laws to protect working people organizing for a voice on the job.
Download Fast Facts about Nurses and Unions
Timeline of the Parkview Nurses Campaign