Kicking Off the New Year With The Fight For Good Jobs and Health Care

January 2008

UNAC/UHCP activist Scott Byington, RN, flanked by fellow union members addresses the Delegates Congress

Los Angeles, CA – As the New Year begins, UNAC/UHCP activists are getting ready to bargain new contracts. Members at St. Francis Medical Center will negotiate a new pact, while members at Kaiser Permanente are scheduled to re-open certain sections of their contract.

These UNAC/UHCP members are standing with more than 350,000 working people in 30 different local unions throughout Los Angeles County who will fight for good jobs as they renegotiate contracts in 2008.

To launch these campaigns, the L.A. County Federation of Labor brought together more than 1,000 union activists - including a dozen UNAC/UHCP members - for a boisterous Delegates Congress in December at the Century Plaza Hotel.

UNAC/UHCP members at St. Francis are getting overwhelmed with emergency room admissions, including gunshot wounds, ever since the shutdown of nearby Martin Luther King Jr. - Harbor Hospital last summer. During negotiations, the nurses will bargain for additional security measures. "We need your help to keep our patients safe," St. Francis RN Scott Byington told the 1,000 cheering fellow union members at the Congress.

At the gathering, union members heard from elected officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Congresswomen Hilda Solis and Laura Richardson, as well as from construction workers, security officers, and port truck drivers who are struggling to form unions.

Joining with fellow union members to map out ways to connect bargaining, organizing and political action in 2008 left UNAC/UHCP member Myrna Madriaga feeling energized. "Having a union means having a voice," said Madriaga, a registered nurse at Kaiser Panorama City "And joining together with other unions gives us an even more powerful voice."