Meet Our New Staff – Nov/Dec’10 Voice

December 2010

Rob Penney, PhD — Organizing Director

Rob Penney, Ph.D., joined UNAC/UHCP as Organizing Director in October 2010.

Rob Penney, PhD, Organizing Director

Rob runs the union’s organizing program and builds local leadership at UNAC/UHCP’s affiliates. He leads organizing campaigns for Registered Nurses and other health care professionals seeking a voice in the workplace in order to improve the quality of patient care.

Rob brings more than two decades of labor organizing experience to UNAC/UHCP. He began his labor career in 1990 as an organizer for the healthcare division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). After earning his Doctorate of Sociology at the University of Michigan, where Rob negotiated two contracts for graduate student employees, he had a three-year stint as a professor at The George Washington University before returning to union organizing for SEIU-UHW and SEIU 721 in southern California.

“Having a voice in the workplace is key for RNs and other health care professionals committed to providing high caliber patient care,” commented Rob. “I look forward to helping many more throughout southern California gain that voice through UNAC/UHCP.”

When Rob is not organizing, he spends his time with his wife, a clinical psychologist, and their two boys, ages three and seven, at their Orange County home.


Barbara Lewis — Director of Collective Bargaining and Representation Services

Barbara Lewis has joined UNAC/UHCP as the Director of Collective Bargaining and Representation Services.

Barbara Lewis, Director of Representation and Collective Bargaining

Barbara will work with the UNAC/UHCP affiliate leadership to continue to strengthen and build the Union’s representation and collective bargaining programs. Barbara’s focus will be to ensure that UNAC/UHCP members have the primary voice in protecting and advancing high quality patient care, and continue to win contracts that recognize the skill, expertise and commitment of UNAC/UHCP’s membership.

Barbara is a long-term union activist, coming to UNAC/UHCP from the National Union of Healthcare Workers. She has previously worked with the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 2 and with several different affiliates of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Throughout her extensive career, Barbara has overseen bargaining, representation, training, leadership development, employer relations, membership participation in political programs and organizing. Among her accomplishments, Barbara helped develop SEIU’s National Nurse Alliance program and served as statewide director of one of the largest health care campaigns in the country, organizing 25 Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California.

“I am excited about working with UNAC/UHCP’s Registered Nurses and other health care professionals to achieve their goals of providing the highest level of patient care and ensuring they are recognized for their professional skills and expertise,” commented Barbara. “Our members are on the frontlines of patient care and, in today’s healthcare industry, they need strong, effective union leadership that will work tirelessly to address their concerns.”

Barbara has been married for almost 25 years and is a proud mother of two sons. She is actively involved in fundraising efforts for both their high school and the local YMCA programs.