President’s Message – September 2012

October 2012

UNAC/UHCP turned 40 this year. It's a good time to reflect with pride on what we've built, and be grateful for what others achieved who came before us. Just to win the right to form a union took decades of struggle, even lives lost. And less than a hundred years ago nurses worked 12 hours shifts seven days a week. Paid vacation and safe staffing were beyond imagining.

Closer to home, Kathy Sackman and others at Kaiser Fontana had already organized—into CNA. But after almost a year of no help, they pulled out, and in May 1972, 40 nurses from Fontana, Balboa, and Los Alamitos created UNAC to represent themselves. By June, we had 117 dues-paying members and $250 in the bank. Our first convention in 1974 at the Grand Hotel in Anaheim had thirty eight delegates. This year's convention will host nearly 700.

Nothing we've won was just given to us. We fought for ten years to organize an all RN unit at St. Francis. It took only a five year court fight to organize medical professionals at Fountain Valley. In 1996, Sharp RNs won the largest private sector RN union election in history to form SPNN in San Diego. Within months of my joining Kaiser in 1979, I was walking a picket line with 800 other RNs. I grew up Union—my dad was a Pittsburgh steel worker—so I was ready to do what it took to win equal pay in the clinics. And that was the last time UNAC/UHCP had to strike--though we've come close since. In 1997 we helped found the historic Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser, proving that a strong worker voice only makes an organization stronger.

While we can reflect and be grateful, we can't rest. Not only has UNAC/UHCP and every other labor union struggled for every gain we've achieved—we struggle every day to hold onto those gains. There's nothing on our list of victories that couldn't be lost. A close look at Proposition 32 will tell you that's the plan: cut us off at the knees, gag us, then take it all back. First up would be our collective bargaining rights. How long after that before safe staffing would come under attack? In honor of our forty year legacy, we cannot let that happen.

In unity,
Ken Deitz, RN

Previous Messages

President’s Message – Fall 2015 Oct 2015
President’s Message – July 2015 Jul 2015
President’s Message – May 2015 May 2015
President’s Message – March 2015 Mar 2015
President’s Message – January 2015 Jan 2015
President’s Message – November 2014 Nov 2014
President’s Message – September 2014 Sep 2014
President’s Message – July 2014 Jul 2014
President’s Message – May 2014 May 2014
President’s Message – March 2014 Mar 2014
President’s Message – January 2014 Feb 2014
President’s Message – July 2013 Jul 2013
President’s Message – May 2013 Jun 2013
President’s Message – March 2013 Mar 2013
President’s Message – January 2013 Jan 2013
President’s Message – November 2012 Nov 2012
President’s Message – July 2012 Aug 2012
President’s Message – June 2012 Jun 2012
President’s Message – March 2012 Mar 2012
President’s Message – January 2012 Jan 2012
President’s Message – October 2011 Oct 2011
President’s Message – July 2011 Jul 2011
President’s Message – June 2011 Jun 2011
President’s Message – April 2011 Apr 2011
President’s Message – February 2011 Feb 2011
President’s Message – December 2010 Dec 2010
President’s Message – September 2010 Sep 2010
President’s Message – July 2010 Jul 2010
President’s Message – March 2010 Mar 2010
President’s Message – January 2010 Jan 2010
President’s Message – November 2009 Nov 2009
Testimony at the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee Meeting Aug 2009
Kathy J. Sackman | Make a Difference Video Aug 2009