President’s Message – November 2012
Democracy in Action—we've seen a lot of it lately. At our 40th anniversary convention in San Diego, I saw democracy at its best. Our delegates came together to vote on amendments to our constitution, and the quality of debate—passionate, but considerate and respectful, made me proud. With three open seats on our Board of Directors our union put up six strong candidates, any one of whom would have been an excellent choice. That made me optimistic for the vitality of our union's future. And I was pleased to see our unanimity in electing Barbara Blake, RN, as State Secretary/Treasurer.
The November election showed us the worst and best of democracy. We saw deception at the local, state and national levels. Despite last minute, deceptive attacks we helped carry our own Political Director Jimmy Gomez to a seat in the California State Assembly. With Prop 32, we saw a small group of rich donors, backed by a flood of out-of-state dollars, try to trick voters into drowning out the voices of workers from our political dialogue. But union members joined with voters who understand and value our contribution to defeat that attack—this time. In the Presidential election we saw more deceptive politics, but the outcome was good for health care professionals and union members. Obamacare will expand health care, save lives and grow our professions. In addition, many may not be aware of how the President affects us as union members by his appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Under Obama's NLRB, just here at UNAC/UHCP we've seen numerous decisions favorable to our members that could easily have gone the other way under a Republican administration.
What I saw during our convention and in this election reminds me of what our union values are: they are American values. Democracy. Unity and community. The dignity of hard work. We operate by our constitution. We elect our representatives. We debate and vote our way forward. And we help to democratize our workplaces. Our union ensures that we are part of the crucial decisions made for our patients and our professions, at the hospital and governmental levels. As UNAC/UHCP comes to the end of a very strong year of victories for our members and organizing new members, we can all be proud that our democracy and our health care system function better because of our Union.
Ken Deitz, RN