UNAC/UHCP Celebrates the Big 4-0 Hard at Work

October 2012

UNAC/UHCP President Ken Deitz, RN, opened the 40th Anniversary Convention by talking about how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown—adding almost 2,000 members in just the last year—before laying out the hard work yet to be done, with dozens of hospitals in Southern California still unorganized, new contracts to be won, and the need to strengthen safe staffing enforcement. “Are you with me?” he called out, rousing the delegates with the message that none of us can do it alone. We are all in this together.

Delegates then got down to business. They voted on 13 amendments to the UNAC/UHCP constitution, as well as a resolution, and got in six CEUs in the process. The theme of the convention, Power+Unity=Victory, could not have been more appropriate as delegates debated serious issues that will shape the course of the union for years to come, and then put it all behind them as they picked up “No on 32” lawn signs and committed to bringing back all they learned to their affiliates.

Barbara Blake, RN, was elected to her first full term as Secretary/Treasurer, after longtime UNAC/UHCP Treasurer Delima MacDonald retired on March 31, 2012. Delima attended convention as a guest of the Retiree Council chapter of AFSCME.

Barbara has had a long and distinguished career both in nursing and as a union and political activist. She became an RN in 1977, and was first elected an officer in UNAC/UHCP in 1982, as Vice President of the Kaiser Sunset affiliate. In 1986, she began working for the union as a Staff Representative. She was elected the UNAC/UHCP State Secretary in 1996.

As leader of UNAC/UHCP’s legislative team, Barbara has worked on numerous bills to protect patients’ rights, establish safe staffing regulations in California hospitals, achieve health care reform, and improve working conditions for health care workers.

“The patients, nurses and health care professionals of California and UNAC/UHCP have no greater champion than Barbara Blake,” said Ken Deitz, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP. “She’ll continue to lead our fight in Sacramento.”

Pam Brodersen, NP of Kaiser Downey, and Cindy Klein, RN, of Kaiser Riverside were re-elected to their seats on the Board of Directors. Belinda Redding, RN, from Kaiser Woodland Hills was elected to her first term on the Board to begin January 1, 2013.

During a brief awards ceremony Sharp RNs honored Elizabeth Huch with an incredibly touching award for her service. Liz worked in the Rehabilitation Unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital for many years, where she was a tireless patient and nurse advocate, much admired by her colleagues. In thanking her colleagues for the honor, Liz said her coworkers were like her family.