UNAC/UHCP Thanks our Partners for SPNN

November 2013

Barbara Dent and Becky Motlagh have taken parallel paths for over two decades. In 1989 Barbara was shocked to find doctors at Chula Vista yelling at nurses and demanding coffee. She started a new practice: whenever a doctor yelled at a nurse, the rest of the nurses quietly stood next to her. The culture quickly changed. When Becky started at Grossmont in 1990, UNAC was there until Sharp bought it in 1991 and they lost the union. Soon nurses saw higher patient loads and fewer shifts.

In 1995 Barbara and Becky each helped organize their hospitals in a year-long system-wide campaign at Sharp that led to the largest group of nurses to ever vote union. Between Sharp’s challenges to the election and tough negotiations it took two more years for SPNN to win their first contract, with Barbara and Becky on the team. Barbara became SPNN’s first President and Becky the first Staff Representative. “We were a good team,” said Becky, “Both very strong in different ways.”

Now both have decided to retire. Barbara’s been working since she was 14, and looks forward to joining her husband in retirement. Then she might volunteer with at-risk teens. Becky will first head to Egypt, where her daughter teaches English. Their parting words of wisdom? “Never give up,” says Barbara. “Never become complacent.” What Becky will remember most is “the importance of strong collective activity. Unity can move mountains—by which I mean management.”