Union in Brief – May 2014

May 2014


UNAC/UHCP member leaders attended our international union AFSCME’s California PEOPLE Conference last month, where UNAC/UHCP received the PEOPLE MVP Award. Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality (PEOPLE) is AFSCME’s political action committee, so UNAC/UHCP’s representatives participated in trainings and political strategy sessions, then met with legislators at the State Capitol to discuss upcoming bills. Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 1094 would protect communities when a nonprofit hospital is being sold—like St. Francis Medical Center—by maintaining access to crucial hospital services. UNAC/UHCP members discussed the bill with Dr. Richard Pan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez—UNAC/UHCP’s former Legislative and Political Director—among others.


Our most recent UNAC/UHCP affiliate has adopted a constitution drafted by a member committee, and along with it a name: United Therapists of Southern California (UTSC). In March, they elected their inaugural group of eight Affiliate Officers, including one Vice President for each of three separate areas: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Home Health. Vanessa Caballero, lead organizer on their campaign to join UNAC/UHCP, became their first Staff Representative. And to round out their good news, the wage increases they negotiated in their first contract hit their paychecks in April.


Affiliate Officers had their annual gathering in March. They heard from all of the State Officers and several department directors about the state of UNAC/UHCP, the labor movement and health care; as well as current contract negotiations and organizing campaigns. Guest speakers included Jane McAlevey, author of Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell), who shared hard-won lessons from tough RN-organizing campaigns; and Marsha Mather-Thrift, Executive Director of a Bay Area park devoted to Rosie the Riveter and the women who entered the manufacturing workforce during World War II. Officers broke into smaller working groups to develop and then share ideas and strategies for building worksite and union effectiveness and power.