United Nurses and Health Care Professionals Stand Up Against Prop 32 as They Celebrate 40 Years of Having a Voice in the Workplace

October 2012

October 26, 2012
Contact: Jeff Rogers
UNAC/UHCP Public Affairs Specialist
Cell: 909-263-7230 • Office: 909-618-0663

United Nurses and Health Care Professionals Stand Up Against Prop 32 as They Celebrate 40 Years of Having a Voice in the Workplace

Southern California – The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) held its 40th Anniversary Convention from October 21 through October 24 at the Bayfront Hilton in San Diego, where the organization continued its fight against Proposition 32 on the November ballot, while also electing Barbara Blake, RN, as its Secretary/Treasurer, and three members to its Board of Directors.

“The work of this union for forty years has been to raise our voices to advocate for our patients and improve health care in California,” said Blake. “Even now, in the election less than two weeks away, wealthy and out-of-state interests threaten to silence our voices and throw the quality of health care in our state into jeopardy with Proposition 32, which could rapidly lead to weakening California’s landmark safe nurse-to-patient ratio law that has saved so many lives in our state. Our responsibility to protect our patients has never been more acute. With this vote of confidence from our membership, I can help carry that work forward for another four years.”

Barbara Blake has had a long and distinguished career both in nursing and as a union and political activist. She became an RN in 1977 when she graduated from California Hospital School of Nursing in Los Angeles. She has worked as an RN at UCLA Medical Center, Thalians’ Mental Health Center (Cedars-Sinai Health System) and Kaiser Mental Health Center.

Blake was first elected an officer in UNAC/UHCP in 1982, as Vice President of the Kaiser Sunset affiliate, serving through 1986, when she began working for the union as a Staff Representative. She was elected the UNAC/UHCP State Secretary in 1996. In April 2012, after the retirement of UNAC/UHCP’s longtime Treasurer Delima Macdonald, the role of treasurer was added to the office of State Secretary. With her election this week, Blake begins the first, full four-year term for the new office of Secretary/Treasurer.

In 1993, Barbara completed the Harvard University Trade Union Program. She returned to Harvard in 2009, completing a four week executive leadership program. She was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE) in 1996 and as NUHHCE’s RN Vice President in 2008. This year, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Blake as a public member to the California Apprenticeship Council.

As leader of UNAC/UHCP’s legislative team, Blake 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 to preserve our voice in Sacramento by driving Prop 32 down to defeat.”

UNAC/UHCP also elected three members to its Board of Directors: Pam Brodersen, Nurse Practitioner (NP); Cindy Klein, RN, and Belinda Redding, RN. Brodersen and Klein were both re-elected; Redding will serve her first term. Their terms begin January 1, 2013.

Pam Brodersen is a Nurse Practitioner in the Obstetrics unit at Kaiser Downey. She has served on the UNAC/UHCP board for over fifteen years, and is also Hospital President in the Kaiser Downey Registered Nurses Association, an affiliate of UNAC/UHCP. “I am proud to be part of such an outstanding and extraordinary union,” said Brodersen.

Cindy Klein is an RN in family medicine at Kaiser Riverside, and was first elected to the UNAC/UHCP board in 2008. This year she was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to California’s Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). She has served as Clinic President for the Kaiser Riverside Health Care Professionals Association affiliate of UNAC/UHCP since 2007. “I believe in what UNAC/UHCP stands for and what it has accomplished,” said Klein.

Belinda Redding works as a Gastroenterology nurse at Kaiser Woodland Hills, where she also serves as Clinic President in the Kaiser Woodland Hills Registered Nurses Association affiliate of UNAC/UHCP. “With health care reform recently enacted but under threat, and with the effort to silence nurses’ voices embodied by Prop 32, it’s more important than ever for us to fight for patient access to quality health care,” said Redding.

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The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals is the largest nurses union in Southern California and represents over 21,000 Registered Nurses and other health care professionals, including Optometrists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and Nurse-Midwives. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. For more information on UNAC/UHCP, visit www.unacuhcp.org.