OAKLAND, Calif., July 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registered nurses from Kaiser Permanente's flagship Southern California hospital, the Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC), sent an emphatic message Thursday night to Kaiser and the healthcare industry, with a landslide vote to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, California's largest nurses and largest hospital union.
In the final tally, 696 LAMC RNs voted for CNA, nearly 70 percent, far outpacing both the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC/AFSCME) 305 votes, 30 percent, and the one vote for no union. The National Labor Relations Board conducted the secret ballot election.
Hundreds of LAMC RNs, clad in CNA's signature red scrubs and shirts, cheered and wept with joy at the vote count, many breaking into song as the results were tallied.
"With our resounding vote for CNA as our union, patients and nurses at Kaiser LAMC won," said Tessie Costales, RN, an intensive care unit nurse at LAMC. "We want the best for our patients and we need the strong union and contract to be able to retain experienced nurses."
"What amazing nurses," said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of CNA and NNU. "In my 30 years at CNA I can not recall a more incredible group of RNs who were more determined to join our organization to have a powerful voice to protect their patients and advocate for their colleagues. We are extremely proud to welcome them into the CNA/NNU family," DeMoro said.
CNA will now represent the 1,200 LAMC RNs, who are uniting with 19,000 other CNA Kaiser RNs and Nurse Practitioners who work at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics in Northern and Central California who have long been known for forceful advocacy for Kaiser RNs and patients.
DeMoro said she is "looking forward to a quick, smooth transition as the LAMC nurses meet with Kaiser to negotiate their first CNA collective bargaining agreement. It is an exciting time."
"Kaiser RNs have made CNA and NNU the most effective voice for nurses in California and the U.S.," said Zenei Cortez, a Kaiser Northern California RN, co-president of CNA, and chair of the Kaiser RN negotiating team. "CNA has provided us the ability to achieve our dreams for our patients, our families, and our co-workers. With LAMC RNs joining us, we have a historic opportunity to build on those gains and dreams."
"We voted for the best union in the country for direct care RNs," said Coronary Care RN Laura Hernandez. "CNA fights for patients and nurses effectively, and nurses at LAMC need the power of CNA to make sure the patient care is not compromised."
Overall, CNA now represents nearly 90,000 California RNs. The LAMC victory punctuates CNA's rapid growth in Southern California, winning representation for nearly 30,000 RNs in 45 hospitals since 2000, making the organization the largest union of Southern California RNs as well, with nearly 60 CNA hospitals in Southern California overall. National Nurses United, the nation's largest RN organization, and represents 185,000 nurses from coast to coast.
With LAMC RNs joining, "our nurses, our leaders, our organization will have even a greater voice to influence nursing, healthcare and public policy in Southern California," said DeMoro.
"We know that the hospital industry has been paying close attention to our push for greater patient safety, for challenging hospital industry efforts to increase revenues and profits at the expense of patient care, and to step up the efforts for broader healthcare reform. LAMC nurses will be in the forefront of that effort," DeMoro said.
Next up for the RNs will be electing a team of colleagues to represent them in immediate contract talks with Kaiser officials.
Nurses have signaled that they intend to address concerns about patient safety and staffing that were key factors in the election. LAMC is the pre-eminent Kaiser hospital in Southern California, often bringing in Kaiser patients from Bakersfield to San Diego for care.
SOURCE National Nurses United