Despite anti-union pressure, RNs vote by 52% for union
Resisting a heavy-handed pressure campaign by their employer and frontline managers, registered nurses at California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific campus, Sutter Health’s largest hospital in San Francisco, have voted to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.
The final count, in a secret ballot, mail campaign counted today by the National Labor Relations Board, was 351 for CNA to 321 for Sutter, a 52 percent margin. Though 42 challenged ballots remain outstanding, CNA today said it was confident the nurses, and their desire for a collective voice for their patients and colleagues would prevail.
A clear majority of nurses voted for CNA representation despite intensive pressure and intimidation by hospital managers in mandatory group meetings and one-on-one meetings with department supervisors that RNs say violates the letter and spirit of a free and democratic election. Management’s campaign featured a series illegal actions, that resulted in a series of unfair labor practice charges against the hospital, charges that have been found meritorious by the NLRB.
“The election is now over,” said CNA co-president Zenei Cortez, RN. “We salute the courage and determination of California Pacific RNs to work together to be able to more effectively advocate for their patients, and work with their CPMC colleagues to improve standards for all Sutter nurses.”
“California Pacific and Sutter executives should respect the democratic decision of the Pacific nurses to be part of the CNA family, and work with us on a fair first contract that is in the best interests of CPMC patients, nurses, and the San Francisco community,” Cortez said.
“We are thrilled that we won by 30 votes despite management’s nasty campaign,” said CPMC Pacific RN Amit Shaham. “We have built an incredible network of RNs for our hospital and we now belong to the most powerful and largest RN organization. RNs will now be able to ensure quality patient care is provided at our hospital.”
“Sutter is going more corporate and we needed this to make sure our hospital does not just become a profit generator,” said Alden Allarde, CPMC Pacific RN. “We wanted to have a voice so that we can improve patient care and make sure the interest of the patients, community and RNs are represented.”
With this election, CNA extends its role as the voice of Sutter RNs. The vote by CPMC RNs unites them with RNs at two other California Pacific facilities, CPMC-California and St. Luke’s hospital who are already represented by CNA.
All told, CNA will now represent more than 1,600 RNs at the three hospitals. System-wide, nearly 8,000 RNs at 14 Sutter hospitals will be CNA members with this vote.
Overall, CNA represents more than 85,000 California RNs, and is the largest member of NNU which represents 185,000 RNs across the country. Since its 2009 founding, NNU has won elections for more than 17,000 RNs, including three this month in California and Washington, DC.