Voicing concern about safe staffing, fair pay, and respect in the workplace, registered nurses at Kindred Hospital San Gabriel Valley in West Covina (an LA suburb) voted by 90 percent Wednesday night to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.
The final vote, a secret ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, was 37 to 4 to join CNA.
“We are thrilled to join our union coworkers at Kindred Westminster and Baldwin Park,” said Kindred San Gabriel RN Nieva Castigador. “In the coming weeks we will be electing our bargaining team and are looking forward to bargaining our first contract to improve working conditions for our patients and ourselves.”
CNA, California’s largest RN organization with more than 90,000 members, now represents RNs at three Kindred Healthcare facilities ― Kindred Baldwin Park, Kindred Westminster, and now Kindred San Gabriel Valley, where CNA will represent 100 RNs.
Baldwin Park RNs voted to join CNA last November and are currently in talks with hospital officials on their first collective bargaining agreement.
In the lead up to the election, the Kindred San Gabriel Valley RNs expressed a strong desire for a collective voice to improve RN staffing standards for patients, sufficient medical supplies and equipment for patient care, and strengthened standards for nurses, including guaranteed wage increases, lower health insurance premiums, and an improved retirement plan.
Other Kindred San Gabriel Valley health workers are also considering unionization through the CNA-affiliated Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union. Hospital employees at Kindred Baldwin Park are currently CHEU members.
"I'm excited that the RNs have chosen to join CNA, and I hope our coworkers will join us by building support in CHEU, said Kindred San Gabriel RN Jovy Mendoza. “We will be stronger together to improve conditions for our patients and ourselves."
Peter Dreier is professor of politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books).