California Nurses Association Wins Vote at St. Mary, Long Beach

Ninth Election Win This Year for State’s Largest Nurses Union

[The following notice was posted on the Internet June 1, 2001, by Charles Idelson, a public information officer of the California Nurses Association (CNA).]

Registered nurses (RNs) at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach voted Thursday night (May 31) for representation by the California Nurses Association, the state’s largest organization of nurses.

The Long Beach election marked the ninth time this year that nurses in the state’s biggest hospital chain, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), have chosen to affiliate with CNA, by an aggregate 68% vote. St. Mary, with over 380 RNs, is one of the largest hospitals in the CHW system — and one of the largest hospitals in Los Angeles. CNA will now represent 7,500 RNs in 23 CHW hospitals, and more than 37,000 nurses overall.

“I am very proud of my fellow RNs for standing up for their patients and their profession by choosing the California Nurses Association,” said Denise DeCock, a Labor and Delivery RN at St. Mary.  We all look forward to joining 7,500 other CHW nurses to win a good contract so that we may better serve our patients.”

CNA President Kay McVay, RN, said the Long Beach election, following the votes by other Los Angeles-area RNs this spring, “clearly stamps CNA as the voice of nurses in Southern California. This will have a dramatic impact as nurses in CHW hospitals and throughout the region and state work to improve conditions for their patients and themselves.”

The final tally at St. Mary, in a secret ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, was 145 votes, 50%, for CNA; 102 votes, 35%, for no union; and 38 votes, 13%, for the Service Employees International Union, with 6 challenged votes.

Although the challenges must still be resolved by the NLRB, “we are extremely confident that CNA will be certified by the Board as the representative for St. Mary RNs,” said David Johnson, CNA’s Southern California director.

“We will move quickly to work with the St. Mary RNs to begin talks with the administration on their first contract,” Johnson noted. The RNs will elect representatives to negotiate an agreement, working in close coordination with RNs at five other Los Angeles-area CHW hospitals where the RNs voted to join CNA in March and April, he said.

Johnson added that the St. Mary vote will also provide a significant boost to nurses at nearby Long Beach Memorial Hospital who are also seeking representation by CNA.

Other CHW hospitals where the RNs have voted for CNA this year are: San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, and California Hospital Medical Center, all in Los Angeles County, and Community Hospital and St. Bernardine Medical Center, both in San Bernardino; also, Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, and St. Dominic’s in Manteca near Stockton.