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Home > Article Categories > Medical Articles > Nurses of Beverly Hospital and Their Supporters Rally Ahead of Unionization

Nurses of Beverly Hospital and Their Supporters Rally Ahead of Unionization

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MONTEBELLO ? Approximately 50 Beverly Hospital nurses and their backers participated in a rally last Thursday night ahead of a vote this week to find out whether nurses will unite with the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals.

The hospital's 270 registered nurses will participate in the vote to unite UNAC/UHCP, the biggest nurses union in Southern California, giving voice to more than 20,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals.

They also brought a petition to hospital officials, asserting the hospital threatens patient safety and goes against state law by not conforming to safe nurse-to-patient ratios.

"It's like talking to deaf ears," said Krystal Gomez, a registered nurse for more than a year at Beverly Hospital. "Joining the union will give all of us a collective voice."

Marlene Ontiveros, also a registered nurse, said uniting with the union is not about wages but patient care. She said that their priority is patient safety, which is not being talked about by the higher-ups.

Of course, hospital officials oppose the accusations.

"For four years in a row (2007-2010), Healthgrades, a national company that measures the quality of patient care in hospitals across the country, ranked BeverlyHospital in the top 5 percent of the nation's hospitals," said in a press release by Alice Cheng, vice president of business development and marketing for Beverly Hospital. "The consistent rankings by this independent company show that the quality of patient care is not an issue at Beverly Hospital."

Fred Young an Intensive Care Unit nurse addressed the gathered crowd that nursing is not a job, but a calling.

?What we do affects lives," Young said. "It's our duty to speak up when changes need to happen."

Young claims hospital officials regard the nurses as opponents.

He said, "When something happens, if the changes aren't made, we'll be the ones thrown under the bus."

"We appreciate the contributions made by all of our employees, and their efforts and commitment to the communities and patients we serve," explained the hospital's press release. "We fully support the right of our registered nurses to make an informed decision as to whether or not they want union representation, as guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act."

Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Montebello extends his support to the nurses at the rally.

"The quality of care may be in jeopardy here with nurses performing duties outside of the scope of their licenses," Calderon said.

He was appalled that calls to Beverly Hospital CEO Gary Kiff concerning the issues raised by the nurses were not returned.

According to Calderon he has supported this hospital in the past. "But when you see management not return a legislator's calls, you question the management style and it tends to lend credibility (to the charges),? he added.


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