Issues

2019, A Year in Review

It’s always amazing just how much SEIU California nurses accomplish every year. You are union nurses, so doing amazing work is a daily occurrence. You spend every working day saving and improving people’s lives, so it’s not really a surprise; but it is certainly a source of tremendous pride. It’s also no surprise that nursing is once again the most trusted profession and that 2020 has been named the year of the nurse.
Here is just a small glimpse of what you’ve attained this year. It isn’t a complete list by any means because as SEIU nurses you are always doing what needs to be done for your patients, clients and communities that you serve. Your vision and advocacy go well beyond local issues, but also nationally and even internationally.

The Trump Administration’s so-called ‘conscience rule’ would have allowed health care workers, pharmacies, insurance plans and hospitals to refuse to provide care based on personal beliefs. This rule would have allowed healthcare providers to deny care to LGBTGI patients, women or anyone who they had a religious objection to or simply didn’t approve. SEIU Local 1021 RN Chair, Sasha Cuttler, RN, PhD led other nurses, healthcare workers and community allies to oppose the final rule change by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Our ‘No Hate in Healthcare’ campaign was successful in stopping the rule’s implementation through multiple press conferences/rallies, the federal court system and with added support from Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Along with the SEIU endorsement of the Green New Deal, here in California and throughout the nation, SEIU nurses took on the issue of climate change and disaster relief. You continue to make the assurance of healthy communities, quality public health and equity a top priority; by providing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, joining your work with other environmental justice coalitions and obtaining the qualifications to become disaster response nurses yourselves. We’re accomplishing this by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the International Medical Corp in order to participate in future disaster relief efforts; obtaining disaster response certification that can be used both personally and professionally.

As public health nurses, Shamika Ossey and Sharon Sylvers-Sidney, recognized the need for members of their Watts Community to be prepared for imminent disasters and started volunteering to provide CERT training. Today, they are providing this same training to ensure that their fellow nurses are also prepared, with the sponsorship of their Local 721 and SEIU Nurse Alliance of California. Our goal is to have hundreds of California nurses certified and able to join SEIU nurses across the nation in inevitable and vital relief efforts.

Speaking of SEIU Local 721 and Local 1021; these Locals lead our California environmental justice efforts to address climate change and minimize its negative effects on union members and all Californians, especially the under served and communities of color. Maribel Castillon, RN, PHN, the 2019 recipient of our Glenda Canfield award, is one example of a great nurse leader whose dedication improves the lives of those she serves and the community where she lives.

SEIU Nurse Alliance of California members continue to make preserving and improving the Affordable Care Act a reality for all Californians. You do this primarily in the public health system where most of our nurses work and by partnering with allies to address healthcare costs, quality and access through the state legislative or budget process. This could be in the foster care system or by lobbying for full practice authority for our Nurse Practitioners that would improve care to the under-served in California (AB 890 – Wood).

As union members you worked to ensure that hospitals follow Title 22 the staffing ratio law in order for nurses to provide safe patient care. SEIU Local 121RN (our private sector Local) led the way to the passage of SB 227 (Leyva), joining forces with all SEIU California nurses through State Council and the Nurse Alliance of California. This new law will cite hospitals that violate the law without having to put our patients at risk. You have nurses like Gayle Batiste, the nurses from her Local and actually all of your Locals to thank for SEIU nurses now having the ability to be the true patient advocates that you’ve always been so proud to be.

As patient advocates we recognize that our patients cannot be safe if the nurses that care for them aren’t; SEIU California nurses work to address safety standards through the Cal OSHA regulatory process. Your goal continues to be seeking regulations for safe ventilation during smoke generating procedures and workplace violence prevention – general industry. Nurses, like Marilyn Mara from SEIU Local 521, see the bigger picture as community advocates to protect immigrant families from the proposed Public Charge rule which rips away the medical and other critical programs that help families survive. She understands that this proposal is an attack on immigrant families and their right to healthcare, nutrition, housing and other vital services. Which is why she is using her most trusted voice as a nurse and professional to call out this injustice.

Our nurses advocate for their profession and patients through contract negotiations and memorandums of understanding with their employers that address safety issues, like mandatory overtime. Mandatory overtime was a condition of employment for our SEIU Local 1000’s state nurses. Nurses know that working excessive hours puts your patient’s safety and life at risk, not to mention the risk to the nurse’s well-being. You fought hard to eliminate this practice and we all look forward to the time when this practice is eliminated entirely.

You don’t limit your advocacy to just where you work or live. As nurse leaders, you address legislation on a national level by recognizing that the rights and protections that we enjoy here in California are needed nationally. Every nurse deserves to be able to practice their profession safely and every patient or client deserves to have safe, quality care. Registered Nurses, like Maria Elena Diaz, take that seriously when reaching out to members of Congress seeking support for The National Nurse Act of 2019 that would designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service and elevate the authority and visibility of public health nursing. SEIU nurses have also lobbied on a national level for safe staffing and workplace violence prevention.

SEIU Nurse Alliance of California is proud to represent our 35,000 Registered Nurses and it’s impossible to highlight all of the amazing work that you do, but we wanted to give you an idea of what’s possible when you are a union nurse. SEIU nurses will continue to lead the way on issues that impact your patients, your practice, your health and safety or that of the communities you serve!

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ACA Repeal: Millions Will Lose Coverage, Hundreds of Thousands Will Lose Jobs

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From the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

ACA Repeal = Millions will lose coverage + Hundreds of thousands will lose jobs

Up to 3.7 million insured in California’s Medicaid expansion and a further 1.2 million Californians receiving subsidies to buy affordable health insurance in Covered California are at risk if current Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act are enacted, according to a set of new studies and county fact sheets from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Millions of Californians stand to lose from ACA repeal in some way — either through lost access to affordable coverage or to jobs created by health insurance expansion.

“Fallout from Republican changes to the health care system could be even more harmful if the administration changes the way Medi-Cal benefits are calculated or if coverage features are reduced,” said Miranda Dietz, researcher at the UC Berkeley Labor Center and lead author of one study.

Read the press release: Millions in California will lose coverage and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost if ACA is repealed — new studies, county fact sheets

Read the publication: ACA Repeal in California: Who Stands to Lose?

 

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SEIU, Flint Michigan, and YOU: Nurses in action to protect ourselves and our communities

It’s not an “over there” or “effecting them” issue; in fact, many communities are suffering at the hands of negligent leadership with respect to their drinking water.  The people of Flint are fighting for their health and for their communities, but most importantly, they are setting the stage for a national discussion on holding those we have elected to protect our infrastructure accountable, locally and nationally. Click here for a short presentation with helpful links to signs and symptoms you can look for in your day to day work (and home) environment.

The following summarizes some of the key points:

  • The timeline link shows the Flint drama unfolding from April 2014, when the water source was switched up through January of this year when the state of emergency was declared and the media coverage expanded from local, to regional and eventually to national coverage.
  • With the additional pressure by a vocal public, demanding awareness and scrutiny, a suspiciously corresponding outbreak of Legionaire’s Disease in the same region has been brought to light.
  • Mayo clinic has provided a guideline for signs and symptoms which you may leverage to say informed and vigilant.

FlintLivesMatterSo, what can we do about it as Nurses?

1/ Stay informed – Did you know that the National Patient Safety Foundation declared the week of March 13 – 19th as “National Patient Safety Week”, their website at http://www.unitedforpatientsafety.org/ has an informative blog containing news, and discussion pertaining to patient and community safety.

2/ Join the fight – This isn’t just about Flint. The Nurse Alliance of California wants you to know and be prepared for additional discoveries about local issues arising from leaders who are deliberately or ignorantly “asleep at the wheel”. Remember the Exide incident? The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) has posted advice on preventing lead poisoning in children.

 

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Historical Moment for ALL California Healthcare Workers

Congratulations to All SEIU Members!!

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Thank you to all of our members, especially the ones that have participated and shared their personal stories of workplace violence these past years. We are very grateful to all of our nurses and staff. Thursday’s event was very special because it was attended by both experienced and new nurse leaders.

We made history when Cal/OSHA Standard Board accepted our proposed language to start the formal Rulemaking process to create a comprehensive workplace violence prevention regulation covering all workers in the California healthcare industry.

Thank you, Kathy Hughes, Mark Catlin and Kimberly Rosenberger, who drafted last minute comments based on input made by employers at the hearing. Thank you, Jon Youngdahl, for your comments and holding down the forth inside. Last but not least, thank you Dr. Richard Pan, California State Senator from the 6th District, for testifying about your own experience of workplace violence during the press conference. We had great press coverage before the hearing where Kathy and Ingela were interviewed on live TV (please see links below).

We are very thankful to our CNA brothers and sisters for showing up to support us during the hearing.

At the conclusion of the meeting, SEIU members listened to the Standard Board comments which were mostly positive.

Here is the coverage by the various media outlets.

At the Hearing:
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