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Dramatic Las Vegas Vote by RNs for Change
Date:5/8/2008

St. Rose Dominican Nurses Want to Join CNA/NNOC, Reject Service Employees

Union by 53%

LAS VEGAS, May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Registered nurses at three St. Rose Dominican hospitals in Henderson and Las Vegas early Thursday cast a strong vote to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee and leave behind their current representative, the Service Employees International Union Local 1107.

In a three-way race, 400 RNs voted for CNA/NNOC, with 377 voting for SEIU Local 1107 and 26 opting for no union. With six challenged ballots still in dispute, a runoff may still be avoided.

But with 53 percent of the RNs voting to reject Local 1107, CNA/NNOC leaders today called on SEIU to withdraw. The election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, affects 1,100 RNs at the Siena and Rose de Lima campuses in Henderson and the San Martin facility in Las Vegas.

"St. Rose Dominican RNs have made it clear that they want a change," said Zenei Cortez, RN, member of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents. "They want and deserve a more effective voice to advocate for their patients and to achieve the standards they have seen won by their colleagues in CNA/NNOC."

"The nurses have spoken and SEIU should respect their decision," said Cortez. "SEIU should step aside and allow the St. Rose Dominican RNs to negotiate improved pay, pensions and medical benefits without further delay."

The RNs voting to leave SEIU Local 1107 said they were tired of substandard representation and an inferior contract, and wished to be a part of CNA/NNOC, the nation's largest organization of RNs, and its track record of landmark achievements for nurses and patient protections.

St. Rose Dominican RNs also called the vote an emphatic repudiation of a union with all the advantages and record of incumbency, and a clear indication that SEIU's time is up.

"We want to take our union back," said Melanie Sisson, RN. "[SEIU President] Andy Stern's agenda does not address any of the nurses' issues. All he wants to do is grow his members and not provide the services we need to help nurses' professional practice. SEIU is interested in running a top-down organization where they're like the boss."

"At first I was very reluctant to meet with NNOC because I was with SEIU. But all it took was three membership meetings with NNOC to convince me I was with the wrong union," said Rowena Smith, RN.

"We accomplished so much in just 10 weeks, it's exciting," said Alaiyo Taylor, RN.

Once the final outcome is determined, the RNs said they are confident they will join with 10,500 other RNs represented by CNA/NNOC at 27 other hospitals which, like St. Rose Dominican, are part of the Catholic Healthcare West system.

They will also join Nevada RNs from Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno, another CHW hospital, where nurses voted to join CNA/NNOC in December and are currently making rapid progress on negotiating their first contract.

Just as the Reno election was a significant factor in the Las Vegas vote, other Nevada RNs have been monitoring the campaign at St. Rose Dominican, and many are already in contact with CNA/NNOC about also joining, citing similar displeasure with SEIU contracts and a desire for more effective representation.

Under their SEIU contract, St. Rose RNs fell up to 263 percent behind CNA/NNOC contracts in monthly pension benefits and 25 percent behind hourly pay rates at comparable CHW hospitals in San Bernardino, Calif., even though the cost of living in San Bernardino is 4.5 percent lower than in Las Vegas.

Local 1107 has also been the subject of substantial controversy that includes a Department of Labor investigation into charges that the local used employer funds and money from an Ohio SEIU local to rig an election of local leadership, as well as other practices that many RNs say reflect an undemocratic leadership.

SEIU nurses in many other states have also been chafing under SEIU representation and looking for change.

"This historic vote is a window to a rebellion brewing among SEIU nurses across the nation who are fed up with a union that cares more about shady deals with employers than in securing a strong, effective voice for nurses and patients," said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

DeMoro said that CNA/NNOC has been receiving cards, calls, and e-mails from SEIU RNs from coast to coast seeking a way they can also leave SEIU and join the national nurses' movement that CNA/NNOC is leading.

CNA/NNOC has grown by more than 375 percent the past dozen years and now has 80,000 members overall from coast to coast. CNA/NNOC is also the largest organization in Catholic hospitals across the U.S. representing 18,000 RNs in 38 Catholic hospitals.


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SOURCE California Nurses Association; National Nurses OrganizingCommittee
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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