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NURSES, DOCS WIN THEIR UNION Nurses working at Inspira Medical Center Woodbury in New Jersey voted Oct. 1 in favor of union representation by Health Professionals and Allied Employees, an AFT affiliate.

“We are excited about winning our union and look forward to working together with administration for the benefit of our hospital, our professional practice and our patients,” says Kellianne Eyler, a perioperative services nurse who has worked at the hospital for nine years. “As Florence Nightingale once said, ‘Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.’ The nurses here joined together to change to provide the care our patients and our community need and deserve.”

The election was scheduled after more than 75 percent of the 420 registered nurses at the hospital signed a petition seeking to join HPAE. “The nurses are ready to sit down and bargain a contract that meets the needs of the patients they serve, and we expect the hospital will do the same,” says HPAE President Ann Twomey, who is an AFT vice president.

AFT Nurses and Health Professionals celebrated another union victory with the addition of 36 physicians at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Eugene, Ore., who voted overwhelmingly to join the AFT in October.

GRANT WILL PROVIDE FOR WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION TRAINING The AFT has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide training to nurses and health professionals on how to prevent violence in healthcare settings. The training, which will cover all aspects of workplace violence, including bullying, is designed for workers in acute care settings, long-term mental health facilities, and visiting nurses/home healthcare workers. Participants will learn strategies both to protect themselves and colleagues, and to work with employers to develop effective workplace violence prevention programs.

SOLUTION-DRIVEN UNIONISM HONORED The AFT has announced the winners of the second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism, a competition among AFT state and local affiliates to shine a light on innovative, inspiring and collaborative solutions to tough problems. Two first-place prizes were awarded: the Milwaukee Technical College Federation won for its solution to lagging graduation and course completion rates, while the other prize will be shared by the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation for their successful campaign to save Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., from privatization and to promote investment in the facility and actually expand healthcare in Brooklyn. The AFT’s Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism—which was created in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT Innovation Fund—will award $25,000 for each of the two winners.

VISITING NURSES AND HOME HEALTH AIDES RATIFY FIRST CONTRACTS Registered nurses and home health aides employed by the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut have ratified their first contracts in October. “We made some real gains with this first contract, but even more important has been the change in how we’ve been treated since joining the union,” says Christine Moretti a home health aide.“It was very clear right after our election that there was a whole new level of respect for us and the work we do,” says Moretti.

“Negotiating side by side, nurses and aides showed that in unity there is strength,” says Martha Marx, an RN. “I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made together in both our contracts, which will go a long way to stabilize the VNA’s workforce for the community we serve.”

“The real winners here are the patients and their families who rely on these hard-working caregivers,” says Melodie Peters, a former state senator and president of AFT Connecticut. “Together, they provide an efficient and effective alternative to costly nursing home settings, and it’s gratifying to see them recognized for their important contribution.”


Healthwire, Winter 2014
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