Tucson Nurses union strikes, Phoenix reporters vote to unionize

Tucson Nurses union strikes, Phoenix reporters vote to unionize


– [Lorraine] After nurses
at St Joseph’s and Sy Mary’s hospitals unionized last fall,
11 months later in September, they formed a picket line
and went on strike for a day, amid ongoing talks on their
first contract with the hospital’s owner,
Tenet Healthcare. (car honking) – When you walked down that
picket line everyone had this sense of pride, definitely I really feel
like it empowered the nurses. – [Lorraine] Registered
nurse Christine Valenzuela began working at St.
Mary’s eight years ago. – It sounds so cliched but,
it’s what I was mean to do, and something that really
appealed to me with the union is the strong patient
advocacy that they achieve because of collective action. – [Lorraine] She and
nearly 75% of the nurses at St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s
voted to join the national nurses organizing committee,
National Nurses United, establishing Arizona’s
first nurses union with nearly 900 members. Today she’s part of the
committee in negotiations. Whilst she did not want to
disclose specifics about their demands, a release
from National Nurses United said nurses want
hospital management to invest in nursing staff, to improve recruitment
and retention, and bring down the number
of patients assigned to a single nurse. – There’s been very
strong evidence, research that shows that
there’s a clear link between optimal staffing levels
and patient outcomes. Overall, it is our goal to
ensure that those patients are receiving optimal care. – [Lorraine] Last
month’s picket extended from coast to coast. The union strike involved
65 hundred nurses at a dozen Tenet hospitals in California,
Arizona, and Florida. National Nurses members
also went on strike outside the University of
Chicago medical center. Tenet declined a
request for an interview but sent a statement
that said in part quote “we are disappointed “that the union undertook
a strike in Tucson, “which in our view was not
constructive or necessary. “St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s
hospitals continued to provide “quality, compassionate care
during the one day strike.” – We took all necessary legal
steps to notify the hospital, give them ample opportunity,
there is a 10 day notice, by law, that we provided. And in those 10 days the
hospital had plenty of time to make appropriate arrangements
to make sure that the qualified staff was
in the hospital, that patients were cared for. – [Lorraine] As negotiations
continue between the nurses and Tenet, this week news
room staff at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix voted
whether or not to form their own union. (car honking) Talks began at the start of
the year after the company laid off two employees, that’s according
to Perry Vandell, a
reporter at the paper. Just prior to that vote
he spoke to us vie Skype about why he
supports unionizing. – I had been laid off in 2015, I had worked there for
probably about nine months and was hired back in 2017 but, I know personally how
devastating it can be to be laid off from the paper
that you love so much. I had zero notice, i had
maybe two weeks of severance, and my health insurance would be gone by the
end of the month. And so, what we’re trying
to do is give people, a, more notice, a
longer run away and fight against lay-offs when
they do inevitably occur. – Throughout the state of
Arizona there’s been obviously quite a bit of press
about this issue, what sorts of challenges
has this presented for you and your colleagues in
the newsroom currently? – So, we’ve gotten some
push back from management, the idea that the union
is some kind of outside third-party that isn’t
speaking for everyone, which just isn’t true. Really what we’re trying to do
is preserve local journalism and preserve it
from these job cuts, as I’m sure you’re aware,
GateHouse is set to buy Gannett, and has publicly spoken
about $300 million in cuts, and those cuts have to
come from somewhere, and will likely come
from our own newsroom. And so the best thing
we can do is to organize and fight against that
when that does occur. – What, ultimately, do
you want out of all this? – We want a stronger news
room that advocates for it’s community and produces
quality journalism, like it has for
the past 129 years. – Ultimately staff
voted to establish the Arizona Republic Guild. According to data from the
US department of labor, as of 2018 about 5% of
workers belonged to a union. While that rate doubles
nationally Valenzuela remains optimistic that
Arizona can catch up. – By definitely 2019
times are changing, people are really
fighting for themselves and for their rights. And nurses are stepping
up to the plate. I truthfully don’t
wanna stop at just St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s, I wanna work on Arizona and
get these hospitals unionized.


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