In a surprisingly quick campaign, hundreds of healthcare workers at Chapman Global Medical Center in Orange decided to unionize. The vote to join the Service Employee International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) passed Tuesday by a dominating three-to-one margin. Two-hundred and twenty nurses, cooks, medical records clerks, janitors and others will now experience the benefits of being in a union.
"I'm excited in having a role," says Britney Perez, an emergency room admitting representative. "The goal is just make it a better workplace for everybody and making Chapman the best that it can be."
Perez, who has worked at the hospital for the past 15 years, got involved with unionizing efforts about three months ago. "I met with a union representative from SEIU-UHW at our cafeteria," she says. "I liked what I heard." Her enthusiasm quickly translated it into action by way of conversing with fellow workers about how the vote to join would also be improving patient care.
"I've heard that our sister unions at other facilities organize committees to address issues with management," she says. "I'm hoping we can do the same." No real push back came from Chapman Global Medical Center. "I thought it was going to be a lot harder," Perez adds. It was the first time she had ever been involved in any labor effort–good job, mujer!
The move also bolsters the ranks of SEIU-UHW by adding more people power to their statewide campaigns to fix Medi-Cal and support a ballot initiative raising the minimum wage in California to $15 an hour.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2