UNAC/UHCP History: 1970s

1970s Timeline: Take a trip down memory lane

As part of our 50th anniversary, we've been scouring our archives for photos and videos. Take a look at how our union came to be in the 1970s.

1972: UNAC/UHCP is founded by forty nurses in Southern California

On September 24, 1972, the first constitution is ratified, officially founding the United Nurses Association of California (UNAC) that was started in 1969-71 by forty nurses from Kaiser Fontana, Balboa Naval Center, Los Alamitos Hospital, and McDonnell Douglas

1972: Kaiser Fontana becomes first UNAC affiliate

The Kaiser Fontana registered nurses began organizing in 1970 and decided to form their own union when they weren’t getting the representation they needed. Our founder Kathy Sackman worked at Kaiser Fontana.

1973: Balboa Registered Nurses sign first contract as UNAC.

This group was one of the original signatories on the founding UNAC charter in 1972.

1974: Kaiser Bellflower joins UNAC.

The group, called the Kaiser Bellflower Registered Nurses Association at the time, later changed its name to Kaiser Downey when a new hospital was built.

1974: Kaiser Los Angeles joins UNAC.

The registered nurses at what was then called Kaiser Sunset, now Kaiser Los Angeles, filed for an election to join a union prior to amendments to the National Labor Relations Act in 1974. Once labor law allowed all health care workers to join unions and collectively bargain, this group of RNs at the Kaiser Sunset clinic quickly joined UNAC. Our founder Sonia Moseley worked at Kaiser Sunset.

1975: Garden Grove joins UNAC.

The first collective bargaining agreement for the registered nurses at Garden Grove became effective in the final days of 1975.

1975: UNAC began teaching labor classes to empower registered nurses to represent themselves in collective bargaining.

1976: Kaiser Panorama City joins UNAC.

By a two-to-one vote, Kaiser Panorama City Registered Nurses vote to join UNAC/UHCP. Take a look at the UNAC/UHCP member newsletter, The Voice, article from 1976 with more on the election.

📄 1976 Member Newsletter

1976: St. Francis registered nurses vote to join UNAC.

The St. Francis registered nurses had a long journey to become UNAC members. The group was first certified in October 1976 as an all-RN bargaining unit. However, the group was stuck in legal limbo for more than a decade, as labor law caught up to allow all-registered nurse groups to form their own union. These dedicated nurses never gave up. Many of the nurses who started the union journey at the hospital had already retired, including Dorothy Ahart, RN, who we’ve found in the archives of our union.

In the article to the right, we learn that the St. Francis nurses began organizing in March 1976, on a rainy night that cemented the bond of those who wanted a union at St. Francis.

📷 For more photos on St. Francis members of yesteryear, click here.  There are many people we cannot identify whom you may know.

1977: UNAC registered nurses across Kaiser Southern California facilities strike for 24 days.

Nurses from Kaiser Fontana, Bellflower, Sunset and Panorama City strike seeking a voice in staffing decisions and better wages and benefit. In addition to 8% wage increases, these early UNAC members won every other weekend off, still in practice in many hospitals today.


Archival Kaiser Strike Footage

1978: Kaiser Harbor City joins UNAC.

Registered nurses at what we now know as Kaiser South Bay, technically voted to join UNAC on December 16, 1977, but the first contract was signed in 1978. The group then sprinted to set up their affiliate, electing officers and preparing their constitution. Bargaining started a few weeks later.

A member newsletter from 1978 tells us that 195 nurses voted in the ballot election in 1977. The first general membership meeting took place at the Harbor Park on February 6, 1978.

1979: Kaiser West Los Angeles joins UNAC.

The group voted to join UNAC on June 1, 1979, and was certified on June 11. Nominations for affiliate officers, and the election, happened at the first general membership meeting. From the archives of our member newsletter, we have a listing of the first officer team.

Renee Mollet, RN: Hospital co-chair
Lorraine Calvano, RN: Clinic co-chair
Ashira Freund, RN: Secretary
Evelyn Khalid, RN: Treasurer
Myra Ruben, RN: Delegate to the Executive Council
Paula Belsh, RN: Alternate Delegate