At our 40th biennial convention celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of our founding in 1972, UNAC/UHCP delegates elected Charmaine Morales, RN, to serve as our union’s next president. Morales has served as Executive Vice President since 2016 and will be the first woman of color to serve as UNAC/UHCP president. She will also be the first Mexican-American and Filipina president, while nearly a quarter of nurses in California are Filipino or of Filipino heritage.
🎥 Watch the video introducing our new President
UNAC/UHCP was founded in 1972 when RNs weren’t even allowed to form unions, by a diverse group of nurses working out of their kitchens and garages with the principle of nurses representing nurses. In fifty years, it has added multiple other health care professions to its membership and grown into one of the foremost RN and health care professional unions, representing 32,000 members in California and Hawaii.
“Times have changed. This decade has changed us. And the pandemic has changed us. No one more so than all those working in health care. Those who have put their lives on the line so selflessly. And through these times of change, my commitment has not swayed. It has only grown because of you. We have work to do, work that needs to be done together.”
First elected as UNAC/UHCP Secretary in 2013, Morales made community service and union growth a cornerstone of her work. She served on the bargaining team that negotiated the union’s contract with Kaiser Permanente in 2021, which nearly went to a strike before beating back the employer’s proposals for two-tiered wages. Morales took the lead on our innovative member engagement program Membership Matters, modeled on AFSCME Strong, a program of AFSCME International. She spearheaded efforts to build UNHCEH, our first Hawaii chapter. We now have three chapters and affiliates in Hawaii.
After the Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the country in 2021, Morales sponsored a new racial and social justice committee for UNAC/UHCP, which led to the creation of our Alexis G. Philius Scholarship for students of Black/African descent pursuing careers in health care. She serves as a vice president of the Los Angeles Labor Council and is also a vice president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE).
Morales succeeds Denise Duncan, RN, who retired after serving six years as the President of UNAC/UHCP, and 30 years altogether with the union. “Today, I’m proud to pass the presidency of this great union to Charmaine Morales, RN. She will take UNAC/UHCP into its next chapter. She understands that each generation of leaders brings new opportunities for growth, engagement, and activism to our work.”
Morales took the oath of office this afternoon and her term began immediately.