Dear Paradise Valley Coworkers

Dear Paradise Valley Coworkers,

I’m pro-union.

I hope when Election Day is here you vote YES on a union with me. I personally am already a union member with UNAC at Sharp and my goal is to have UNAC represent Paradise Valley nurses.

You are gonna hear management tell you that unions are a bad idea. Of course they will tell you that, they are obligated to tell you that, it’s in their self-interest. They want the control to make their own decisions, not what’s best for the patients or staff.

Years ago, when I was a new grad, nurses tried organizing a union at Paradise Valley Hospital. It failed. Why did it fail? Because of nurses like me. I was too scared and persuaded by management to believe that having a union was an awful idea. I was told I wouldn’t be able to make my schedule or request days off like I currently do. I was told that if we had a union, we would have to pay a lot in union fees. I was told that with a union, it’s difficult to fire employees. I was told that with a union, you wouldn’t get your appropriate raises.

Administration led me to believe we were able to work together without a middleman. They would increase wages, provide better support staff, and negotiate with us without needing a middleman involved. We believed them.

Sure, after deciding not to support a union, there were changes but it didn’t last long. The raise they promised us was pennies, literally. They promised us more support staff but didn’t keep their promise. It was always about the bottom dollar. “Experienced” nurses, less than a year experience, were now preceptors.

I came to PVH as a new grad. I was so grateful I got the opportunity to even have a job. I didn’t mind that I was cheated out of an orientation and had to self-train myself to be postpartum. The reasoning? Not enough staff to train me.

I was wrong and I regret not supporting a union. Why? Because I’m in the same position I was 6 years ago.

I left PVH looking for better pay and a safer working environment and I found it. But I was missing my friends and coworkers that I grew so close with, so I decided to come back per diem and I’m seeing the same issues as before. Nothing has changed.

What I can tell you is that I work at a hospital that has a union. It’s the culture there and at most hospitals. I can tell you that the threats administration told me about unions, are absolutely untrue. We still make our own schedule, still request our vacations (I’ve never been denied a vacation). And we get raises every year. Every nurse is paid the same across the board for experienced years. A nurse doesn’t get paid more because management likes them more. It’s the same. We are equal.

Administration was right about one thing. Sure, it’s probably more difficult to get fired with a union. You have a union to protect you from getting punished for making a mistake. I would want them on my side. Yeah, it sucks that if there’s a bad employee they might get more chances to do better but I’ve still seen people get fired. It happens. Think about the “bad” employees in your unit. Who hired them? There’s no real screening process and administration doesn’t really have minimum requirements.

Another misconception is the union contract. Nurses make the contracts. They negotiate with administration. It’s not a third party telling us how it needs to be. We have a bargaining team of our coworkers, who create a contract we vote on.

I think you all deserve higher pay. We are on average making 15 dollars less an hour than our neighboring hospitals. Alvarado is our Prime sister hospital and making a significant amount more than us.

If the union doesn’t happen, nothing will change. You will still be in the same position…low pay, stressful shifts, unclear policies, lousy benefits, short staffed, minimal training and education. You will eventually leave PVH and go to a unionized hospital. Think about the experienced nurses in your unit. Everyone with experience has either been there their whole nursing career or are there per diem because they are at a union hospital getting paid more with better benefits. There’s a reason they left, same reason why I left.

I personally am already a union member with UNAC. They represent Sharp and Kaiser hospitals in Southern California. They are reputable and successful in representing nurses locally.

I hope you vote YES on Election Day and if you are confused by this process or have any questions, please feel free to approach or text me. I want to make sure you make the right decision for yourself. I wouldn’t want you to be in the same position I’m in…regretting I didn’t start a union when I had the chance.

—Dannie Julio, RN, Paradise Valley (Postpartum & Nursery) and Sharp (Women’s Surgery)

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