I always enjoyed working at Mission Hospital until our new CEO came in and started making changes. We used to have such great comradery and teamwork, ancillary support, good relationships with the doctors and high morale. We had the supplies, equipment and staffing we needed. A happy work environment like that is good for patients. But the new CEO made all sorts of cuts without consulting the nurses. We lost our voice. Our benefits got cut. We only got 2% raises, even though we were already one of the lowest paid hospitals in Orange County. It was just one thing after another. It got to a point where I said, “Everybody’s unhappy. Something’s got to be done here. We need a union.”
I did some research and chose UNAC/UHCP because of its reputation and structure, where nurses elect their own officers and run their own affiliates in their own hospitals. I got the ball rolling by talking to my peers and they said yes, let’s get the union in. Then I got sick with cancer. I was in the hospital for four months, though I continued to promote the union. My friends at Mission, led by Lanise Hurley and the Mission RN organizing committee, ran with it and did a great job. Unfortunately CNA came in when they were clearly not wanted. That’s not what a supportive nurses’ union does. It was sad and infuriating to see management and CNA undermining our efforts to have a voice. It takes 50% + 1 vote to win a union election. UNAC/UHCP won 343 votes, CNA only got 35 and we were just 17 votes away from a UNAC/UHCP victory. That just means we try again.
UNAC/UHCP has been such a great support for the Mission nurses in our fight to win a union, and for me personally in my fight against cancer.
Editor’s Note: UNAC/UHCP interviewed Brittany Johansen in September for this feature article. As she continued to fight bravely for her life, she also continued fighting for the union, even requesting authorization cards from UNAC/UHCP organizers so that the union would be there when she was able to return to work. Unfortunately, Britt passed away on October 12, 2015 with family and friends at her side. Rest in peace, Britt. We will never forget you.
Her family now faces the task of paying off her enormous medical bills. If you would like to help, please visit unacuhcp.org/brittfamily