Enough is enough

Since April of last year there has been the constant drone from the California Nurses’ Association (CNA) and their supporters of “just let the Huntington Memorial Hospital (HMH) nurses vote”. Elected officials such as Congresswoman Judy Chu, Pasadena City Councilpersons, Gordo and Tornek, former Pasadena City Councilperson Robinson, various “community leaders” and others have picketed the hospital, held rallies, written letters to the editor and what not echoing this simple plea. However, when the vote which was held in April 2015 showed that a majority of HMH nurses voted no to having union representation these same individuals who claimed they were only interested in the HMH nurses getting to vote suddenly had a change of heart and cried foul, demanding that the vote be stricken and a new vote taken even though well over 90% of eligible HMH RNs came out to cast their vote.

As expected both the CNA and HMH leadership filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), each claiming that the other side had made one type of violation or another. The NLRB rendered numerous decisions, some in upholding the CNA claims and dismissing others. In the meantime the campaign to disparage the care at HMH continued unabated. Even after the CNA and HMH agreed to set aside the vote and hold a new election there were those CNA supporters who seemed unable to control themselves and continued their attempts to vilify HMH and its leadership.

One such person is an individual named John Grula, PhD who writes a column for the Pasadena Weekly. He’s most recent diatribe against HMH can be found here – http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/outbreak_of_truth/16130/.

He makes many claims in his article, which on their face sound absolutely outrageous. Claims such as CNA-affiliated RNs provide the best patient care in our state. To bolster this claim he brings up the Olympus scope and how the failure to properly clean them lead to bad consequences for many patients. He goes into great detail about these incidents that occurred at HMH, but failed to mention that there were at least two other LA-area hospitals that had similar outbreaks and breeches in reporting such outbreaks. One such hospital was UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, which ironically he cites as having CNA-affiliated RNs that provide the best care in our state.

At the beginning of Grula’s article he cites a June 1, 2016 LA Times article which if you don’t read beyond the first paragraph paints a dim picture about how HMH handled the drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, if you read the full article, which you can find here — http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-huntington-hospital-scopes-20160601-snap-story.html, a slightly different picture emerges. The article lays out the problem was not just at HMH, but at hospitals across our nation, it also lays out the steps HMH took to correct the matter.

His article goes on to mention the firing of two HMH nurses, which the CNA and their supporters claimed was in response to the nurses’ pro-union stance and unionizing activities. He then writes that the NLRB agreement rescinded their termination, removing any mention of termination from their employment record, that they received back pay and that one nurse had returned to HMH. While some of his statement is correct, he fails to mention that while any mention of their termination was removed from their employment files notating instead that they had voluntarily resigned. Grula goes on to claim that one of these nurses chose to return, but my research shows that the nurse he claims returned to work at HMH, hasn’t. The reason for this appears to be related to the NLRB agreement, which bars both nurses from ever working at or having any business with HMH now or in the future. Not to mention that I know that at least one complaint has been filed with the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) about the nurses and the possible violation of our nurse practice act. Several weeks ago, I learned that several HMH nurses have admitted to being questioned by the BRN. Now whether this goes anywhere remains to be seen.

In the end, I find it ironic that the CNA and their supporters continue to rant and rave about giving the HMH RNs a voice, but seem to ignore that their “victory” at having the HMH vote overturn effectively gaged the voice of the 539 HMH RNs that voted no to union representation. Throughout this entire contested voting period the CNA and their supporters seem to only advocate for the 445 HMH RNs that voted for union representation and minimize the fact that a majority voted not to unionize.

Where are the CNA and their supporters speaking out in support of these nurses? Nowhere I guess, because it would appear to me that the CNA and many of their supporters appear ethically and morally challenged to acknowledging that these RNs might actually feel that they don’t need a nursing union to speak for them.

Tornek for Mayor!

It takes a strong person to admit a mistake.

Yeah, I know – didn’t I blog all that long ago to not vote for Terry Tornek for Mayor, and you’d be right. Except, two things happened since then. The first being that my candidate of choice back then was Dan Morgan and after the general election he came in third leaving only the top two vote getters to move to the April 21st run-off. And second of the two remaining candidates, Terry Tornek and Jacque Robinson, Tornek in my opinion is the better candidate.

During the run-off period I and several other individuals had the opportunity to met with both candidates, on different days of course. The reason for the meetings was an item of concern to us as a group, and Tornek when asked agreed immediately, emailing me by the next day with dates and times that worked for him, while Robinson appeared to take her time deciding whether or not she would grace us with her presence, but at the last moment emailed a day and time that she could meet with less than a 24-hour window in which to let everyone else know. The topic of our discussion would be the concerns of the nurses from the other side of the whether or not to form a nursing union at our local hospital, Huntington Memorial.

The CNA had played their usual dirty PR game, demonizing the hospital management, accusing the hospital of providing poor care and of course getting local elected officials, religious leaders and community members to come out to these “demonstrations” and calling for “fair elections” and “just let the nurses vote”. Of course both Robinson and Tornek came out to one or more of these demonstrations, so for the nurses coming to the meetings with Robinson and Tornek it was very significant because until that time no nurse who didn’t want a union had had the opportunity to speak to either Tornek or Robinson so they were anxious to have their voices and concerns heard.

As luck would have it we met with Robinson first, the meeting was brief and it was apparent from her body posture that the meeting was pro-forma. Robinson listened but parroted the “just let the nurses vote” line, ignoring that the vote was already tainted with all the demonstrations and that the CNA had already challenged the right of some of the nurses to vote – so much for a fair election and letting the nurses vote. In short she might have appeared to listen to our concerns but most of our group came away with the impression that her side was picked and her decision well made, and we shouldn’t burden her with new information. After one of her patented just let them vote,” I finally told her that she was being flippant. I told her that as an elected official her duty is to represent union as well as non-union constituents. So strong was this vibe that a couple folks from our group said it wasn’t even worth their time to meet with Tornek.

Our meeting with Tornek followed many days later and where Robinson seemed stiff and distant, Tornek appeared relaxed and engaged. He gave us nearly an hour of his time and seemed to be taking great interest in our concerns – this didn’t necessarily mean that he supported our point of view, but it didn’t leave us with the feeling that we were beating our heads against a brick wall.

At a recent debate Robinson kept telling the audience that she was willing to have difficult conversations, but when asked by one of the panelist how she could (and let me paraphrase) on the one hand be endorsed and supported by the police union when it had sued to block the release of the independent review of the police shooting of McDade an unarmed teenager from our community. She never did answer the panelist’s question – I guess this was one difficult discussion she wasn’t willing to have.

I like to think that I’m capable of integrating new information and adjusting my conclusions based on that information which is why tonight my daughters and I are going to complete our mail in ballots – selecting Tornek for Mayor of Pasadena. I hope that all my Pasadena friends that are registered to vote will do the same as well, because we need an individual who can and is willing to represent all Pasadena residents!

Terry Tornek for Mayor — NOT!

Not that long ago the Pasadena Star News announced that it endorsed Councilman Terry Tornek for mayor. In their editorial they characterized his running as mayor, as being brave. They came to this conclusion that he was brave by throwing his hat in the ring, before Mayor Boggard (our current mayor) had announced whether or not he’d seek another term. I don’t know about you but I would hardly call what Tornek did as brave, especially since he didn’t resign his council seat – that’s right. He’s currently an elected member of our city council, so if he loses his bid for mayor he can finish out his term. In my book that’s not called being brave, it’s called hedging your bets. At least, Jacque Robinson resigned her council seat to run for mayor – not that’s definitely showing more courage that Tornek – but still not enough to earn my vote.

At first, I was supportive of Robinson in her run for mayor, but as time would reveal she, like her fellow councilmember Tornek, were way too beholding to their union cronies. I was able to come to this conclusion because these two, like Victor Gordo and Judy Chu were only open to listening to the handful of pro-California Nurses Association (CNA) nurses from Huntington Hospital and chose to ignore the requests of the we-don’t-need the CNA nurses from Huntington Hospital (they call themselves IStandWithHuntington). It took 30 or so IStandWithHuntington nurses swarming the CNA sponsored press conference before Robinson, Tornek, et al to even acknowledge that there nurses that had a differing opinion on the issue of whether or not to unionize.

So when I took in account both Tornek and Robinson’s lack of fairness to the IStandWithHuntington nurses and that these two individuals were also sitting councilmembers during at least part of the time a city employee was able to embezzle an estimated 6.4 million of Pasadena taxpayer money – I made the decision that it was time to support a different candidate. So from among the remaining four candidates, I decided that I’d support and vote for Don Morgan.

Your can read my letter here – (LTE PSN Tonrek for Mayor2a) that I sent to the Pasadena Star News, which they have failed, refused — call it what you may. I hope you’ll consider voting for Don Morgan. I think he would be a welcomed change.