Greeted by welcoming remarks presented by President Bob Schoonover, and Regional/RN Director Patricia Castillo, over 300 members of SEIU Local 721, their families, friends, and special guests came together on the evening of May 14 to celebrate the real stars of LA County and the Inland Region: RNs, LVNs, CMAs, NAs, and frontline health workers!
When clinics workers at St. John’s Well Child became the first to receive a $15 hourly minimum wage, naysayers openly doubted SEIU Local 721’s commitment to the Fight For $15. Yet, on April 4, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a statewide $15 hourly minimum wage into law. Similarly, our critics cast aspersions on our plans to integrate the LA County Department of Public Health, the LA County Department of Mental Health, and the LA County Department of Health Services into one coordinated LA County Health Agency. Yet, that Agency now exists, thanks to a partnership we created that allows members from all organized labor locals in the County to work with management to secure new funding, create uniform codes and training procedures, launch a never before seen customer service model that saw 10,000 frontline health workers train side-by-side with supervisors, and build 60 care improvement teams across eight health facilities. All of this in the same year that we bargained a new contract that created new public sector jobs, and won pay raises, and new training opportunities for our members.
SEIU 721’s accomplishments were recognized by special guest speaker, Christina R. Ghaly, MD, the Director for Health Care Integration at the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, as well as keynote speaker, Way Wen, SSN I, the SAPC Utilization Review Nurse Supervisor. Both sang the praises of frontline health workers in general, and SEIU 721 members in particular. Both encouraged all those attending to become active in the partnership and care improvement team work that SEIU 721 has made possible.
Member leaders, Marva Burgess, and Rosie Martinez, served as MCs for the presentation of seven distinguished awards to seven exemplary women:
• Florence Nightingale AwardKarla Neal, RN III
• Heart of Patient Care AwardZulma Lopez, CMA
• Nurse Practitioner AwardIlena Meza, NP
• Registered Nurse AwardCarletta Henderson, RN II
• Licensed Vocational Nurse AwardTreva Brown, LVN
• Nurse Assistant AwardAraceli Jasso, CNA II
• Certified Medical Assistant AwardAnasthesia Perkins, CMA
• County of Riverside
• Florence Nightingale AwardMelita Charles-Singh, RN III
And Ileana Meza, NP, Chair, RNBC and RNPC, read an important resolution affirmation of SEIU 721’s commitment to confront and eliminate bullying at Los Angeles County facilities.