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Fountain Valley NUHW members honored at economic justice gala

A leading Southern California economic justice organization honored NUHW members at its annual awards ceremony for winning a contract that will improve medical care for Orange County residents.

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) presented its Architects of Justice award to 850 registered nurses and medical professionals who voted last year to join NUHW in order to win more for themselves and the patients at the bargaining table.

The organization, which includes faith leaders, community members and labor organizations, chose to honor the NUHW members who last year blew the whistle on Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, submitting 248 complaints with state regulators citing understaffing and other patient care violations. The complaints triggered an investigation by the California Department of Public Health, which subsequently cited the hospital for multiple violations and required it to submit a corrective action plan.

CLUE leaders were also active in supporting the workers during contract negotiations, and observed multiple negotiating sessions. Ultimately, NUHW members won a contract that will increase average wages by 40 percent and provide safeguards against understaffing.

“Like ministry, health care is a calling and healthcare workers respond with their whole person. I’m so happy and thankful that a positive conclusion was reached that benefits both the workers and the patients. Praise God for the courage of these workers to fight for their rights!,” said CLUE member Rev. Molly Wilkins, Community of Christ Community Engagement Minister for Peace and Justice for the Pacific Southwest International Mission Center.

Makenna Musson, a registered nurse at Fountain Valley, received the award on behalf of her colleagues noting that it recognizes all the work that went into raising standards and improving patient care at the facility.

She also thanked CLUE members for their support during the months-long contract campaign.

“We demonstrated how much we can accomplish as a united community, when it comes to the healthcare issues that affect each and every one of us,” Makenna said in her remarks. “I am proud to say we have raised standards at Fountain Valley, and the next time we are at the bargaining table, management shouldn’t be surprised when our community coalition demands better patient care conditions.”

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