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Member Profile: Nora Fonseca

Even before she came to work at Sutter California Pacific Medical Center, Nora Fonseca had walked picket lines with some of her soon-to-be coworkers.

Nora’s mother, Maria Robinson, worked at the medical center’s California Campus for 17 years, starting in EVS before transferring to surgery transport and later retiring as a medical interpreter.

One of Nora’s fondest memories is joining her mother on a strike line.

“She said ‘come with me because we need more people. Let’s go make some noise,’” Nora recalled.

Like her mother, Nora — who has now been working in the EVS Department at the California Campus for 21 years — continues to make noise as a union steward.

“Many people are afraid of standing up to the bosses, but we all work for the same company and we should all be treated fairly and have a say about things that affect us.”

Case in point is the favoritism she fought in one instance when a recently-hired housekeeper received a higher-paying assignment without the supervisor first posting that job for a bid among those with higher seniority — as required under the union contract.

When a coworker complained, Nora spoke with the manager right away and invoked the contract language. As a result, management opened the position for bidding.

“Whether it’s one person or 100 people being affected, you have to do the right thing and enforce the union contract,” Nora said.

Nora always has her contract booklet and confers with her union representative to make sure “I’m giving the correct information.”

She prides herself on her steadfast commitment to her coworkers and has even attended steward meetings remotely during travels to Mexico and Spain. “I always like to know what’s happening,” she said.

Nora admitted that having worked 21 years working at CPMC makes her more comfortable in raising concerns about working conditions, but she wants her coworkers to know that everyone has the right to speak up if they see something wrong. And if the issue isn’t solved with the first complaint, then it’s time to keep trying.

“You have to insist,” she said. “You can’t lower your guard with what you want to accomplish.”

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