How was UNOCH formed?
In the late 1990’s Children’s Hospital began a process of “reengineering” many of the inpatient and outpatient departments in an effort to cut down costs. Sick Leave benefits were cut, the number of paid holidays were cut in half, there was no recognition for seniority or longevity and employees were terminated without just cause. All of this contributed to an increasing turnover rate and staffing shortages.
Choosing to be represented by an independent organization, our nursing staff began a self funded organizing drive and earned the right to an election in October 1999. United Nurses of Children’s Hospital (UNOCH) became the organization to represent the Nursing staff of Children’s Hospital by an overwhelming 3:1 margin.
While the gains that the nurses made in their first contract spilled over to some extent to the non-nursing staff, this was not the case with the second contract. By 2003 the hospital was suffering significant financial troubles. In the spring of 2003, the technical division employees were faced with a possible maximum of a 3% merit increase, short staffing and no voice in the organization to ensure our concerns were heard. The employees of the Technical Division made the decision to join forces with UNOCH.
The technical division began the organizing drive with the financial assistance and support of the nurses. Hundreds of hours were volunteered to distribute flyers, process mailings and unite our members. This grassroots effort paid off in September of 2003 with a decisive victory and the formation of the Technical Division of the United Nurses of Children’s Hospital.