Union Cronies Don’t Like iStandwithHuntington

The following was discovered through a little detective work on the part of iStand members.

Employees supporting the CNA posted a letter to Steve Ralph in our break rooms yesterday, signed by people referred to as a concerned community members. The letter called the actions of of the iStand nurses deplorable, and accuses Administration of allowing their actions. Whatever you think of our actions, and that depends on which side of the controversy you sit, you should know a little more about the people we have involved here.

Who are these people? Why are Pasadena Clergy, Community and Council members involved in trying to bring a union to our hospital?

It turns out they are all know each other through a few local union organizations. Victor Gordo is  a labor attorney and is currently Local 777 (Plumber and Pipefitter’s union) secretary and treasurer before he got into politics. He has no doubt received contributions from one or more unions for the mayoral race. Not exactly an elected official with a fair and unbiased viewpoint, despite how he tried to play himself off at the press conference last week. That and multiple iStand RNs have emailed him asking to speak with him with no response. I talked with him about this at the press conference and he asked for my contact info. I gave him my phone number and email. Still nothing, Clearly he has no intention of contacting me, ever.

Jacque Robinson has relationships with the Teachers’ union, AFL-CIO and other unions according to her campaign statement. Ditto for union support for her mayoral race. But it explains why she looked so annoyed at the press conference. She had to stand next to her opponent, who didn’t even bother to introduce her. While I understand the relationship between candidates who are Democrats and labor unions, it has always made me uneasy. It feels like support they provide was purchased through campaign contributions- and sometimes it does not play well to their constituents when they act like union bullies. It’s sort of like the relationship between the fundamentalists and the Republicans, and how stupid Republican politicians look as they have to pretend that evolution does not exist.

Joan Depew is John Grula’s wife (or at a minimum, they live together). John Grula has already spewed much venom at Huntington- believing stories of nurses not being able to take breaks and being understaffed. But John Grula has not responded to multiple requests that he speak with iStand RNs. Several of us have emailed him in the past 6 months, with not a single response.

All of the individuals who signed the letter are associated with labor organizations or one or two other organizations, both also connected to labor unions. One of them is ACT, a local political organization that sends advisories to local voters on the candidates for whom they recommend voting. They are always Democrats. Here’s what they about themselves:  “We have helped elect numerous candidates to state and local office who are committed to positive change. Some have said we were substantially responsible for turning the Pasadena area blue.”

The other is CLUE-LA. It’s an organization that unites clergy and lay people to work towards economic justice- often through unionization. And perhaps that’s something that some workers need. qWhen you look through the information from CLUE-LA it seems like a good organization- helping people whose wages are being stolen from them – it appears they help sweat shop workers and others who might need assistance going up against dishonest employers. But Huntington isn’t like that. I have never worked for a company that is a bigger stickler for following all state and federal laws regarding payment of wages.

Nurses, however are college educated. Clearly, the folks involved with the union related organizations don’t understand that. They don’t understand nurses role in healthcare. And they don’t understand how the culture at Huntington is what makes us excellent and makes us unique. .We advocate for our patients. As a matter of fact- that is one of our biggest roles- to speak for our patients when they are unable to speak for themselves. We stand up for them with physicians, with Administration and whoever else we need to get lined up to help them. We are innovative. We are collaborative. We figure out how to make things happen. We know how to find resources to help our patients. So you’d think we should be able to advocate for ourselves- right?

That’s how the iStand members feel. We can use our own voices to advocate for ourselves and work with Administration to solve our problems. We know the hospital isn’t perfect but we can effect change without the union. We don’t need a union to speak for us.



  1. Meri Van Gorden
    March 6, 2015 - 11:46 pm

    I am from a grassroots organization “Guardians of the SJO Legacy” who support what you are doing to provide nurses with sound information regarding unions, particularly the CNA. Of course there are others closely following and hoping to reap any rewards from their momentum such as the SEIU and others. I appreciate your knowledge of your local community supporters who are getting behind the CNA.

    We nurses are college educated, critical thinkers who can advocate for our patients and ourselves. We must not be influenced by the union’s fairytale, sweetheart deals in the current climate of shrinking healthcare dollars, no chance of pensions and long delays of negotiations to get a contract once they’re voted in (e.g.. Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa), 22 months and counting, with a strike for good measure in August 2014). Unions are SHRINKING in every other industry, and the unions are hot to take over healthcare. Do not be deceived…their main purpose is extracting dollars from us to the tune of $94 million a year. Be on your guard.

    Meri Van Gorden
    St. Joeseph, Orange, CA

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