April 9, 2018Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President Stanford UniversityOffice of the PresidentBuilding 10Stanford UniversityStanford, CA 94305-2061Dear Mr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President,
We are the students of Stanford University writing in support of the RNs at Stanford ValleyCareorganizing to join the California Nurses Association. We are disappointed in the decision to usepatient care and Stanford dollars to hire a high-priced union busting firm, IRI. We understandthat at least $3000 is being spent on IRI per nurse; this is unacceptable to us, as tuition fee payersof the university.
We understand that under IRI’s guidance, the University and medical center are running a hostilecampaign of fear and intimidation. We are aware of: the termination of an RN union leader,bribes made to nurses, and the multitude of company endorsed anti-union meetings, all in aneffort to convince nurses to vote against the union. As students who have made the decision toattend Stanford University, we are asking that this misinformation campaign cease immediatelyand that RNs be allowed to make a decision regarding the union free from management’sinterference.
We firmly believe that tuition fees and public money should NOT be used to prevent anyonefrom exercising their legal and human right to organize. We ask that the University immediatelyend its anti-union campaign and end its relationship with IRI. We demand that any monies givento IRI or any other outside consultants be immediately redistributed to RNs and patient care.
-- Some Context --
RNs at Stanford ValleyCare began organizing about 6 months ago with the California Nurses Association (CNA). CNA is the largest all RN union in the country with 150,000 RN members nationwide, 90,000 in CA.
There are several reasons nurses are interested in joining CNA. Among the top issues are the fact that the hospital runs short staffed and in violation of the laws governing nurse to patient staffing in CA. Contributing to the short staffing, RNs are often called and told not to come to work claiming they are not needed-- this leaves the unit lacking the number of nurses necessary to provide care the patients deserve. RNs are also required to work in units they are not trained for, again, causing patient safety concerns. Additionally, since Stanford took over about 2 years ago many cuts have been made, causing nurses to seek work in area hospitals that are already represented by our union. Some of those cuts include a reduction in differentials paid for working unpopular shifts, cuts to retirement, decreased holidays and holiday pay, loss of vacation time and some workers have lost seniority completely which impacts accruals of hospital benefits.
RNs filed to hold their union election and are excited to move forward, the election date is not yet set but we are hoping it takes place sometime in April. The hospital has responded to the nurses’ efforts by hiring high priced “union busters” to threaten, intimidate, spread misinformation and half-truths. About two weeks ago the hospital fired a nurse leader in an attempt to chill their efforts. While most RNs are staying focused on building the union, some are confused by the hospital's dirty tactics.
We hope this letter will show students' support and build confidence in their efforts.