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SEIU 121RN Joins Kaiser Coalition, Labor Management Partnership

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Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN was voted into membership by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions on Oct. 29. 121RN represents about 250 nurses at Kaiser Moreno Valley Community Hospital. 121RN will also sign onto Kaiser’s Labor Management Partnership (LMP) of which members are covered by a national collective bargaining agreement.

The goal of the Coalition and Labor Management Partnership is to put Kaiser Permanente patients and members “at the center of every decision, to focus our teams on achieving the highest quality, the best service, the most affordable care and the best place to work. These achievements are created by high-performing teams that engage physicians, managers and frontline workers in ensuring that each patient has the best possible experience,” according to LMP literature.

“As nurses, our No. 1 goal is always to provide the best quality care to our patients,” says Barbara Washington-Knight, a registered nurse at Kaiser Moreno Valley Community Hospital for 16 years and a member of the SEIU 121RN Moreno Valley bargaining team. “Any effort that can help us achieve better patient care and a safer, more effective workplace, I’m all for that.”

By next year, all 96,000 Coalition Union members at Kaiser Permanente will be working in Unit-Based Teams, which are natural work groups of physicians, managers, supervisors and front-line workers who use joint decision making to identify and solve problems.

“The performance improvement model the teams use makes the process of change easy and intuitive,” says Maureen Anderson, communications director for the Union Coalition. “It gives workers a greater voice in their jobs than anywhere else –far beyond any other collective bargaining agreement in the U.S.”

The LMP offers core training courses that cover topics relating to key issues and how to work together to improve performance and create a better workplace.

The key issues are: attendance, service, unit-based teams, workplace safety, quality, transforming KP and workforce development.

In-depth courses are available on Unit-Based Teams and Performance Improvement.

For more information on the Labor Management Partnership, please visit www.lmpartnership.org.

California Wellness Foundation Announces 2009 California Peace Prize Honorees

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Brian King, a former gang member and drug dealer, started a faith-based program in partnership with law enforcement, city leaders, and schools to provide services and support to at-risk youth in southwest Fresno. A refugee from Cambodia, Phalen Lim became an integral leader in an agency that combats gang violence and promotes cultural pride and understanding in Santa Ana. Olis Simmons applied her extensive experience in developing systems and programs that foster community wellness to create a youth leadership development center in East Oakland that prepares low-income youth of color for leadership and successful careers.

On October 28, The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) will honor these three community leaders with its 17th annual California Peace Prize at a ceremony in San Francisco. In recognition of their efforts to prevent violence and promote peace, the honorees will each receive a cash award of $25,000.

“The honorees are representative of thousands of unsung heroes who work with youth to prevent violence in communities throughout California,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “This year’s honorees also show that perseverance through hardship can help build essential leadership that makes our state healthier and safer.”

Brian King - As co-founder and chief executive of Fresno Street Saints, Brian King has come a long way from his days as a gang member and drug dealer in Chicago. Fresno Street Saints, a faith-based organization that seeks to restore southwest Fresno as a safe and healthy community, provides services and support to at-risk youth and their families.

The organization’s services include gang prevention and intervention programs that offer educational enrichment, youth employment training, grief counseling and family leadership development.

“What we’re doing is taking back these streets and directing resources right to the people, especially to the youth,” said King. “The community leaders and resources must be as visible and as accessible as the gangs are, or the gangs will continue to win.”

Phalen Lim - Escaping genocide, disease and starvation in Cambodia, Phalen Lim made her new life in Santa Ana, California.

Lim and her family sought help from The Cambodian Family (TCF), an agency that provides health, employment and youth services to the refugee and immigrant community of Orange County. Originally a client — and then a volunteer — she is now a youth program director for TCF, working primarily with Cambodian and Latino youth.

“Youth can identify with people who have lived in the same neighborhood, gone through similar struggles and made it,” said Lim.

“I am a very strong believer in leading by example.”

Pechanga Turns Up The Heat With Hottest New Games

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Pechanga Resort & Casino has just installed 15 brand new slot and video games (comprised of several dozen machines) as well as an exciting blackjack side bet at its 200,000 + square-foot casino.

Ensuring that the casino stays at the forefront of gaming technology and innovation, the latest machines have taken to the floor and 18 Buster Blackjack tables are now among the impressive inventory of 3,400 slots and 130 table games, plus the 54-table Poker Room.

“We know that our guests like to try the hottest new slots, so we have one of the country’s best selections of cutting-edge games, featuring the latest releases from all the top manufacturers,” said Buddy Frank, Vice President of Slot Operations at Pechanga. “But they also like the classics and their old favorites. With our large floor, we can do both very well. In other words, we have the perfect machine for just about anyone.”

Slot players drawn to the most state-of-the-art technology can now test their luck at such games as Atronic’s 8-foot tall, three-reel progressive machine, Return of the Sphinx; IGT’s hyper-visual, 5-reel, 30-line, bonus-packed penny machine, Star Wars; Shuffle Master’s virtual-dealer Vegas Star Roulette; and Aristocrat’s fully loaded movie-themed game, Jaws, complete with the film’s classic soundtrack song, among others.

The tables have also turned for blackjack players at Pechanga where, in addition to classic casino games and Pechanga Craps, 18 Buster Blackjack tables have recently been introduced. This new side bet, in which the player wagers $1-50 that the dealer will bust, is in addition to the regular blackjack bet and pays out up to 250 to 1, depending on how many cards it takes for the dealer to bust.

“The best variations on traditional games are those that give players more chances to win,” said Mike May, Pechanga Vice President of Table Games. “Buster Blackjack is an exciting addition to our casino floor because now, not only can you bet on beating the dealer, but you can also bet that they will bust and win, even if you lost your hand. You will also make an extraordinary payout when low cards are being drawn on that bust.”

Fontana Residents Have Access to Easy-to-Use Prescription Drug Discount Card

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The City of Fontana today launched a program to help provide residents with some relief from the high cost of prescription drugs. The city is making free prescription drug discount cards available to city residents through a program sponsored by the National League of Cities (NLC). The discount cards offer city residents average savings of 20 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs.

The discount cards may be used by all residents of Fontana and has no restrictions based on the resident’s age, income level, or existing health coverage.

The NLC card can be used when purchasing prescription drugs at approximately 92 pharmacies around the city, as well as at more than 59,000 participating retail pharmacies across the country.

“In the current economic climate, where many people are watching what they spend, the City of Fontana is happy to partner with the National League of Cities to make this prescription discount card available for our residents,” said Councilmember Janice Rutherford. “Whether or not an individual has prescription coverage, this program can make it easier for our residents to afford the drugs they need to deal with a short-term illness or stay healthy by managing a chronic condition.”

Cards are available at locations listed below at no cost to city residents. City residents can call toll-free 1-888-620-1749 or visit www.caremark.com/nlc for assistance with the program.

CAP Program at Water of Life Community Church
7625 East Avenue
Fontana, CA 92336

City Clerk’s Office, City of Fontana City Hall
8353 Sierra Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Community Services Department Administrative Office
16860 Valencia Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Cypress Community Center
8380 Cypress Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Don Day Neighborhood Center
14501 Live Oak Avenue
Fontana, CA 92337

Fontana Area Chamber of Commerce
8491 Sierra Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Heritage Neighborhood Center
7350 W. Liberty Parkway
Fontana, CA 92336

Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center
15556 Summit Avenue
Fontana, CA 92336

Josephine Knopf Senior Center
8384 Cypress Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Lewis Library and Technology Center
8437 Sierra Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

Miller Fitness Center
17004 Arrow Boulevard
Fontana, CA 92335

“Not only does the NLC prescription discount card help residents save money on their medications, it is easy to use,” said Councilmember Rutherford. “City of Fontana residents only have to show their card when purchasing medication at one of the many participating pharmacies. There is no enrollment form required to get a card, no membership fee of any kind and city residents and their family members can use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance.”

The discount card program is administered by CVS Caremark.

SCE Offers Tips to Reduce Wasted Energy Usage

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Southern California Edison (SCE) wants to warn its customers about the “energy vampires” throughout their homes and businesses. Common household devices and appliances still draw electricity even when they are off or in “sleep” mode. And that additional energy use can result in higher electricity bills.

Consumer electronics account for about 15 percent of all residential electricity consumption.

Electric devices – such as televisions, stereos, phone chargers, DVD players, computers, and microwave ovens – can be energy guzzlers. Simply plugging the devices into a power strip and turning it off (or unplugging the appliances completely) can save up to 5 percent on the average bill.

SCE encourages its customers to look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR symbol when shopping for electronics and appliances.

The iconic blue star signifies that the model is among the most energy-efficient of its kind. ENERGY STAR-labeled products usually are competitive in terms of price and performance compared to less efficient models.

Some other facts to consider:

· ENERGY STAR-qualified TVs and set boxes use up to 30 percent less energy than comparable electronics that do not carry the energy-efficient label; home-entertainment equipment such as DVD players use up to 37 percent less. If all TVs sold in the United States met ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs would grow to about $1 billion annually, and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of about 1 million cars.

· A computer monitor with the ENERGY STAR symbol uses about 22 percent less electricity; a PC up to 33 percent less. If each computer and monitor in homes across the nation were to go into energy-saving “sleep” mode when not in use, more than $1 billion in annual energy costs would be saved.

· Telephones with the ENERGY STAR label use up to 58 percent less energy.

· As many as 2.4 billion external power adapters are in use in the United States – that’s about eight for every person.

These external power supplies contribute to about 12 percent of the national electric bill. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified external power supplies, and use power strips as centralized turnoff points once finished with use of the equipment.

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BVN National News Wire