Esther Cazo, RN, is a nurse in the OR at Jackson South Community Hospital and a steward of the month.
A Cuban-American, Cazo was born in New York, but raised in Miami since the age of ten.
She got involved in the union about a year ago, largely because her coworkers kept coming to her with issues and she wanted to help them.
Cazo had been transferred to South from Jackson Main and so she knew her rights and wasn’t afraid to challenge management.
“When I got to Jackson South, people would come and ask me about their problems because I knew the rules and policies,” she says. “I kind of took the ball and ran. And then they asked me to be a steward.”
She has drawn together a small, tight-knit group of nurses, doctors and professionals at Jackson South who work on addressing unsafe staffing and other issues that affect them all.
The first issues were largely around staffing and pay, such that people were not being compensated properly or consistently with the rest of the system.
In some cases, people were working exhausted because they were afraid to lose overtime they should have been paid.
Cazo has thus far focused mostly on issues internal to the hospital, but she also helped Local 1991 in its COPE blitz and hospital bond campaign.
She believes the strength of Local 1991 comes from a shared unity of purpose.
“I don’t like injustices,” she says. “I don’t like unfairness. I can’t stand it when someone tells me about something that shouldn’t be happening.”
Cazo laughs: “They call me ‘the lawyer’.”