NLRB Ready to Act on Election for 43,000 Kaiser Workers Despite NUHW’s Refusal to Sign an Election Agreement
OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Eleven days after they claimed in a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that they wanted an election for 43,000 Kaiser workers to go forward, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) officials are still refusing to sign an agreement to hold the vote, even though it was their organization that filed for the election in the first place.
“It’s obvious to everyone that they are stalling because they know if an election is held they will lose,” said Denise Senior, who works in Radiology at Kaiser San Rafael. “Kaiser workers are smart, and we understand that voting for NUHW means that in the middle of this economic crisis we would be giving up our contract, which has 9 percent in raises and maintains our paid family healthcare, benefits, and job security.”
At the NLRB hearing July 13, members of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) readily agreed to hold the election as soon as possible and signed an election agreement. But NUHW officials stalled for nearly five hours and then refused to sign before leaving the NLRB offices in downtown Oakland.
In recent days, NUHW officials have begun raising frivolous complaints and objections in an obvious attempt to delay the election. The NLRB, however, has indicated it could dismiss NUHW’s election request or order a mail-in ballot election if NUHW won’t sign an election agreement.
On Friday, July 16, 15 Kaiser workers marched on the NUHW office in Emeryville to demand that officials agree to an election immediately. (See video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBGxtzYujC0.)
“Kaiser workers are scratching their heads wondering why NUHW would file for an election and then not be prepared to move ahead with it,” said Marillyn McDaniel, a lead receptionist at Kaiser Panorama City. “We are ready to vote NUHW out of our facilities if they will stop stalling. I think they know what’s coming and don’t want to take their medicine.”
The election would give Kaiser employees the option of remaining in SEIU-UHW or moving into NUHW. The workers recently settled a two-year contract with Kaiser that provides 9 percent in raises, maintains the workers’ fully employer-paid family healthcare, and includes job security guarantees. That contract would have to be re-bargained if workers vote to switch unions, and the gains they recently achieved would be in jeopardy.
NUHW is a union started by former SEIU-UHW officials, including former union President Sal Rosselli, who were removed from office for misusing millions in members’ dues money and violating members’ democratic rights. In April, a federal jury found that they had misused union money for their own purposes and tried to sabotage SEIU-UHW’s ability to represent workers and ordered NUHW, Rosselli, and more than two dozen others to pay $1.57 million in damages to SEIU-UHW members.
SEIU – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation's fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.
Steve Trossman, 213-300-1882
KEYWORDS: United States North America California
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Hospitals Public Policy/Government Labor State/Local Nursing