More SEIU-UHW Members Prepare to Vote to Keep Union Contract

National Labor Relations Board Sets Mail Ballot Election for October 18

OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Another group of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) members are preparing to vote to keep their union and contract intact as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sets a mail ballot election to begin October 18.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), a union started last year, triggered the election by filing a petition with the NLRB to decertify the union for almost 2,000 optical professionals, psychologists, social workers and other professional members of SEIU-UHW in Northern California.

The election will give Kaiser professionals in Northern California the option of remaining in SEIU-UHW, with their guaranteed contract protections, no union whatsoever, or moving into NUHW. Leaving SEIU-UHW would mean workers lose their guaranteed raises, benefits, bonuses, and job security protections—and have to re-bargain a contract in the midst of the economic crisis.

“We worked too hard for our contract gains to allow NUHW, or anyone else, to purposely destroy our union and knowingly invalidate our contract,” said Paul Martinez, Customer Service, Kaiser Richmond Optical Lab. “We won’t sit by and let that happen. Just like other Kaiser workers, we’re getting out there to protect our contract and getting ready to vote to stay with SEIU-UHW.”

43,000 other Kaiser employees at facilities statewide are already in the process of voting in a mail ballot election that began Sept. 13. Ballots in that election are due back to the NLRB offices in Oakland on October 4 and will be counted beginning October 6.

"With SEIU-UHW we have bargained annual raises, secure healthcare benefits, are part of the Coalition of Unions at Kaiser, and are supported by our union. With NUHW, we get empty promises. There is no contest. I am ready to cast my ballot for SEIU-UHW," said Alex Ivanovsky, LCSW, Kaiser Roseville Hospice.

NUHW is led by former SEIU leaders who were removed from office in January 2009 for misusing members' dues money. NUHW leaders were found liable by a federal jury and ordered to repay SEIU-UHW members $1.57 million in damages. NUHW recently filed a motion to indefinitely delay payment, claiming they do not have the resources and would face bankruptcy if they are forced to comply with the award--but their motion was denied.


Jennifer Kelly, 213-300-3336
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Hospitals  Professional Services  Human Resources  Nursing