Caregivers ask Supervisors to keep their commitment to services for Fresno’s most vulnerable
Fresno, Calif.—More than 100 homecare workers, who care for Fresno County’s elderly and people with disabilities, packed Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting at the County Hall of Records. United in the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), they came to ask the Supervisors to maintain the County’s contribution to In-Home Supportive Services and sustain the vital service that has been jeopardized by reckless cuts at the state level.
“I think our greatest responsibility should be to care for those who are most in need. That’s why I’m a homecare provider,” said Eric Hammond, a homecare worker in Fresno. “We’re counting on the Supervisors to stand up for seniors and people with disabilities, and not hurt our community by making these cuts even deeper.”
Santa Rosa, Calif.—More than 650 nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists, and others at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital could join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) as soon as next month. Caregivers filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board after a four-year effort to get the St. Joseph Health System to agree to fair ground rules for a union election.
“Right now, frontline caregivers don’t have a real say in the decisions that affect us and our patients,” said Shirley Cervelli, a licensed vocational nurse at Memorial for 22 years. “And with the recent layoffs, we’re worried about having enough staff and job security. We want to join together and have a stronger voice to make Memorial better for patients and a better place to work.”
Employees at nursing homes in Sacramento, Woodland and Pacifica, operated by North American Health Care, Inc., left the Service Employees International Union to join the new National Union of Healthcare Workers on March 17.
“The new union tells us the truth about our contract negotiations with the employer,” said Ulette Bloomer, a cook and union steward on the night shift at Valley Skilled Nursing Home, by Sacramento’s UCD Medical Center. “SEIU was not honest about that and kept giving us the runaround.”
“Only SEIU would celebrate our right to vote being delayed. They can’t change the fact that a majority of Kaiser employees have repudiated their corruption and backroom deals. NUHW is our union. It doesn’t matter if our election is in one month or one year—we’re through with SEIU.”
—Dannielle Estrada, Kaiser Baldwin Park
The NLRB ruled that Kaiser workers could hold an election to join NUHW next year, but NUHW supporters are appealing the decision and pushing for an election as soon as possible. Click the link below to learn more.
About a dozen picketers chanted slogans and waved signs stamped with the red and white logo of their new union, National Union of Healthcare Workers. Though they are not officially members of NUHW – a union they feel will restore their voice and bring control back to the workers – healthcare professionals at Saint Louise filed a petition in February to quit SEIU and join NUHW, joining the ranks of about 95,000 other California workers who have done the same.