UPDATE: We won! All written warnings were removed from stewards’ files. Healthcare workers protested Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles for colluding with SEIU to harass and intimidate caregivers who are joining together in NUHW.
“Healthcare workers need a voice in our union so we can stand up for ourselves and for the people who need our care. We asked SEIU over and over to let us vote and determine our own future, and they refused because they wanted to divide us… Now we are in a union that will respect our voices.”
—Eloise Reese-Burns, certified nursing assistant at Cottonwood Healthcare in Woodland for over 39 years
With majority support, more than 350 nursing home workers become first to leave SEIU and win representation with NUHW
SACRAMENTO—Workers at three Sacramento-area nursing homes and one Pacifica-area nursing home have overwhelmingly chosen the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) as their union. North American Healthcare, Inc., which operates the facilities, has agreed to recognize the union and begin contract negotiations with NUHW’s elected bargaining team. NUHW and North American Healthcare also agreed to continue the terms and conditions of the current collective bargaining agreement while caregivers negotiate a new labor agreement with their employer.
Despite an aggressive effort by SEIU to intimidate workers and deny them a free choice of which union they wanted to represent them, caregivers rejected SEIU and chose NUHW as the representative of North American Healthcare workers.
Although the loss of the secret ballot may expose workers to various forms of intimidation, there is something attractive about the notion that it could be as easy to get union representation as it is to get legal representation. But that notion would only make sense if accompanied by another: It should be as easy to replace an ineffectual union as it is to replace a lousy lawyer.
Employee free choice means nothing if workers cannot dump an inept union. But for more than 50 years, the National Labor Relations Board has used an obscure rule — the so-called “contract-bar” doctrine — to strictly limit the ability of workers to trade in an incumbent union for a more attractive competitor.
On March 12, Fresno homecare workers rallied and marched on the SEIU UHW-W office to protest SEIU’s retaliation and interference in union elections. Check out this slideshow of their action.