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.
WATSONVILLE — Health care workers at Watsonville Community Hospital are taking sides in the dispute between their bargaining agent, Service Employees International Union, and National Union of Healthcare Workers, an upstart organization formed in January by leaders unhappy with SEIU.
“An overwhelming majority of us have signed petitions to choose NUHW as our union,” said Kermit Butch Cole, a surgery technician for 19 years. “We need a union we can trust, where we have a voice to stand up for ourselves and our patients.”
Cole, 65, said he received a letter Monday from SEIU asking him to resign his position as shop steward, a role he’s had for 17 years. He’s not about to go quietly.