Fallout from the power struggle between Service Employees International Union and its Oakland-based local, United Healthcare Workers, has been felt particularly strongly in the Bay Area since SEIU took over UHW and ousted its leaders Jan. 27 (see “Union showdown,” 1/28/09).
Friday afternoon at the United Healthcare Workers headquarters, eight Oakland Police officers mediated a dispute between UHW members resisting the takeover by Service Employees International Union and SEIU representatives who showed up to take custody of the building. Both sides sought to convince the police to let their respective groups stay in the building.
Barack H. Obama won the White House on the promise of “change.” One of the big donors for Obama’s campaign for change was the Service Employees International Union, which spent nearly $30 million for his presidential campaign according to the Center for Responsive Politics. One of the first changes brought about by the SEIU under the new Obama administration is its takeover of the United Healthcare Workers-West, an affiliate based in Oakland, on January 27.
NORTH COUNTY—Unionized workers are joining the list of people facing turmoil at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside.
Their representatives failed to show up yesterday for negotiations on the first-ever labor contract for 500 service employees at the hospital. It had taken four years for the workers to become unionized, and now it’s unclear when the talks will start because of an unfolding power struggle within the union.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers, formed last week by the ousted leaders of United Healthcare Workers West, on Monday asked state officials to conduct elections at 64 healthcare facilities where it says a majority of employees currently represented by Oakland-based UHW want to join the new group.