A new day for healthcare workers building NUHW

NewsSeptember 3, 2012

Tomorrow, a super-majority of workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, the flagship hospitals serving Oakland and Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, will submit petitions for an election to leave SEIU and join NUHW.

After suffering under SEIU’s ineffectual representation and concessionary bargaining for more than three years, nearly 1,200 healthcare workers at Alta Bates Summit have overwhelmingly decided to join healthcare workers united in NUHW.

That’s great news for Alta Bates Summit workers, and great news for the labor movement, as well.

Since founding NUHW in January of 2009, NUHW members have bargained contracts with raises and no takeaways at hospitals and nursing homes across California including Keck Medical Center USC, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and an historic first contract for workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  By holding healthcare employers to standards that protect healthcare workers and their families, these victories have benefited all working people.

In contrast, since Washington D.C. officials took over SEIU-UHW, every single contract SEIU-UHW has bargained has contained concessions to employers, frequently giving up benefits that workers fought for and won over decades of struggle.

At NUHW, we know there’s a better way. It doesn’t involve backroom deals with employers that cut workers’ benefits and rights on the job. And it does not involve illegally intimidating and harassing workers, something SEIU-UHW has been found guilty of repeatedly over the last three years.

NUHW is a union by and for healthcare workers. Our mission is to stand up for members instead of partnering with bosses. While some may say that’s an old-fashioned idea, we think that the principle of a member-driven union is the bedrock of a labor movement run by and serving all working people.

At NUHW we know from long experience that workers are better off when they are involved in every aspect of bargaining and enforcing their contract. That is the root of NUHW’s success and it is our hope for the future of our union.

On this Labor Day, as we welcome this great news from workers at Alta Bates Summit, we think that’s something to celebrate for all of us.

Sal Rosselli, President
John Borsos, Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Healthcare Workers