Caregivers at The Sequoias join National Union of Healthcare Workers

NewsSeptember 29, 2009

Workers reject cynical effort by SEIU officials to deny them the right to join a union

Portola Valley, Calif.—Seventy caregivers at The Sequoias Assisted Living Facility have won their election to form a union with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), despite an aggressive effort by another union to stop them.

“We organized our union so we could stand up for ourselves, and make sure our residents get the best possible care and that we are treated with the dignity and respect we deserve,” said Jose Bolanos, a cook at the facility. “Now we have a voice to do that. We’re thrilled to be part of a democratic union that is run by healthcare workers like us.”

The scandal-plagued SEIU, widely condemned for its attacks on other unions, had tried to block this election for several months with frivolous charges. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rejected SEIU’s charges and scheduled an election. SEIU failed to win enough support to get a spot on the ballot. The final vote was 40 for NUHW and 20 for “No Union.”

NUHW was founded in January, in the wake of SEIU’s hostile takeover of California’s healthcare union. Since then, more than 100,000 healthcare workers—mostly current members of SEIU—have petitioned for elections to join NUHW. Today’s election is only the second contest between NUHW and SEIU to be scheduled by the National Labor Relations Board. SEIU abandoned the first election at Los Alamitos hospital in Southern Calfornia last week due to overwhelming opposition from workers. On Sept. 28, workers at Los Alamitos voted 35 to 7 to join NUHW.

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is an independent, member-led union, dedicated to improving the lives of healthcare workers and the people they care for. More than 100,000 workers in hospitals, Kaiser Permanente facilities, homecare, and nursing homes have petitioned to join NUHW since January 2009.