Contra Costa Times: Judge declares winner in union dispute at West County hospital

NewsMarch 14, 2010

By Tom Lochner

An administrative law judge has sided with the National Union of Healthcare Workers in its dispute with Service Employees International Union over representation of health care workers at Doctors Medical Center San Pablo.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West Local 2005 sought to overturn the results of a 158-24 vote last year by a workers’ bargaining group at Doctors Medical Center to quit SEIU and join NUHW; ballots were sent out April 29 and due by May 20.

In April, shortly before the election, SEIU filed unfair practices actions with the California Public Employment Relations Board against NUHW and the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, which owns the community hospital.

In May, the state board’s general counsel’s office issued complaints alleging that the hospital district granted NUHW preferential access to workers and that it unilaterally implemented new policies regarding access; the office also took NUHW to task for advising workers to give the ballots of the decertification election to one of its “trusted” job stewards.

However, the general counsel’s office declined SEIU’s request to stay the election.

In a ruling this month Administrative Law Judge Donn Ginoza found that the health care district did not commit any unlawful unilateral change and did not encourage support for NUHW. Ginoza also found that NUHW did not interfere with employees’ rights.

“Nothing in the record supports a showing that the election result was subject to reasonable doubt or otherwise illegitimate,” Ginoza found in dismissing SEIU’s charges and in denying its request to set aside the election results.

Ginoza’s decision, issued March 1, will become final 20 days later unless a party to the proceeding files a statement of objection.

 Source: Contra Costa Times