Federal Judge Orders Kaiser to Grant “Unlawfully Withheld” Wages and Benefits to NUHW Members

NewsDecember 19, 2010

LOS ANGELES – Judge Gary Allen Feess of the United States District Court, Central District of California, has issued an injunction against Kaiser Permanente for illegally withholding scheduled wage increases and benefits from 2,300 Southern California Registered Nurses and professionals who voted to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in January of this year.

“Kaiser broke the law and they’re not getting away with it,” said Sherry Macias, an RN at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center.  “We hope the judge’s order will persuade Kaiser to stop acting like the Walmart of healthcare and start working with us to settle a fair contract.” 

The judge’s ruling charges Kaiser with “failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith” with NUHW “by unilaterally implementing changes in terms and conditions of employment during negotiations for a collective-bargaining agreement.”

The judge ordered the company to “(g)rant prospectively the unlawfully withheld April 2010 annual across-the-board raise,” as well as the tuition-reimbursement and steward training benefits, and prohibited it from “interfering with, restraining or coercing employees in their exercise of Section 7 of the (National Labor Relations) Act.”

Section 7 of the NLRA guarantees workers “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”

It is precisely this right of the 43,500 Kaiser workers covered in the election between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and NUHW this September that Kaiser deliberately interfered with by withholding scheduled wages and benefits from NUHW members.

SEIU welcomed Kaiser’s illegal, unethical and anti-worker conduct, and leveraged it to instill fear in those workers of exercising their right to join the union of their choice.

On Monday, December 20 at 8pm, nurses at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center will be joined by labor icon Dolores Huerta in a candlelight vigil for a fair contract.

Read the ruling here: http://bit.ly/10jInjunction

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