Fresno homecare workers protest illegitimate election

NewsJune 30, 2009

Provider Sarah Jones announces the PERB complaintFresno homecare providers filed a formal complaint yesterday against SEIU’s violent and illegal tactics to stop them from having a fair election to choose NUHW. The complaint describes eight categories of violations that affected thousands of workers and allowed SEIU to eke out a narrow lead in the initial vote count.

Listen to last week’s press conference announcing the complaint

Violations included:

  • SEIU organizers engaged in threatening, menacing and abusive behavior towards many voters. For example, SEIU organizers shouted down homecare workers in front of their children and threatened to physically beat NUHW organizers in the presence of voters.
  • SEIU organizers threatened thousands of workers with the loss of health insurance if they voted for NUHW. On its website, SEIU even published one SEIU organizer’s description of how these threats were especially effective in convincing workers to vote for SEIU.
  • SEIU organizers threatened thousands of workers with losses of their jobs, wages and work hours if they voted for NUHW.
  • SEIU organizers ripped down campaign signs that workers placed on their homes to build support for NUHW in their neighborhoods.
  • SEIU used a county manager with supervisorial powers over homecare workers to visit workers’ homes to tell them to vote for SEIU-UHW. It is illegal for workers’ supervisors to campaign in union members’ elections.

If these violations influenced the votes of just 117 workers out of 6,000, then SEIU’s misconduct changed the outcome of the election. California’s Public Employment Relations Board will determine whether SEIU’s violations contributed to their thin advantage, and could set aside the initial results so that workers can have a fair election.

Aside from SEIU’s illegal tactics, the final results of the election are still unknown. Election officials have reportedly identified hundreds more unopened ballots, and it’s estimated that more than 400 ballots  remain uncounted—far more than the current vote margin between the two unions.

After SEIU reportedly squandered up to $10 million fighting with Fresno homecare workers instead of fighting for them, providers will see their wages drop for the first time since they formed their union in 2003. Despite SEIU’s lies that they’d stopped the wage cuts, the Fresno IHSS Public Authority informed providers in a letter last week that their wages would be reduced from $10.25 to $9.50 an hour, starting tomorrow.