Healthcare workers and allies demand SEIU submit to fair elections at 77 facilities after justice denied at 16 nursing homes
April 27th, 2010
Oakland, Calif.—Healthcare workers gathered outside the Clay Street office of the National Labor Relations Board today to demand the right to vote for thousands of SEIU members who want to change their union to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), and also to demand that the labor board take action to stop SEIU’s campaign of intimidation against NUHW supporters.
Nursing home workers announced that SEIU’s 15-month strategy of procedural delays and harassment in their workplaces had made fair elections impossible in some places, and that workers at 16 nursing homes had made the difficult decision to regroup and fight another day. NUHW’s elected executive board passed a resolution in support of workers’ decision.1
While the labor board has issued several complaints against SEIU staff for illegally threatening workers2, the board allowed SEIU to delay workers’ elections for more than a year and hold votes only where SEIU officials think they can win.
“The labor board may not hold SEIU accountable for what they’ve done, but that doesn’t mean we have to let them get away with it,” said Beverly Griffith, a 33-year environmental services worker at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and a Vice President of NUHW. “The way for us to level the playing field is to move forward and win elections for the tens of thousands of healthcare workers who have stood up to SEIU’s fear campaign and are ready to cast their votes and join NUHW.”
After a series of landslide votes for NUHW in January, SEIU asked the labor board to proceed with a hand-picked minority of elections where SEIU was most confident they could win. The first three of these hand-picked elections happened last week, with more than 200 caregivers joining NUHW in two hard-won victories and another election too close to call.
SEIU is still blocking union representation elections at 60 facilities and union shop deauthorization elections at 17 more—elections that a majority of workers requested.
Jackie Patrick, a personal care assistant at Children’s Hospital of Oakland, presented a petition signed by a majority of Children’s Hospital workers calling for SEIU to stop interfering with their election and let them vote.
“We’re ready to vote for NUHW and join a strong, democratic union that helps us win for ourselves and our patients,” she said. “But SEIU is afraid of workers having a free choice. They’re blocking elections for thousands of workers just like us because they know they can’t win a fair fight.”
La Mariposa certified nursing assistant Mary Mundy read a letter3 from East Bay elected officials and community leaders—signed by three out of five Alameda County Supervisors and the Mayor of Richmond, and echoed in a separate letter from the head of the Alameda County Building Trades Council—joining more than 100 San Francisco elected officials and community leaders4 in calling on SEIU to agree to fair elections.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) Executive Director Pat McGinnis added, “The caregivers who lead NUHW have been some of the strongest advocates for safer nursing homes in California. SEIU’s effort to silence their voices and make backroom deals with nursing home operators is a threat to all they accomplished. I am proud to support these workers in taking their union back.”
SEIU is still blocking elections for 4,783 workers at these 58 nursing homes:
- Covenant Corporation (5 homes, 359 workers)
- Foresight (5 homes, 350 workers)
- Evergreen (5 homes, 350 workers)
- Generations- (2 homes, 45 workers
- North American (4 homes, 250 workers)
- Prema Thekkek Corp (4 homes, 285 workers)
- Mariner (10 homes, 954 workers)
- Sava Corporation (3 homes, 195 workers)
- Grove Street Care Center (145 workers)
- A & C Convalescent Hospital-Millbrae (93 workers)
- Lake Park Retirement (97 workers)
- Kindred (Union shop deauthorization petition covering 11 homes, 900 workers)
- Horizon West (Union shop deauthorization petition covering 6 homes, 450 workers)
SEIU is still blocking elections for 6,393 workers at these 19 hospitals:
- Watsonville Community Hospital (210 workers)
- Seton Medical Center/Seton Coastside (2 facilities, 900 workers)
- Children’s Hospital of Oakland (420 workers)
- Chinese Hospital of San Francisco (82 workers)
- Enloe Medical Center (Compass dietary unit, 120 workers)
- Kindred Hospital San Leandro (90 workers)
- Garden Grove Hospital & Medical Center (285 workers)
- Providence Tarzana Medical Center (528 workers)
- USC University Hospital (572 workers)
- Olympia Medical Center (330 workers)
- Alta Bates Medical Center/Summit Medical Center (2 facilities, 1,230 workers)
- California Pacific Medical Center-California, Davies, Pacific (3 facilities, 804 workers)
- California Pacific Medical Center-St. Luke’s (395 workers)
- Sutter Lakeside Hospital (160 workers)
- Sutter Medical Center Of Santa Rosa (267 workers)
- Executive board resolution: http://bit.ly/eboard-16nh
- Labor board complaint against SEIU: http://bit.ly/nlrb-seiu6
- East Bay leaders letter: http://bit.ly/eastbaysign
- San Francisco leaders letter: http://bit.ly/SFBG-SFLeadersCondemnSEIUTactics
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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is California’s fastest-growing union, representing caregivers in every job classification. More than 100,000 workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and Kaiser Permanente facilities have petitioned for elections to join NUHW and win a strong, democratic voice at work. | NUHW.org/one