Healthcare workers in California announce formation of new national union

Press ReleasesJanuary 28, 2009

Oakland, Calif.—Responding to demands from thousands of rank-and-file healthcare workers across California, the democratically elected executive board of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West resigned membership from SEIU and today announced the formation of a new organization, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

The decision to form a new national healthcare union comes after Andy Stern and other SEIU leaders rejected a compromise proposal from UHW to end the conflict with California healthcare workers. UHW’s compromise proposal would have enabled California healthcare workers to work within SEIU by guaranteeing that caregivers had the right to fair vote before being transferred from one SEIU local union to another and that healthcare workers, rather than bureaucratic outsiders from Washington, would control the collective bargaining relationship with their Employer.

“For decades, healthcare workers in California have wanted to be part of a democratic, progressive movement that would raise standards for caregivers and the patients and residents we serve. Events over the last several days have proven that’s not possible in SEIU,” said Angela Glasper, a 20-year optical services clerk from Kaiser Permanente. “Healthcare workers deserve to be part of a union that healthcare workers control democratically, not one that is led by a handful of outsiders from Washington D.C.”

The National Union of Healthcare Workers is the successor to United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) the oldest healthcare workers union in the country.

“As a healthcare workers union, NUHW is committed to continuing the tradition of a member-led, democratically controlled union,” said Sal Rosselli. “There are lot of things that we still have to figure out, but we know NUHW will be all about accountability to the members, democratic-decision-making, organizing the unorganized and winning improvements for healthcare workers and the patients and residents we serve.”