A message about decertification from Healthcare Professionals Chapter VP
April 27th, 2020
My name is Turusew Gedebu-Wilson. Many of you know me as a colleague, steward, and bargaining committee member. Today I am writing as your NUHW Vice President to set the record straight.
It is no secret that UNAC is trying to decertify our union. One of their main talking points says that if we ratify Kaiser’s last, best, final offer, then vote to decertify NUHW and join UNAC, the contract and all its provisions will accompany us. Legally, the NUHW contract would be null and void (per this case referenced this letter from NUHW’s legal counsel), but employers are still supposed to keep things “status quo” (per the case UNAC is citing).
The reality is employers often do not do this.
If Kaiser attempts to not honor the ratified contract, UNAC has very little recourse since the contract is technically with a different union and is legally void. Plus, bargaining is immediately reopened and KP can ask to change whatever it wants, including things we just settled in the contract.
Nothing prevents Kaiser from proposing takeaways, especially amid the economic crisis we find ourselves in. Nothing prevents Kaiser from declaring impasse and implementing those takeaways. UNAC’s current members are under contract and cannot strike with us. UNAC cannot hold Kaiser accountable in any other way because of their alliance partnership agreement. Their message that they’re going to ride it out for 18 months until the rest of their contracts expire is unrealistic.
Ask UNAC reps this question: If they think our new contract will be so weak, why would they want members to sit with it for a year and a half?
And that is the point here, isn’t it? We just won gains, yet some people want to push all our chips right back in the middle of the table.
That’s putting a LOT of trust in UNAC and a LOT of trust in Kaiser. Do you think KP would pay out everything they just settled with NUHW, not ask for any changes or new concessions? And do you think UNAC would actually do something about it if Kaiser were to take advantage of the situation?
UNAC didn’t win the pension, nor fight for the pension for new pharmacists hired after 2014. They did not make recreational therapists pay equal to their other classifications upon joining UNAC and instead agreed to a 40 percent reduction. They have been bargaining for KP pharmacists in Hawaii for almost a year. All of this despite their size, despite all the power they say they wield. They talk big about winning for us but then say “it’s up to us” when we ask them for the details of their plan for our economic and professional future.
I suppose if you’re OK with the status quo, sitting back, outsourcing your own responsibility and power, having union leaders decide what’s best for you, and putting trust into an organization without facts backing it, UNAC may be a good fit for you. But if you know you deserve more and look to the facts of our economic and patient advocacy wins, the plan you can trust is staying with our democratic and member-led union, NUHW.
Turusew Gebedu–Wilson, MS, RD