IHHI caregivers become first in Orange County to petition to join NUHW

NewsFebruary 24, 2009

Anaheim, Calif.—Five hundred workers at Western Medical Center in Anaheim and Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana, both owned by Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (IHHI), filed petitions yesterday for an election to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

Since NUHW was founded by union reformers less than a month ago, tens of thousands of workers across the state have flocked to join NUHW for a stronger voice in on the job and a more democratic voice in their union. Today’s petitions are the first from healthcare workers in Orange County.

“An absolute majority of workers at our hospital have signed petitions to choose NUHW as our union,” said Joe Ruocco, a senior lab assistant at Western Medical Center for 35 years. “We don’t want any other union to represent us. IHHI should negotiate with us in NUHW to resolve the open issues in our contract.”

Caregivers at Coastal Communities Hospital joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) less than a year ago, and already want to leave. After uniting for a democratic voice in their workplace, their local union was seized by national officials who removed their elected leaders.

“We joined our local union for a reason,” said Ruth Calderon, a licensed vocational nurse at Coastal Communities Hospital. “We wanted a union we could trust, where we have a voice to improve our hospital for patients and workers. SEIU has shown us they’re corrupt, undemocratic, and act just like another boss. That’s why we’re uniting in NUHW to keep our union strong.”

Including workers in Orange County, almost 30,000 workers at nearly 120 facilities across California have petitioned to unite in NUHW.

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is an independent, member-led union, dedicated to improving the lives of healthcare workers and the people they care for. NUHW is building a national movement of caregivers to hold healthcare corporations accountable to the public interest and win affordable, quality healthcare for all.