Judge verifies NUHW landslide vote at Doctors San Pablo

NewsMarch 12, 2010

SEIU kept workers from bargaining a contract for ten months by crying unfair; judge rules SEIU, not NUHW, had unfair advantage

San Pablo, Calif.—Almost a year after workers at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo voted 158-to-24 to quit SEIU and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers, an independent judge has determined that California’s labor board should certify the landslide vote and make the switch official.

Workers at the hospital have been prevented from bargaining a contract since last May because of the reckless actions of SEIU officials, who filed fraudulent objections to the election that have now been rejected.

While SEIU could appeal the judge’s decision, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin called on SEIU to accept the ruling and stand aside.

“SEIU’s interference has left caregivers in our community without a voice for nearly a year,” McLaughlin said. “It’s time for SEIU to accept workers’ choice and stop standing in their way.”

Administrative Law Judge Donn Ginoza rejected SEIU’s claims that the election was unfair, rejecting the testimony of SEIU’s top-ranking witness as “not very persuasive” and finding that “to the extent that there was differential access, SEIU-UHW had the advantage.” (Read the decision at http://bit.ly/dmc-perb)

Workers at Doctors were the first SEIU members to vote on whether to join NUHW—and SEIU officials wanted to make an example of them. At the same time SEIU was using false claims to delay NUHW from being certified, SEIU was sending mailings to workers at other hospitals, claiming that NUHW had not yet won the contract and that workers were losing at Doctors—even though SEIU was still the recognized union.

Over the last year, thousands of other healthcare workers across California have joined NUHW and had their elections certified, while SEIU continued to interfere at Doctors. This decision by the labor board could bring closure to the very first election and allow workers to move forward and win with NUHW.

“We won our election by such a huge margin because workers here want democracy and a real voice at work,” said Duka Ristic, an ultrasonographer at the hospital for nine years. “We’re glad the labor board has finally respected our decision, and we hope SEIU will too.”

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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