Kaiser Optical Workers Vote to Remain in NUHW-CNA, Reject SEIU

Press ReleasesJune 5, 2013

OAKLAND — Today, votes were counted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for Northern California optical workers at Kaiser Permanente in an election between the Service Employees International (SEIU) and the National Union of Healthcare Workers – California Nurses Association (NUHW). By an overwhelming vote of 214 for NUHW to 103 for SEIU with 22 challenges and 3 voting for “Neither,” Kaiser optical workers voted to remain in NUHW.

In fact, today’s election results reflect an even clearer repudiation of SEIU than when Kaiser optical workers first voted to switch from SEIU to NUHW in 2010. Between the 2010 election and today’s, support for NUHW as reflected in the respective ballot counts grew by 39%, while SEIU’s support dropped by 28 percent.

SEIU filed a petition with the NLRB for the decertification election three months ago, during an election contest between NUHW and SEIU for representation of 45,000 Kaiser employees statewide. SEIU filed with only a handful of signatures as a publicity stunt for its campaign.

Since joining NUHW, Kaiser optical workers have refused to agree to cuts to benefits and job protections that SEIU officials have already accepted on behalf of their members at Kaiser. Today’s vote was a clear affirmation that optical workers at Kaiser continue to support standing up to Kaiser’s cuts and reject SEIU’s culture of conciliation and collusion with management.

“We’ve now sent the message loud and clear to SEIU, not once, but twice: we’re not interested in ‘partnering’ with management by throwing workers under the bus,” said Gloria Villaseñor, an optical worker at Kaiser Union City. “We’re sticking with NUHW because we want a union that will fight for its members.”