The election is a re-run of a vote held in the fall of 2010, when SEIU-UHW prevailed by violating the law and cheating with the employer. In 2011, a federal judge threw out the election results, citing unlawful conduct by Kaiser and election misconduct by SEIU-UHW.
SEIU-UHW recently settled a contract with Kaiser that includes major cuts to workers’ pension and retiree health benefits, increased co-pays for some Kaiser employees, and allows for subcontracting of union members’ jobs. Shortly after settling the contract, SEIU-UHW met with Kaiser management and allowed the company to lay off 1,000 workers statewide.
Thousands of Kaiser workers who already belong to NUHW, together with registered nurses represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA), have successfully resisted the cuts that SEIU-UHW officials agreed to. CNA RNs settled a contract in 2011 that includes no concessions and awards nurses a 15% raise over three years.
Last month, NUHW affiliated with the CNA to form a united front against the cuts that SEIU-UHW accepted and to put a stop to the erosion of patient care protections and contract standards throughout California that has been the result of SEIU-UHW’s collaboration with healthcare employers at the expense of workers and its concessionary bargaining posture.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting years for,” said Elizabeth Carter, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Kaiser Richmond-Pinole. “All across the state, NUHW-CNA has settled contracts with wage increases and other improvements, and no cuts. With Kaiser making higher profits than at any time in the last decade, we deserve the same. That’s why we’re voting for NUHW-CNA.”