McKnight’s: California healthcare union struggle continues, SEIU accused of using anti-union tactics
June 25th, 2009
The battle appears to be raging on over representation of California’s healthcare workers. Recent reports indicate that as part of its strategy to win, the Service Employees International Union may be resorting to anti-organization tactics it once railed against.
In February, deposed former leaders of United Healthcare Workers West, an Oakland-based union, filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to cull healthcare workers from the ranks of the SEIU to populate a new union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers. (McKnight’s, 2/4). SEIU officials have challenged about 80 petitions filed by the new union, and have argued that NUHW officials are coercing workers into holding unfair elections. Ironically, these are the same arguments that opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act make against the proposed law, which the SEIU supports.
The NUHW top brass is crying hypocrisy. Quoted in the LA Times, NUHW interim vice-president John Borsos says the SEIU advocates free choice for every U.S. employee-except members of the SEIU. “The only reason the SEIU doesn’t want elections is that they know they would lose,” he says.
Despite SEIU attempts to quash the organization efforts, elections are still underway at a number of facilities across the state. Workers at a Hollister hospital and two California nursing homes will have their votes counted today, the LA Times reported.