Modern Healthcare: Kaiser workers vote to leave SEIU

NewsJanuary 27, 2010

Kaiser workers vote to leave SEIU
By Joe Carlson

The membership rolls of the nation’s largest healthcare union are getting a little smaller after several thousand hospital and clinic workers employed by Kaiser Permanente voted to leave the Service Employees International Union and join an upstart rival.

In a closely watched election, the National Union of Healthcare Workers overwhelmingly won three simultaneous disaffiliation votes, representing about 2,300 workers at Kaiser’s 412-bed Los Angeles Medical Center and more than 90 affiliated clinics in Southern California.

The National Labor Relations Board reported that registered nurses, dietitians, psychiatric counselors and social workers voted 1,652-257 to leave three SEIU bargaining units and join the NUHW, which was formed last year.

NUHW’s leadership is largely made up of former SEIU leaders who were ousted from the Washington-based international union last year. John Borsos, a vice president with NUHW and one of the ousted SEIU officials, said he interpreted the results as “the beginning of the end for SEIU in California.”

Steve Trossman, spokesman for one of the SEIU’s large bargaining units in California, called Borsos’ comments “hyperbolic nonsense,” noting that SEIU still has several hundred thousand workers under contract in the state.

Meanwhile, the NLRB is expected to release a major announcement in coming days that will clear the way for the NUHW to hold decertification elections for SEIU bargaining units in dozens of hospitals across the state.

Source: Modern Healthcare