Monterey County Weekly: Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital workers union election is finally settled. NUHW wins.

NewsNovember 2, 2010

By Robin Urevich

The National Union of Health care Workers has pledged to push back against staff reductions at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.

In mid-October, the union led workers in a lively informational picket line to protest a round of buy-outs that had been offered to nurse’s aides, LVNs and other support staff.  Hospital officials warned that if workers didn’t take voluntary severance packages, lay-offs could be in the offing. Now, the union can take its battle to the bargaining table.

In May 2010, SVMH workers voted overwhelmingly for NUHW representation, but their old union, the Service Employees International, which was voted out, filed objections to the conduct of the election, and official certification of the NUHW was delayed.

But on Oct. 25, the state Public Employee Relations Board, which referees such disputes, cleared those objections and granted collective bargaining rights to the NUHW. 

The NUHW takes charge just as hospital officials say they must shave more than $22 million from their $375 million annual budget. 

But SVMH spokeswoman Adrienne Laurent indicates that she doesn’t anticipate conflict. 

“We’ve always had really good relationships with all our unions,” she says.

Source: Monterey County Weekly