More than 100 S.F. leaders call on SEIU-UHW to respect workers’ rights in upcoming union elections

NewsMarch 3, 2010

Citing complaints of intimidation and harassment, elected officials and community leaders ask SEIU-UHW to agree to ground rules that guarantee free choice for healthcare workers

SAN FRANCISCO—More than 100 San Francisco elected officials and community leaders—including State Senator Mark Leno, Assemblymembers Fiona Ma and Tom Ammiano, and 10 out of 11 San Francisco Supervisors—have called on SEIU-UHW to respect healthcare workers’ rights in upcoming elections for San Francisco caregivers to choose between SEIU and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

They’ve released an open letter asking SEIU to agree on fair ground rules to make sure workers aren’t harassed or threatened.1

“Fair Election Agreements are a community standard for union elections in San Francisco,” said Aaron Peskin, Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and former President of the Board of Supervisors.

“All we are asking is for SEIU-UHW to negotiate rules of conduct, like those they have asked us to support in every one of their elections over the past decade. They should have no difficulty in doing so unless they intend to engage in conduct they have historically denounced.”

Elections are expected this year for tens of thousands of California healthcare workers to choose their union, including thousands at CPMC/St. Luke’s, Chinese Hospital, and many other San Francisco hospitals and nursing homes. While NUHW has already committed to negotiate Fair Election Agreements, SEIU-UHW has so far refused.

In the letter, San Francisco leaders cite allegations that SEIU “committed multiple, serious violations of state labor law” in a June 2009 union election in Fresno, as well as complaints from San Francisco caregivers about “similar intimidation and harassment at the hand of SEIU officials.”

The renewed effort to protect workers’ rights comes on the heels of the latest incident of SEIU’s ongoing intimidation and harassment against caregivers: a verbal and physical assault by an SEIU staff member against workers and NUHW supporters at Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center was captured on videotape last week.2

Over the last year, healthcare workers have reported dozens of incidents of SEIU intimidation and harassment at their homes and in their workplaces. Last month those complaints led the National Labor Relations Board to file formal charges against six SEIU organizers for multiple violations of labor law.3

NUHW is a member-led, democratic union that healthcare workers formed last year after SEIU seized control of California’s healthcare union in a hostile takeover.


  1. Letter from 116 San Francisco community leaders:
  2. Video of SEIU assault at Garden Grove Hospital:
  3. Labor board complaint against SEIU staff:

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is California’s fastest-growing union, representing caregivers in every job classification. More than 100,000 workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and Kaiser Permanente facilities have petitioned for elections to join NUHW and win a strong, democratic voice at work. |