NLRB asks federal court to award raises and full retro pay to NUHW members at Kaiser

NewsOctober 5, 2010

SEIU’s fraudulent campaign exposed on eve of ballot count for 43,500 more Kaiser workers to join NUHW

LOS ANGELES—The National Labor Relations Board petitioned a federal court yesterday for an injunction ordering Kaiser Permanente to immediately repay more than $1 million in illegally-withheld raises and other benefits that members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) are entitled to under the terms of their union contract. [Read the NLRB’s legal memorandum: ]

The withheld raises had become the centerpiece of a multi-million-dollar campaign by the SEIU to stop 43,500 more Kaiser employees from joining NUHW in an union election that ends tomorrow—the largest private-sector election since the 1940s.

“This isn’t just a victory for NUHW members at Kaiser,” said Jim Clifford, a therapist at Kaiser San Diego.  “It’s a guarantee for all workers that we have the right to choose a better union without risking anything. Shame on SEIU for trying to threaten people into staying with them.”

In January, 2,300 Southern California Kaiser professionals and RNs voted by a landslide to leave SEIU and join NUHW. Kaiser management, ignoring established labor law, claimed that the contract those workers had under their former union no longer applied.

While NUHW members filed charges with the labor board to protect their rights, SEIU officials saw an opportunity to scare other SEIU members at Kaiser out of joining their co-workers in NUHW. SEIU took management’s side, lying to employees that Kaiser didn’t have to pay their raises if they changed unions. Over the next six months, SEIU sent hundreds of thousands of mailers, leaflets, and robocalls to Kaiser workers, telling them they’d lose their raises and other benefits if they joined NUHW. [See SEIU’s mail: ]

The type of injunction the NLRB has requested, called a “10(J)” injunction, is the Board’s strongest enforcement power, and the courts almost always grant such requests. The legal memorandum on the petition explains that the NLRB “enjoys primary jurisdiction over labor disputes, subject only to narrow judicial review.”

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1, when the court is expected to issue an injunction forcing Kaiser to honor all of the raises and benefits in the contract with employees’ former union, and awarding full retro pay plus interest for raises that Kaiser withheld.

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is California’s fastest-growing union, representing caregivers in every job classification. NUHW is dedicated to member democracy, dignity and justice for healthcare workers, and quality, affordable healthcare for all. |