Opinion: SEIU case shows why integrity must be a mainstay of the labor movement

NewsSeptember 7, 2011

The San Jose Mercury News:

There is no greater blow to the moral authority of the labor movement than a fraudulent union election, especially when the union is large and wealthy. The right to organize and bargain collectively and the right of employees to choose the union that represents them are intertwined.

On July 14, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Lana Parke found Service Employees International Union (SEIU) guilty of coercion and unlawful threats in the historic California statewide Kaiser election that took place October 2010.

The match between SEIU and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) included 43,000 employees, the largest private-sector vote in 70 years. SEIU’s campaign of disinformation and fear was so pervasive that Parke threw out the results. The NLRB does not lightly set elections aside. Parke rendered the election null and void not because of minor technicalities but because SEIU tactics created a climate of misplaced fear and intimidation.

Two destructive practices undermined the integrity of the contest. First, Kaiser unlawfully withheld benefits of NUHW members after NUHW won three elections in Southern California. SEIU then turned the employer’s illegal actions into threats.

Read the full opinion article at The San Jose Mercury News.