SEIU Local 1021 members at Alameda County Medical Center petition to join NUHW

NewsMarch 3, 2009

More than 300 caregivers at Alameda County Medical Center—many of whom were forced out of SEIU UHW-W in 2006 by an SEIU merger—have joined 90,000 California healthcare workers in petitioning to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers

Alameda, Calif.—More than 300 caregivers at Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) are the latest to petition the state labor board for an election to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The petition was signed by a majority of the two bargaining units, including clinical psychologists, dieticians, health educators, pharmacists, clinical lab scientists, as well as housekeeping and dietary workers.

Until today’s filing, the caregivers were represented by SEIU Local 1021, a union focused on public sector employees. Many of them were forced out of California’s healthcare union by a merger of SEIU local unions in 2006.

“For years, SEIU has divided health care workers,” said Juliet Buenavista, who has been a clinical lab scientist at ACMC Highland Hospital for 31 years. “My colleagues and I feel very strongly that we want to be united with other health care workers, and that NUHW is the right union for us. We are happy to make this move. The healthcare workers who lead NUHW have a strong record of improving public health services and raising standards for caregivers and our patients.”

Workers also filed petitions for an additional 285 caregivers at nearby Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo. Petitions are still circulating among the 1,100 workers in other bargaining units at ACMC, and more filings are expected soon.

Since NUHW was founded by union reformers less than a month ago, almost 90,000 workers at more than 350 facilities have petitioned to leave SEIU and join NUHW for a stronger voice in on the job and a more democratic voice in their union. Caregivers at ACMC facilities are the first members of SEIU Local 1021 to petition to join.

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is an independent, member-led union, dedicated to improving the lives of healthcare workers and the people they care for. NUHW is building a national movement of caregivers to hold healthcare corporations accountable to the public interest and win affordable, quality healthcare for all.