SEIU officials beg NLRB to stop Kaiser elections
September 21st, 2010
Filing asks federal government to reconsider decision to hold elections for nearly 2,000 more Northern California Kaiser employees to join NUHW
Oakland, Calif.—As 44,000 Kaiser Permanente workers vote by mail in their election to leave SEIU and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), three more groups of Kaiser workers in Northern California are eagerly awaiting their own elections. But the incumbent union SEIU today made a last-ditch effort to stop those three elections and deny nearly 2,000 union members the right to vote.
In a filing with the National Labor Relations Board, SEIU officials begged the federal government to ignore petitions from hundreds of workers and reconsider the decision by the NLRB’s Regional Director to move forward with the elections.
“It’s our legal right to hold these elections, but SEIU officials are afraid we’ll vote them out,” said Emily Ryan, a psychiatric social worker at Kaiser Folsom. “They’re spending millions of our dues dollars on lawyers to try to deny us our right to choose a better union. Why would anyone want to be trapped in an organization like that?”
SEIU stands to lose more than $40 million a year in membership dues if Kaiser workers vote to become an independent union. The election already underway for 44,000 Kaiser employees to join NUHW is the largest private-sector union election since the 1940s.
NUHW is California’s fastest-growing union, made up of thousands of healthcare workers across the state who have rejected unaccountable SEIU leaders who exclude members from important decisions about their jobs and benefits. Instead, NUHW supporters are choosing a union where decisions are made by Kaiser workers themselves.
More than 2,300 Southern California Kaiser workers have already joined NUHW in landslide elections. One of their first accomplishments was winning 171 new positions at Kaiser’s flagship Los Angeles hospital, a victory for patient care that also creates more quality jobs with good pay and benefits.
Federal law protects Kaiser workers’ promised raises and benefits when they join NUHW. When management tried to flout the law in April by delaying a scheduled raise, the National Labor Relations Board stepped in and is now prosecuting Kaiser management to make sure they follow the law.
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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. | NUHW.org