Seton workers vote to join NUHW

March 20th, 2014

seton victory still

The ballots have been counted, and nearly 700 employees of Seton Medical Center in Daly City and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach have voted to oust SEIU-UHW in favor of NUHW-CNA. The vote tally, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), was 279 for NUHW, 252 for SEIU, and 19 for Neither.

“With this vote, the majority of Seton workers have decided not to roll over and let management cut our healthcare and retirement benefits,” said Respiratory Therapist Suad Husary, “and we’re not going to let management short-change patient care.”

The March 19 election was conducted after the NLRB dismissed the results of an earlier election due to violations committed by Seton’s management that gave improper assistance to SEIU-UHW. The NLRB ruled, for example, that Seton management gave SEIU-UHW preferential access to the facility and its workers in the run-up to that election.

Seton workers’ decision to decertify SEIU-UHW follows its underhanded maneuvers to impose huge benefits reductions on Seton employees. In its current contract with Seton, SEIU-UHW agreed to eliminate workers’ pension plan and replace it with a cheap 401(k). SEIU-UHW also accepted sharp reductions in workers’ health benefits along with an intrusive wellness program that imposes financial penalties on employees. Furthermore, SEIU-UHW hid these reductions from workers and used undemocratic procedures to implement them.

“SEIU-UHW let Seton cut our pensions and healthcare coverage, and in return, Seton gave SEIU-UHW favorable treatment in the first election,” said Amiame Fanaika. “But we didn’t give in. We fought for two years to get a second election, and with this vote we’ve made it clear to Seton and to whoever buys the hospital that we’re going to put patients and caregivers first.”

SEIU-UHW used a stay-the-course message in light of the Daughters of Charity System’s recent announcement that Seton Medical Center is for sale. But Seton workers opted to stand together with a strong union in the face of new ownership.

“This is a huge victory for Seton workers and the patients they care for,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “NUHW is led by the caregivers. Now Seton workers will have the opportunity to establish their priorities by putting patients first, enforcing adequate staffing levels, and ensuring that they receive the benefits they have earned through years of hard work.”