Workers appeal SEIU actions

NewsAugust 18, 2009

Last week California nursing home workers delivered a formal appeal to federal officials detailing widespread abuses committed by SEIU’s trustees as well as the failure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to defend worker’s basic rights. (Click here to view the appeal)

The workers are employed by Foresight/IQC, a for-profit company that operates seven nursing homes in Northern California. Six months ago, 75% of the company’s workers signed petitions requesting to leave SEIU and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

Since then, SEIU’s trustees have used frivolous “blocking charges” to stall workers’ elections while simultaneously working with the company’s executives to retaliate against rank-and-file leaders.

The attached letter, delivered to the NLRB’s General Counsel and elected officials, details abuses like the following:
After imposing the trusteeship, SEIU officials forcibly blocked workers’ elected bargaining committee from attending contract negotiations with the company. SEIU officials told workers they could only participate in negotiations if they signed a loyalty pledge to SEIU – even though 75% of workers had already petitioned to leave SEIU.
SEIU then secretly negotiated a contract settlement with management and physically blocked dozens of workers from casting ballots in a rushed contract ratification vote. To date, SEIU’s trustees have refused to release the results of the ratification vote.
SEIU’s contract settlement left the company’s workers with wages, benefits and working conditions far below the industry-wide standards achieved by UHW members before the trusteeship.
SEIU forcibly removed Shop Stewards who’d been democratically elected by their co-workers.
SEIU organizers confiscated information that workers tried to share with their colleagues, sometimes tearing up literature in front of workers in a threatening manner. SEIU officials have refused to allow workers to post information on their union bulletin boards inside the nursing homes.
SEIU conspired with company managers to threaten workers with termination if they support NUHW. These threats continue to this day.
According to workers’ letter, “We have waited seven months to have a vote to choose the union we wish to be represented by and because SEIU has successfully used the legal process to deny our vote they have imprisoned us with no rights. We are now fearful that SEIU along with the Employer will feel that they will have free reign to come down hard on those of us who have made clear we no longer want to be represented by SEIU. In fact, we predict that many of us will be fired. Why? Because we chose to exercise our rights under law.”

The workers’ letter calls on NLRB officials to protect the rights of workers by fairly and swiftly enforcing the nation’s labor laws.