Workers at Michigan Hospital Vote to Leave SEIU and Join NUHW

NewsJanuary 5, 2012

Muskegon, Michigan – Technical workers at the Hackley campus of Mercy Health Partners hospital in Muskegon, Michigan voted yesterday to leave the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) by a vote of 65 to 9, with two votes for “no union.”

Hackley caregivers are the second group of Michigan workers to bolt SEIU for NUHW since last fall. Last September, workers at Luther Manor Nursing Home in Saginaw chose NUHW over SEIU by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Kim Vossekuil, a Surgical Technologist at Hackley. “SEIU is too corrupt and indifferent to its members for us to remain with them for a single day longer. We’ve gone months at a time without ever seeing our SEIU representative, and SEIU staff refused to do anything when management ran roughshod over our contract. We cast our ballots for NUHW because we want a union that workers control and that’s accountable to us.”

SEIU has had a troubled recent history in Michigan, marked by repeated allegations of corruption. The former president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, Rickman Jackson, was forced from office in 2008 over his receipt of thousands of dollars in improper rent payments from SEIU’s Los Angeles homecare union, where he was formerly employed. Jackson’s replacement, Marge Faville, is paid over $160,000 annually and has her niece, daughter and son on the union’s payroll. The union spent $17,600 in member dues money in 2010 for use of a corporate apartment in Detroit by Faville and her family members, even though the local union is currently $1.7 million in debt.

Yesterday’s election covered approximately 100 technical employees, including Radiology Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, Surgical Technologists, Ultrasound Technologists and Vascular Technologists.