Workers at Watsonville and Hazel Hawkins hospitals petition to quit SEIU and join NUHW

NewsApril 6, 2009

Watsonville, Calif.—A majority of the 200 healthcare workers at Watsonville Community Hospital and 160 at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital have filed petitions for elections to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). They say they’re joining NUHW to stay united with workers at more than 360 healthcare facilities across the state who are fleeing the scandal-plagued SEIU.

“An overwhelming majority of us have signed petitions to choose NUHW as our union.” said Butch Cole, a surgery tech at Watsonville for 19 years. “We need a union we can trust, where we have a voice to stand up for ourselves and our patients.”

Since NUHW was founded by union reformers just two months ago, more than 95,000 SEIU members have flocked to join NUHW for a stronger voice in on the job and a more democratic voice in their union.

SEIU has mounted an increasingly desperate effort to stop workers from leaving, stalling elections with legal challenges, working with employers to threaten and discipline union members at work, and sending union staff into healthcare facilities to try to stop workers from organizing with NUHW.

“SEIU staff have been calling us constantly and harassing us at our homes to try to get us to stay with them,” said Cole. “Hopefully now they’ll get the message: we’re through with SEIU’s backroom deals and sellout contracts. NUHW is the union led by healthcare workers, for healthcare workers.”

Watsonville caregivers filed their petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday. Workers at Hazel Hawkins filed theirs with the California Public Employment Relations Board last Monday.


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.