California Nurses Union Draws Fire for Efforts at Hospitals in Nevada
The California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union are squaring off over the right to represent nurses at three hospitals in Reno, Nev., raising the prospect for wider discord between the two unions, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
CNA last week submitted a petition from several hundred nurses at three St. Rose Dominican hospitals in Reno, Nev., that are seeking to leave their current union, SEIU, which is in the midst of an internal disagreement.
SEIU has filed a complaint with AFL-CIO that accuses CNA of violating the labor federation's anti-raiding laws, arguing that the nurses already have union representation.
CNA's efforts come amid infighting between SEIU's international president, Andy Stern, and the union's United Healthcare Workers West unit leader, Sal Rosselli. The leaders are battling over how to increase the union's growth, with Rosselli accusing Stern of promoting a "growth at any cost" strategy.
CNA leaders said the recent criticism of Stern from within his own union reveals the need for an alternative union. CNA supporters also said recent contract failings and increases in health care premiums for some St. Rose nurses are the results of changes negotiated by an SEIU local in California.
However, SEIU Nevada Executive Director Jane McAlevey said that since 2004, the union has won enforceable staffing ratios, a fully employer-paid health plan option and retiree health benefit contracts for St. Rose nurses.
McAlevey added that the CNA petition is a "sideshow" and said that she was confident SEIU would win in an election if one is held (Cook/Mishak, Las Vegas Sun, 4/1).