SEIU Mounts Offensive Against New California Health Workers Union
The Service Employees International Union is ratcheting up efforts to impede a rival startup union from siphoning off its California membership, the Los Angeles Times reports (Pringle, Los Angeles Times, 6/24).
In January, SEIU took over the Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers-West and removed Sal Rosselli as its president.
After the takeover, Rosselli and other former UHW leaders helped form a new union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (California Healthline, 2/27).
NUHW Gains Ground
Since the formation of the new union, tens of thousands of SEIU members have signed petitions asking to be represented by NUHW.
The new union also has successfully petitioned for three elections outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. NUHW defeated SEIU by a large margin in the first election, but narrowly lost in the second. The third election is currently under way.
Tomorrow, officials will count votes from additional elections at a Hollister hospital and two nursing homes.
SEIU Pushes Back
SEIU has filed legal challenges to about 80 NUHW petitions and is moving to block upcoming organizing elections at clinics, hospitals and nursing homes throughout California.
SEIU President Andy Stern said his organization has a legal obligation to contest the elections because NUHW's leaders violated labor laws. He alleged that the new group stalled employer negotiations to keep contracts open and raid SEIU's membership.
SEIU also has filed unfair-practice charges with NLRB, claiming that NUHW coerced workers when preparing to split from SEIU. In addition, SEIU claims the new union is illegal because it is "dominated by employers."In response, NUHW is filing charges claiming that SEIU is colluding with employers to defeat the new union (Los Angeles Times, 6/24). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.