SEIU To Shift 70K Workers Out of United Healthcare Workers West
The largest health care workers union in California is planning to move nearly half of the members of United Healthcare Workers West to a separate local chapter focused on nursing homes and home care, the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" reports.
Details of Transition
UHW President Dave Regan said the Service Employees International Union in May announced it would cut about 70,000 home care workers from UHW, moving them to a separate local chapter.
After the cuts, UHW -- which currently represents about 150,000 workers in California -- will be left with about 80,000 hospital and clinic service workers, according to "Bay Area BizTalk."
The new SEIU Local 2015 chapter will include more than 280,000 members and will focus on nursing home and home care, making it the largest long-term care workers' union in the U.S., according to SEIU officials.
Creation of the new chapter is slated to begin this month, "Bay Area BizTalk" reports.
In a statement about the transition, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, "SEIU has begun the process of uniting all long-term care members in California into one strong union with one clear goal."
However, in a leaked memo, Regan called the decision a "massive betrayal" and said it was "malicious and undertaken with the full knowledge that the interests of California health care workers are being sacrificed to the political needs" of SEIU (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 6/17).
NUHW Criticizes Deal Between Kaiser, SEIU-UHW
In related news, the National Union of Healthcare Workers said it plans on Thursday to file a complaint with state officials over an agreement between Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
According to "Capitol Alert," the code of conduct section of a three-year deal between SEIU-UHW and Kaiser aims to spur shared authority between the union and hospitals. The provision, which allows for criticism of union and hospital policies, bars the union and Kaiser hospitals from making personal attacks or "instigating or supporting ... adverse action by any branch of government" against the other.
NUHW alleges that the deal goes too far and prohibits workers from reporting patient-care violations, amounting to "a far-reaching gag clause."
However, SEIU-UHW spokesperson Steve Trossman called the complaint "just another attempt [by a competitor] to smear UHW." He added, "The agreement that we have in no way gags members from speaking out on any issue that they were to see in a hospital or hospital system that signed the agreement with us" (Ortiz, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/17).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.