SEIU Wins Showdown To Represent Kaiser Health Workers in California
On Thursday, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West won an election to continue representing about 43,000 Kaiser Permanente health care workers in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The battle between SEIU and the upstart National Union of Healthcare Workers was the largest private-sector union showdown since 1941 (Pringle, Los Angeles Times, 10/8).
In 2009, SEIU officials assumed trusteeship of UHW and removed its leaders amid disagreements over organizing and representing workers. The former UHW leaders then started NUHW, and the two unions have competed for members since the split (California Healthline, 8/2).
SEIU represents aboutÂ two million workers, while NUHW represents about 5,700 (Los Angeles Times, 10/8).
The election to represent Kaiser workers took place during a three-week period of mail-in voting (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/8).Â
SEIU-UHW secured 18,290 votes to defeat NUHW, which received 11,364 votes (Los Angeles Times, 10/8).
SEIU's victory will allow it to retain control of more than $40 million in annual membership fees (Hananel, AP/Ventura County Star, 10/7).
Labor experts say SEIU still will face challenges following the Kaiser victory, partially because the group spent millions of dollars during the union election.
John Logan -- professor and director of labor studies at San Francisco State University -- said the election was damaging to the finances and reputations of both SEIU and NUHW (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/8).
NUHW To Challenge Results
Officials from NUHW say they plan to petition the federal government to overturn the election results and schedule another vote. NUHW claims that SEIU used improper tactics to intimidate employees.
SEIU denies the allegations (Los Angeles Times, 10/8).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.