Union Dispute Could Cramp Labor Spending on Upcoming Elections
Heightened tensions between the Service Employees International Union and the California Nurses Association have resulted in SEIU instructing local chapters to stop paying dues to state and local labor umbrella organizations in protest of what SEIU has characterized as poaching by CNA, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The move could cost labor central committees millions of dollars before the June 3 legislative primaries in California and the presidential election in November.
The instructions for withholding funding came after CNA representatives went to an SEIU event in Ohio last month where SEIU was attempting to organize 8,000 hospital nurses.
Tom DeBruin, a vice president of SEIU, said CNA's efforts at the event were "just an outrageous outright union-busting attempt."
However, CNA President Deborah Burger said her organization was "explaining to nurses that there were other options" and accused SEIU of striking a deal with employers that will not benefit union members.
Sal Rosselli, president of SEIU's United Healthcare Workers-West, said withheld dues could total $15 million. Rosselli also said he is "opposed to any union-raiding," but that he disagreed with the withholding decision and said it interferes with union activism (Goldmacher, Sacramento Bee, 4/17).
Meanwhile, CNA on Wednesday obtained a temporary restraining order against SEIU, after accusing the union of harassing its board members, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of CNA, accused SEIU members and staff last week of stalking CNA board members at their homes.
Lynda Tran, a spokesperson for SEIU, said union organizers have been driving a nurse and respiratory nurse therapist to CNA board members' homes to express their disapproval of the association's tactics in Ohio.
The restraining order requires SEIU President Andy Stern to appear at a hearing at Alameda County Superior Court on May 1 (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 4/17).