Unions Compete for Workers at Good Samaritan Hospital
The United Steelworkers of America union is attempting to unionize the 800 workers at the San Jose-based Good Samaritan Hospital, placing the union in a recruitment "battle" with the Service Employees International Union, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports. SEIU had planned for employees at Good Samaritan, San Jose Medical Center and Regional Medical Center -- all owned by HCA-The Healthcare Co. -- to vote April 25 on joining that union, but the steelworkers' entrance into the competition two weeks ago at Good Samaritan has delayed the vote indefinitely. According to Good Samaritan CEO William Piche, SEIU has a "friendly union-organizing" agreement with HCA that stems from the union's "relationship" with HCA's corporate office in Nashville and from the fact that SEIU has already unionized "several HCA hospitals" around the country. The Business Journal reports that the relationship has created some "mistrust" among Good Samaritan employees who favor joining the steelworkers. However, SEIU supporters say they are concerned that "separating the hospital from the other two HCA hospitals in San Jose" could reduce the workers' bargaining power. The steelworkers' union, which represents 4,000 health care workers in Southern California and 15,000 nationwide, also approached employees at HCA's two other local medical centers, San Jose and Regional, but did not receive "enough interest to move forward." The two unions have asked the AFL-CIO "to decide which union has the right to move forward" with a vote at Good Samaritan. The United Steelworkers has also applied to the National Labor Relations Board to conduct a vote at Good Samaritan (May, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 4/9).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.