Vote on Merger of Health Care Unions Sparks Controversy in California
Health care workers represented by the Service Employees International Union will vote on a proposal to consolidate three local unions, but the issue has drawn opposition from some labor leaders, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The proposal would affect:
- United Healthcare Workers-West, based in Oakland;
- SEIU Local 521, based in San Jose; and
- SEIU Local 6434, based in Los Angeles.
Members are being asked whether they would prefer a 300,000-member local representing all SEIU-affiliated California health care workers or a slightly smaller 220,000-member local representing long-term health care workers.
Voting runs through Dec. 11.
Results of the vote will not be binding, and the international's board will make the final decision on whether to restructure the locals.Â
The vote come as SEIU wrapped up hearing this week into allegations that a leader of UHW misused members' dues to oppose the proposed merger. UHW leaders have voiced strong opposition to the proposed merger.
SEIU officials accused UHW of lying about the purpose of its $3 million United Health Care Workers and Patents Education Fund.
UHW maintains the fund was meant for a political campaign dealing with health care reform but acknowledged that the local spent $100,000 to publicize UHW's internal vote.
UHW President Sal Rosselli and other union leaders maintain that the proposed merger is intended to eliminate opposition among leaders of unions under the SEIU umbrella.SEIU President Andy Stern said the consolidation helps members organize and gives them more fuel in negotiations with international corporations and state governments (Larrubia, Los Angeles Times, 11/24). 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.