Hundreds of Workers at Prime Healthcare’s Garden Grove Hospital Stay United in SEIU-UHW

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Brennan, 323-888-8183

Workers Want Strong Union to Hold Prime Healthcare Accountable to Patients, Community
GARDEN GROVE, CA – More than 300 workers at the Prime Healthcare-owned Garden Grove Hospital in Orange County have voted to remain in the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), handing another loss to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The vote was 119 for SEIU-UHW to 98 for NUHW, with 5 voting no union.
“In SEIU-UHW, we’re working together to hold hospitals and other healthcare providers accountable for quality healthcare,” said Cesar Merea, a medical records worker at Garden Grove Hospital. “We voted to remain in our union to improve conditions for healthcare workers and patients at our hospital and others operated by Prime Healthcare.”
The union at Garden Grove Hospital grew in size with this election as a new group of employees in the environmental services department voted to join SEIU-UHW.
This is the second union election at a Prime Healthcare hospital where workers voted to stay in SEIU-UHW. In March, Prime Centinela Hospital Medical Center workers in Inglewood not only defeated NUHW but stood up to an intensive campaign by Prime to discourage workers from remaining in their union.
SEIU-UHW members at Prime Healthcare hospitals have been standing up for patients, caregivers, and our communities by exposing Prime’s business practices. Prime is now the target of state and federal investigations over its Medicare billing practices, unusually high rates of septicemia, and patient malnutrition rates. More about Prime.
This election is just the latest setback for NUHW since its founding more than two years ago. After 28 months and multiple strikes, NUHW has yet to negotiate a single contract for any hospital worker, and many of the workers they represent have faced a series of cutbacks and layoffs.
NUHW was created by former SEIU-UHW officials who were removed from office for misusing millions in union funds and violating members’ democratic rights. In April 2010, a federal jury ordered NUHW and its leaders to pay a combined $1.57 million in damages to the members of SEIU-UHW.

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