Labor Board May Force Second Election for Kaiser Workers

While SEIU-UHW members have raises, paid healthcare and full pensions locked in through September 2013, NUHW faces major takebacks 18 months after a small group of Kaiser workers voted for them.
OAKLAND – A hearing officer issued a recommendation to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today that could force a second election for Kaiser workers, despite the fact that the officer rejected 115 out of 118 objections to last fall’s Kaiser Permanente union election.
More than 43,500 Kaiser workers overwhelming chose SEIU-UHW in October 2010 by a margin of 18,290 (61%) to 11,364 (37%).

Objections to the election were filed after the vote by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The hearing officer ruled that Kaiser’s decision to deny April 2010 raises to NUHW-represented employees, and SEIU-UHW’s reporting of that fact in election leaflets and materials, were grounds to recommend a new election.
“Nothing can stop SEIU-UHW members from moving forward. Support for SEIU-UHW has only gotten stronger since last fall, especially since NUHW has failed to get a contract for the Kaiser workers they represent and faces major givebacks. If a new election is run we will defeat them by a larger margin than last time,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW.
SEIU-UHW is evaluating whether to appeal the ruling based on Kaiser members’ overwhelming support for SEIU-UHW in last year’s democratic election.
While SEIU-UHW members have guaranteed raises, fully paid family healthcare, and full pensions locked in through September 2013, NUHW is facing major givebacks on all three in contract negotiations for a small group of Kaiser members it represents. NUHW has twice gone on strike to no effect and called off a third strike due to lack of support by its members.
In all, more than 142,000 SEIU-UHW members – 96% – have chosen SEIU-UHW over NUHW since January 2009.
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 SEIU-UHW members.
SEIU – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing union.

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