Kaiser Healthcare Workers Call for Speedy Election

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Brennan, 323-888-8183
 

While SEIU-UHW members say “Bring it On,”
NUHW attempts legal tricks to avoid second election.

Oakland – Members of SEIU-UHW who work for Kaiser Permanente in California are calling for a speedy re-election to determine union representation for 43,500 healthcare workers.

Dozens of members representing nearly every Kaiser facility in California voted unanimously Tuesday night to support going forward with an election as quickly as possible.

A hearing officer issued a recommendation to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) July 14 that called for a second election for Kaiser workers. In Tuesday’s vote Kaiser workers decided not to appeal the recommendation. The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) had filed objections to the original election after it lost last year’s vote. But now NUHW is seeking to delay a new election despite asking for it.

“Last fall, Kaiser workers made their voices heard loud and clear to stay united in SEIU-UHW,” said Ella Henderson, a nutrition partner at Kaiser Vallejo. “We need a strong, united union and if NUHW didn’t hear us the first time, they will hear us the second time. We voted for SEIU and we will do it again.”

More than 43,500 Kaiser workers overwhelming chose SEIU-UHW in October 2010 by a margin of 18,290 (61%) to 11,364 (37%).

“NUHW is once again putting at risk everything that union members have worked so hard to achieve in last year’s contract–three percent annual raises, fully paid family health insurance, retiree health benefits, pensions, and job security,” said Jackie Bates, who works in the Kaiser call center in Sacramento. “We are getting ready to negotiate a strong contact next year and we will not let NUHW divide us and put our futures in jeopardy.”

On Wednesday, July 27, the NLRB granted NUHW a 15-day extension to file exceptions to the ruling. NUHW has indicated it will appeal the hearing officer’s recommendation to the Labor Board in Washington, D.C., even though it calls for what they asked for – a new election. If granted the request would delay the election, which could be run in four to six weeks if SEIU-UHW, Kaiser, and NUHW agree to move forward. Kaiser informed the Board Tuesday it will not appeal the decision.

“The irony is unbelievable. NUHW acted like sore losers last year and asked for a re-do,” said Darlester (Dollie) Lee, a physical therapy assistant at a Kaiser clinic in Glendale. “They got what they wanted and now they want to delay. It’s just plain disrespectful.”

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