Losses for the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) are mounting as the troubled union, to avoid certain defeat, withdrew from the second hospital union election in two weeks. NUHW’s withdrawal means that in the last two years, 97 percent of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)’s 150,000 members have chosen to remain in SEIU-UHW.
On January 11, NUHW withdrew from the union election among 900 healthcare workers at Daughters of Charity’s Seton Medical Center in Daly City and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach scheduled for January 13 and 14. On January 6, NUHW withdrew from the union election among more than 200 healthcare workers at Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo.
“For 60 years, Seton management has come and gone and our union, SEIU-UHW, has remained. We won a hard long fight for a great contract in this difficult economy with our unity,” said Edna Quiambao, Food Service Aide at Seton Medical Center in Daly City. “With our contract and our unity, NUHW quit rather than facing defeat. With Seton facing deep financial troubles, we, the employees can count on our contract and our SEIU-UHW unity just like the last 60 years.”
For caregivers at Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside, NUHW’s defeat means they will continue to enjoy the benefits of the SEIU-UHW contract they negotiated last year, including raises of up to 20% over 3 years.
With this election, SEIU-UHW members in California’s largest hospital systems have chosen overwhelmingly to remain in SEIU-UHW, including at four Daughters of Charity and all five Sutter hospitals where workers have been asked to make a choice. At Kaiser Permanente, the state’s largest health system, 92% of employees decided in elections last year to stay in SEIU-UHW.
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.
Since its creation two years ago, NUHW has failed to win a single contract for any of the roughly 6,000 workers it now represents.