Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The CHW Redemption

"Put your faith in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to SEIU."

It looks like CHW employees are going to be prisoners in SEIU's Hotel California for at least the next three years or so...

A new union attempting to lure workers at Catholic Healthcare West to leave Service Employees International Union and join its fold cannot call for elections because a current contract is in place, according to a Tuesday ruling by the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers, formed Jan. 28, the day after SEIU took control of its aggressive California local, United Healthcare Workers West. Within days, the new union filed petitions calling for new union elections to be held at CHW and other employers.

Joseph Norelli, regional director in the San Francisco office of the NLRB, sent a letter to NUHW executive Tuesday announcing dismissal of the petition for new elections at CHW, parent company to local Mercy hospitals.

A binding contract is in place that covers 14,000 employees at 30 facilities statewide, he states. UHW reached a tentative agreement with CHW on Oct. 12, and union officials announced Oct. 31 it had been ratified by workers.

Final details were discussed following ratification and the union and employer signed a “settlement agreement” Jan. 28, Norelli states in his ruling.

While not surprising, this is definitely somewhat disappointing for NUHW partisans.

Quite frankly, it sucks that workers in the CHW system are going to be stuck in a union that they do not support, and which had to take legal action in order to keep them in the SEIU fold.

It is to be hoped that after the "contract bar" provision timeline runs out (give-or-take in October of 2011), NUHW will be allowed to file a "timely" petition, and will be able to once and for all escape the SEIU Prison.

Here's the elegant part for the Purple Plague, though: One of the first things that they did when they trusteed UHW was to suspend the UHW Constitution and By-Laws. A major feature of those By-Laws was that contracts were subject to ratificaition of the entire membership. With the UHW Constitution now null and void, the rules by which work rules are carried out now revert to the SEIU Constitution, which makes no such provision. SEIU can revise and extend contracts by fiat as long as they have the support of management, and there's nothing the rank-and-file can do except to toss all unions out for one year. Nice.

This is an open challenge to any and all SEIU partisans who may be reading this blog - explain to us all here exactly why anyone should willingly remain in SEIU after all that has gone on in California?

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