Friday, March 27, 2009

Zombie UHW Bails Out of Decert Vote at SD-Rady

Showing that glowing confidence that comes with the knowledge that you are doing the Right Thing for your members, Zombie UHW decided to withdraw from a decertification vote, rather than face the consequences of that vote...

The union that won a protracted battle to represent 750 service workers at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego withdrew this week to avoid potential defeat in a decertification vote.

Its move means that any union wishing to represent the employees – who include housekeepers, secretaries, janitors and cafeteria staffers – will have to start the certification process from scratch, labor officials said.

Wages and benefits for the workers will remain as they were under a now-defunct contract between the hospital and the Service Employees International Union, Rady spokesman Ben Metcalf said.

But there's no longer a guarantee of 4 percent annual raises, he said. Instead, the employees will qualify for an annual merit raise awarded on a sliding scale of up to 6 percent.

The SEIU pullout could bring a period of peace to the hospital after years of pitched conflict that often wedged workers between union leaders driven to expand their reach in San Diego County and Rady administrators bent on defeating the effort.

You would think that there is a rather large piece of information missing from the above section of the article - you know, something to do with the trusteeship? But I digress...

“I hope we're able to take back our hospital and give management a chance to manage us,” said Sally James, a clinical assistant and former member of the bargaining unit.

SEIU began its campaign to organize some of the lowest-paid employees at the hospital in 2004, and those workers quickly voted for collective-bargaining representation. But Rady administrators launched a protracted challenge over the union's legal status.

The fight led to three votes by the workers for union representation. Negotiations to establish a labor contract took several more years.

Weeks before the contract was signed, James and other union opponents started circulating a decertification petition that eventually gained enough signatures to force a vote.

However, the balloting was delayed for nearly two years because the union filed charges of unfair labor practices against the hospital.

In February, the union's leaders and Rady administrators agreed to schedule a decertification election for yesterday and today.

Hmmm. What changed in UHW between 2004 and February of 2009? Anyone? Bueller???

Those plans were derailed Tuesday when SEIU notified federal labor officials that it was withdrawing representation from the hospital.

Fear of losing the vote played a major role in the decision, said Keisha Stewart, deputy trustee of SEIU's United Healthcare Workers local, which oversaw the bargaining unit.

"FEAR OF LOSING"?!?!? WTF kind of union punks out of a vote because of "fear of losing"? How about one that no longer enjoys the support of its membership?

“It was kind of sparing them the heartache of going through an election that they may not have won,” she said. The move also denied administrators the advantages that would have come with a victory over the union, she said.

“We want to set it up so that we can go back in there and organize,” Stewart said. “We're committed to do that.”

Well, Keisha, you certainly are "committed" all right - or at least you should be if you think that Zombie UHW is going to be able to do anything at Rady in the future except to throw rocks at the signage. When you and your "union" ran away and abandoned 750 workers to the good graces of the management at Rady, you took with it any shred of dignity or respect those people may have had for UHW. Almost five years of good work was destroyed in the space of two months, and now the UHW toehold in SD county is, for all intents and purposes, gone.

Nowhere is it mentioned in the article that the union leadership who has fought beside the UHW-covered workers at Rady, and who stood by them and shepherded them through multiple org drives and votes, were basically tossed out on their asses in January in favor of Stern-selected milquetoasts.

Let me be clear about this to every person now currently stuck in Zombie UHW: Whenever Zombie UHW thinks it will lose a fight, Zombie UHW will run away.

SEIU supporters: Again, I ask you, in light of the evidence presented in the story above, why should we who are stuck in Zombie UHW be content with that?

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