Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SEIU Now Fighting in Sonoma County...

Give the Purple Plague credit - they evidently know how to keep themselves in the news - even if it is for the entirely wrong reason.

Another front in SEIU's systemwide rear guard action is opening up at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, as reported upon by the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat:
Sonoma County’s three big hospitals are becoming battlegrounds in a war that has erupted between the powerful Service Employees International Union and a breakaway union that says it has the support of thousands of local health care workers.

The rival union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, commonly referred to as NUHW, was formed by leaders from an Oakland-based healthcare workers’ local affiliated with SEIU.

The service employees union has begun sending in representatives from other regions to help stem the tide of defectors taking up the banner of the competing labor group.

Gumecindo Gonzales, a phlebotomist and NUHW supporter who has been part of the organizing effort at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for five years, said he’s getting ready for an onslaught of SEIU troops.

“They’re at the post right now with all these other union organizers from other states,” said Gonzales, who once supported the Oakland group, the United Healthcare Workers West, SEIU’s second-largest California local.

Gonzales, a member of a statewide committee organizing workers at St. Joseph Health System facilities, said NUHW organizers are seeking to represent 750 non-nursing positions at Memorial that that include medical technicians and cleaning and support staff.

SEIU officials say Gonzales, along with former organizers and current stewards from the Oakland local, is waging a campaign to undermine SEIU’s representation in Sonoma County. The campaign, they say, threatens existing union contracts at Sutter Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and sets back years of organizing efforts at Memorial Hospital.
The only threat to those contracts is the fact that NUHW might actually better them and make you in the Purple Plague look like the corporate sellouts that you are, but I digress...
“The process is in place for stewards who do not support this union to not remain in this union,” said Pete Janhunen, a spokesman for the SEIU local.

“The idea that people want to found a union by destroying a union and preventing workers from negotiating a positive contract is absurd,” he said.
Objection, Your Honor, facts not in evidence: I'm still looking for someone, anyone, to point out where exactly SEIU has actually negotiated a 'positive contract.' The former leadership of UHW now in NUHW has a 20-year history of positive contracts. SEIU has a 20-year history of givebacks and whining when they don't get their way.

Oh, well. I could go on, but read the article, and join the attached discussion.

Also see the article in the NorthBay edition of the Business Journal for more reporting on the NUHW movement in Sonoma County.

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