Thursday, May 28, 2009

If Kaiser Thinks NUHW Has Forgotten About Them...

...they're WRONG. Here's the lowdown on Wednesday afternoon's protest against the Kaiser facility in Stockton...
More than 100 Kaiser Permanente employees took to the hot sidewalks surrounding the health care provider's massive West Lane complex Wednesday afternoon to protest what they say are Kaiser's unfair attempts to stop them from organizing and joining a new union.

The red T-shirt-clad demonstrators - medical assistants, licensed vocational nurses, radiology technicians, member services employees and others - want to leave their existing union - SEIU-UHW, the Oakland-based local of the Service Employees International Union - and vote to join a new group, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, or NUHW.

Kaiser, in a statement handed out to some of its 165,000 county members who visited its campus Wednesday, said it "is not a party in this dispute. We have not, and cannot, take sides in this matter, or any disagreement between unions."

Kaiser spokesman Rob Veneski said, "NUHW does not represent any Kaiser Permanente employees, and it appears that the activity (Wednesday in Stockton) is part of a dispute between NUHW and SEIU-UHW, a union that represents more than 50,000 KP employees in California."

Memo to Kaiser spokesflack Rob Veneski: When you make it almost impossible for people to stop their automatic dues deductions, you are taking a side in the matter. When you have HR reps escorting people in NUHW colors to their appointments even though they are on the campus in their own time and not Kaiser time, you are taking a side in the matter. When you deny the right to vote on union membership to an absolute majority of your union covered employees, and force those employees to sit and wait for an arbitrary deadline - and then meet with SEIU bargainers without approval or vote of the people they are supposed to represent, you are taking a side in the matter.

NUHW supporters such as Robert Nevarez and Tamika Edwards, both longtime Stockton Kaiser employees, expressed sadness in the way they say Kaiser has treated them since they started standing up for the new union and said they no longer want to be represented by SEIU-UHW. They disputed Kaiser's statement.

"We strongly disagree that Kaiser is neutral in this. We are forced to pay dues - $72.90 a month - to SEIU, a union that is not working in the best interest of the worker. We're here to make sure everybody knows about it," said Nevarez, a medical assistant for 10 years. He said Kaiser has not allowed him to withhold his automatic dues payment to SEIU-UHW from his paycheck, despite several attempts to do so, citing federal rules.

"We used to take pride in the labor management partnership between Kaiser and the union, but that has gone away," said Edwards, who has worked in member services for nine years.

This is an aspect to the Kaiser story that is going very much unreported, in that a lot of goodwill was built up between the rank-and-file and management through the Labor Management Partnership, but the LMP was unilaterally tossed on the ash heap the second that Zombie UHW took over, because the Zombies cannot be bothered with such fripperies, and management was evidently jonesing on a way to get out of the LMP - and true to their nature, the Zombies made it easy on management.

"They do pride themselves on being the best place to work, the best place for care. They should have stayed neutral, because now that's no longer true. The patient ultimately suffers," Edwards said.

NUHW activist Jeff Taylor, a five-year Kaiser employee, said the Kaiser Stockton workplace has become "very chaotic. Kaiser is mistreating its workers and not protecting their rights. It is favoring SEIU, because SEIU won't fight for better wages and worker rights. We just want Kaiser to back off workers and let us organize. They should not be breathing down our backs."

Taylor said the NUHW has the support of more than 80 percent of Stockton's 800-plus union workers.

It remains to be seen whether Kaiser's short-term gains will involve long-term pains.
SEIU-UHW spokesman Pete Janhunen said the relationship between his union and Kaiser is healthy and very effective, and the NUHW has yet to prove it has any support beyond those who came out Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate.
Tell ya what, Pete: Give those folks down in Stockton the chance to vote the matter, and you will see just how much support NUHW is proven to have.

I'll let Mr. Pete Janhunen in on a little secret, though - when you have to use parliamentary tricks in order to prevent a vote, then you can pretty much bet that it is your side that hasn't proven its level of support.


  1. How might NUHW "prove it has any support beyond those who came out Wednesday"? Would majority sign-up on a petition be good enough for Pete Janhunen? What do you think, Pete? I'm sure you read this blog.

  2. Amen to that. Treatment of NUHW supporters is not much better at Walnut Creek. Kaiser claims they are neutral, but as pointed out above, their actions prove otherwise.

  3. Kaiser talks neutrality but behind the scenes it has undermined LMP by supporting unelected and uninformed SEIU outsiders on LMP committees. These SEIU operators replaced trusted representatives who have been fired from their democratically elected positions by SEIU with Kaiser's backing. The decisions of these puppet LMP committees are elicit.
    Kaiser has reported employees who have had due stopped to SEIU. Kaiser is making deals with SEIU that have hurt front-line workers. Both Kaiser and SEIU are in bed together. They have forfeited any moral authority to carry out LMP vision. Kaiser has made a costly long term strategic error in favor of some near-term gains in upcoming contract negotiations. Kaiser's betrayal is undoing years of hard work and good will in building LMP.

  4. I think all Kaiser's had it's own problems, but in Modesto we became like a family. All the managers and the shop stewards actually came together and for once started to listen to each other. The LMP actually started to work.
    We had so many different issues with our phones, floating, and just in general alot of daily issues so we started coming together once a month for a general nursing meeting for the LMP. Again, things were coming together.
    So lets sum this up....
    1. Everything is going really well under Sal's control.
    2. Pschyo Ba bo wack wack Andy Stearn thinks that he is the main character of the book...
    3. Kaiser takes the side of Mr. Pschyo Ba bo Wack wack Andy Stearn and screws us all.

    HMM... So, we as the Kaiser employees who have put everything into our jobs has gotten what out of this???

    At this time, Kaiser has just layed off 1600 people. SEIU has just asked us to stand up with them to picket against Kaiser... I am giving SEIU my middle finger...

    Picket with a union that I don't trust, that I don't agree with, that I can't stand even being around, that I feel is their fault I am even in that position in the first place. So if I picket at all... It will be wearing a red shirt that says NUHW and it will be walking toward them in front of Kaiser building that says something to the fact that Psycho Ba bo wack wack Andy Stern is a fraud and a reject, and he needs to GO!!! Stern is a worm... a flea... a leach... pond scum... worse..

    He deserves to be OUT!!! We are going to CRUSH him when we vote next year... ANDY STEARN I hope you are ready...

    So SEIU wants us to stand up and picket against Kaiser well... lets just say... I will be right beside them picketing of course...

    ONLY in a red shirt.. picketing against SEIU... against ANDY STERN ... believe us from Modesto we will let our voice be heard... we are

    L O U D


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