Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Baaaack...

Upon my return, I suppose it is incumbent upon me to note some items of past interest:

1. Hawkins - another close NUHW loss. It appears that NUHW was placing much of its effort on Fresno (the campaigns were occurring simultaneously) and as a result SEIU was able to eke out another close victory. Once again, SEIU put out a premature victory statement with a wildly exaggerated number of "voters" supporting their cause, and this statement (much like the premature Fresno victory celebration) also represented an overestimation of SEIU support to the tune of roughly 60%. Even with this "overestimation" of SEIU support, NUHW was not able to bridge the gap. Like Fresno, the CalPERB has not certified the Hawkins vote because of objections filed by NUHW regarding the conduct of Zombie UHW during that vote. The SEIU folks are taking Hawkins as kind of a "any victory is a victory", as well they should. Memo to NUHW and its supporters - there is a maxim in politics that holds just as true in union elections: If you're explaining, you're losing. It's now getting to the point for NUHW that "moral" victories are no longer going to be enough.

2. Natividad - it appears that NUHW has (temporarily) withdrawn its petition for representation at Salinas' Natividad Medical Center.
In a letter to Assistant County Administrative Officer Keith Honda, NUHW consultant Sergio Sanchez blamed the decision to withdraw the petition on the lack of an agreement with the county on how the election would be conducted. He cited a "delay" by the county in providing employee contact information and a relative lack of access to employees in their workplaces that "placed NUHW at a disadvantage" in its effort to replace SEIU.
I would interpret that to mean that the SEIU 521 team got caught seriously off-guard in the "crest" of the fervor for NUHW back in February and March, but quickly moved themselves to be able to counter NUHW's moves, and basically got their act together. Whether or not the Natividad petitioners will try again remains to be seen - they were making hopeful noises in the MPH article - but it appears that things on the Central Coast are going to remain status quo for the time being.

3. Did Andy Stern and SEIU get its ass kicked by the UNITE/HERE convention or what? About the only people who will publicly stand with SEIU right now are people who are fully bought-and-paid-for by SEIU. Unfortunately for those of us who believe in union democracy, a bunch of those individuals are currently employed by John Q. Public and have their offices located on Capitol Hill. The article by Cal Winslow on the UNITE/HERE convention did suggest that there have been some feelers between NUHW and UNITE/HERE - there seems to be a synergy there, and it was the NUHW leadership (then with the former SEIU Local 250) who got Kaiser to continue coverage of UNITE/HERE Local 2 strikers during a long-term hotel strike in San Francisco, and Mike Casey (the president of Local 2) is an old-school union guy who believes in standing firm with past allies.

4. On the day that NUHW held a protest in front of the NLRB office in Oakland, the Zombies decided to put out a presser - described by some of their partisans as a "SMOKING GUN!!!11!!!eleventy!!!" that proves the nefarious nature of anything and everything NUHW. Unfortunately for the Zombies, the material in that presser was composed of lawyer-client correspondence discovered in the lawsuit that SEIU filed against UHW prior to the trusteeship. This evidence was so compelling that the judge in that case decided to dismiss the case on a motion of the defendants (Rosselli et al.) because the SEIU suit had no law on which to base its claim. This of course did not stop the Zombies from piecing together a four-page bleat to Congress, claiming that material already dismissed by a judge as not being sufficient in fact to prevail in a defendant-filed MSJ (a situation in which evidence to the defending party - SEIU - is to be seen in the most favorable light) should now be sufficient to maintain the blocking actions at NLRB. Links to the Zombie letter to Congress can be found here...

Word to the Zombies - when you're fixing to let fly with a Smoking Gun memo, next time try to make sure your "smoking gun" isn't a pop-gun...

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