Sunday, January 10, 2010

Move, Countermove

Lost in the noise of the prior week was a Zombie UHW presser, in which they indicated that they would be pressing for elections "as soon as possible" at several facilites throughout Northern California, and which may represent a change in Zombie tactics given their recent spate of losses down south and in Santa Rosa...

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers at 26 California hospitals and nursing homes are seeking elections to join more than 55,000 other union members who have already chosen to stay united in the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), rather than switch to an organization formed by the union's ousted leaders.

The SEIU-UHW members are asking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to schedule the elections as soon as possible so they can continue to improve their jobs and patient care without the distraction of another organization in their facilities.

During the past year, petitions seeking decertification of SEIU-UHW as the workers' union were filed with the NLRB by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), an organization formed by the union's former officials who were ousted in January 2009. SEIU-UHW members filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB that blocked the elections, citing employer abuses and NUHW misconduct that seriously jeopardized workers' rights.

In many places, members have negotiated strong new contracts that lock in raises and benefits for up to three years - improvements that would be put directly at risk if workers were to leave SEIU. In others, NUHW is creating division as contracts are being bargained - a situation that management is trying to take advantage of. Members have decided the time has come to get NUHW out of their affairs and end the division.

"NUHW did nothing but help management as we fought to win strong new contract protections," said Tami Garver, an environmental services worker at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose. "We've spent the last year cleaning up the confusion and mess left by the leadership that was thrown out and now we just want NUHW and their disruption to go away."

"I'm excited that we're finally going to be able to vote for our union - SEIU-UHW - and put the distraction of NUHW behind us," said Sandra Newman, a certified nurse assistant at Sunbridge Heritage Care Center in Stockton, CA.

Note the section in bold up above - these are facilities which have had successful NUHW petition drives, but were delayed by Zombie UHW blocking charges, and the Zombies are now requesting that those blocking charges be vacated such that elections can be conducted "as soon as possible."

Up until now, SEIU has been fighting every election tooth-and-nail. And as such, courtesy of a very compliant NLRB, the elections have been happening very rarely, and certainly only one at a time. This has allowed NUHW to concentrate its organization efforts in relatively few locations - with much greater effectiveness than anybody at SEIU or Zombie UHW are willing to let on in their presser above.

Is SEIU and Zombie UHW now going to try to "flood" out a bunch of elections in the hope of catching NUHW too thin in multiple locations to conduct an effective organization?

And will NLRB now just wave the magic wand and allow these elections to go forward notwithstanding disposition of all these charges SEIU has made - and will NLRB just allow the facilities mentioned above, or will they allow the full content of petitions to go forward?


  1. It seems likely that SEIU is trying to take advantage of their superior resources by getting a bunch of elections filed at once. The problem they're going to encounter is that they don't really have more resources. They certainly have more money but their staff are idiots, so they could put ten thousand "organizers" on every hospital and they'll just trip over each other's shoelaces. They'd be better off focusing the few competent organizers they have on a small number of facilities. On the other hand, if someone is a truly good organizer it's because that person has principles, and if someone has principles they won't stand to work for SEIU very long. So it's damned if you do, etc. for SEIU.

  2. The hypocrite UHW Zombies seem to be completely disoriented and disorganized. Their main weapon appears to be the NLRB which more often than not has sided with SEIU. But if SEIU is changing strategies and is now prepared to have elections in Northern California--elections that they previously cryed foul by filing phony blocking charges with the NLRB, well then so be it. Evidently Andy and his stooges seem to have forgotten that NUHW is very strong in Northern California.

    SEIU: Get ready for another ass kicking!




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