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Tuesday, December 3, 2009
After pressure from workers, religious leaders, and the local labor council SEIU agrees to elections.
Santa Rosa, Calif.—Six months after trying to have Union elections the employees at Santa Rosa Memorial hospital get to choose between rival NUHW and SEIU-UHW or to have no Union.
The employees have been trying to form a union with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The National Labor Relations Board today scheduled the union election for Dec. 17 and 18.
SEIU has spent a great time and effort resulting in delays to this election, claiming generally that the election would be unfair to the employees.
On April 13, a majority of the 650 care givers chose NUHW when they filed a petition with the labor board requesting an election to certify NUHW as their union.
According to NUHW, SEIU-UHW twice obstructed the labor board’s process by filing charges that were rejected in the end. SEIU-UHW raised no objections at the November 2 meeting of the labor board and agreed with NUHW and Memorial Hospital on Dec. 17 and 18 for the election.
Negative pressure had mounted recently on SEIU to allow the elections.
On Oct. 1, the North Bay Labor Council urged SEIU-UHW to withdraw from the election
On Oct. 23, fifteen religious leaders from Sonoma County and across the country called on SEIU-UHW to negotiate ground rules with Memorial Hospital and NUHW.
Monsignor John Brenkle, Pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church, penned an op-ed in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat accusing SEIU of “misusing labor law” to deny workers the right to vote and form their union.
At this time SEIU-UHW is refusing to agree to any ground rules for the campaign, including having a neutral umpire. Both NUHW and Memorial Hospital have agreed to meet and negotiate ground rules, but SEIU-UHW Trustee Eliseo Medina has refused to negotiate unless NUHW is excluded.
Medina’s refusal to negotiate fair ground rules “flies in the face of Catholic social teaching and contradicts SEIU’s own national advocacy,” Msgr. Brenkle wrote in the Press Democrat.
SEIU and other unions have long maintained that negotiated ground rules are necessary to allow workers a fair choice, free of harassment and intimidation. Two common rules in such agreements are that all parties must refrain from negative campaigning and use only truthful information.
In the SEIU response SEIU raises concerns over the validity of NUHW as a Union, allegedly missing votes from a previous election, and the conduct and character of the NUHW staff.
With the election date set, caregivers expect SEIU-UHW to escalate their campaign.
NUHW claims, and the NLRB seemingly validates the claim that a majority of the 650 care givers voted for NUHW on April 13, in the petition filed with the NLRB requesting an election to form a union.
This is only one side. SEIU has made serious allegations against NUHW and the former SEIU-UHW staff that run the Union.
Numerous claims of misuse of member funds, misuse of union information, and more hang over the head of the fledgling Union wannabe.