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Are you aware of the SEIU-UHW/NUHW situation?

From UnionMaine: I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes what is happening in the rest of the country doesn’t seem to affect us in Maine.
This blog is aimed at Labor issues and this is probably one of the biggest stories going on in the Labor world at this time. We are in the middle of a fight for the EFCA, accross the country right wing nuts are ready to dump gas on a spark of labor troubles.
The SEIU seems to be refusing to accept what is the basis for the EFCA.

In some locations employees have overwhelmingly signed cards saying that they want to leave SEIU and join the new NUHW (New United Health Care West) union. Representatives of SEIU have refused to accept the “card check” vote. WTF? (Where’s the Freedom?), not what you were thinking.

Are the troubles in California a power grab by local officials or a revolt against SEIU/Andy Stern? We are part of a National organization that is in the middle of a well organized fight for it’s image and tens of thousands of members. This is From the Daily Kos. Read the snippet and follow the link for an interesting story.

NUHW: “Let us Vote!” (Source: The Daily Kos_

Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 07:55:21 PM PDT

In the five weeks since SEIU International trusteed California’s SEIU-UHW West something enormous has transpired: California’s healthcare workers have spoken.

What those workers have said is crystal clear: “We choose NUHW!

A majority of the workers from 350 healthcare facilities…representing over 91,000 California healthcare workers…have petitioned to be represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in just five weeks time. That includes an absolute majority of the 50,000 healthcare workers in California’s Kaiser network of hospitals and clinics. It also includes homecare workers in Fresno County …… That total also includes numerous workers at smaller facilities………..who gathered petitions from an absolute majority of the 500 healthcare workers at their two facilities.

Editor: (I would need proof of the absolute majority claim), a neutral party needs to verify the signatures in the same way the EFCA is would do,with a neutral vote counter and verification of eligibility. So far these are claims, not facts. )

Go Here to the DailyKos for the rest of the story

Go here for the NUHW web site and hear what they have to say.

The SEIU Response

Warning! Don’t Sign Away Your Contract Rights

Be careful about a petition going around that would put our jobs, wages, and benefits at risk.

Our SEIU UHW contract guarantees our:

  • Wages
  • Health benefits
  • Retirement
  • Job security protections
  • Grievance procedures and safeguards

In a bad economy, a strong union contract gives us peace of mind.

Sticking together in SEIU UHW is the best way for us to keep our contract in force, get involved in rebuilding UHW, and stand united with other healthcare workers to win higher standards, improved patient care, and universal healthcare.

We cannot let people divide us. We cannot allow people to confuse the issues. We’ve worked too hard and come too far to give up all that we’ve won with our union. We are the union, and our union is UHW – 140,000 healthcare members strong.

Let’s Not Lose What We’ve Won!
Do not sign petitions to decertify or deauthorize our union. Do not sign cards to revoke your dues. These efforts will only help the bosses and weaken us in this critical moment when we need to stand together to fight the employer.

If we sign the petitions, they will have no obligation to honor our open contracts. If we revoke dues, our union, UHW, won’t have the resources to help members win better contracts, take on employers, or fight for universal healthcare.

It’s time to move past the divisiveness that has prevented us from focusing on what really matters – our contracts, our wages and benefits, our patients, and our communities. With SEIU UHW, we are stronger together.

And in “The Facts for UHW members” SEIU has this to say:

Facts for UHW Members

What is decertification?
Decertification is a legal process for workers to stop being represented by a union.
Once workers are no longer represented by a union, the union contract is no longer in
effect and management no longer has to bargain with the union or recognize union
stewards. The employer can discipline or fire employees for almost any reason. The
employer has no obligation to maintain the wages or benefits in the contract.

What is deauthorization?
Deauthorization is a legal process that means workers do not have to pay union dues
as a condition of their employment. If the union security clause in the contract is
removed, it means the worksite will be like a right-to-work state. If workers vote for
deauthorization of union dues, it sends a message to management that the workers
don’t want to support or back the union.

What is dues revocation?
When individual members revoke their dues authorization cards, it means that they are
telling the employer they don’t want dues deducted from their checks. Individual
members may still have an obligation to pay dues under a union security clause. In
order to make sure that everyone carries their weight, the union may have negotiated
contract language that gives us a right to tell employers to fire employees who do not
want to pay dues.

What happens to our contract if we vote to join another union?
If members vote out UHW and vote in another union, the employer has to bargain with
the new union. The employer does not have to agree to the same contract. The
employer can stall and delay. The employer can tell the new union it wants to cut the
wages and benefits and make lots of changes. If the employer and the new union
cannot reach an agreement and there is an impasse, the employer can implement its
final offer, no matter how bad it is.

What if I signed a card or petition and I changed my mind?
If you signed a dues revocation form, or authorization form for another union, you can
sign back up for UHW. You can sign a new membership card, dues deduction card,
COPE card for UHW. You can also send a letter to UHW saying you want to stay a
member of UHW and don’t want to be a member of another union.

In a bad economy, a strong union contract gives us job security. For more information,
call UHW at 866-660-5235.

What do you think? Is the SEIU in trouble? What would you do to fix it?

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March 14th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | RIGHT TO WORK, SEIU, SEIU 1989, decertification, nuhw, uhcw | 6 comments