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NUHW fight with SEIU still going strong

Cross Posted from the NUHW web site. The NUHW is the new Union breaking away from the SEIU in California.
The NUHW feels that SEIU has denied Union representation to the members and given up on good contracts in favor of growing the Union at all costs.

SEIU says that all health care professionals would be better served by being in one Union. So far in nearly every election NUHW has won overwhelming support of the employees even if the National Labor Relations Board has ruled against the new Union in most cases, stating that a new Union must wait until near the end of any existing contract.

Healthcare workers join NUHW in first election

Caregivers at Doctors Medical Center overwhelmingly reject SEIU in first election since almost 100,000 petitioned to join the National Union of Healthcare workers

San Pablo, Calif.—In an overwhelming victory for California healthcare workers’ movement to take back their union, nearly 300 caregivers at Doctors Medical Center won an election to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and reject the SEIU. Workers mailed secret ballots to California’s Public Employment Relations Board, which certified today that more than 83 percent chose NUHW. The count was 158 for NUHW, 24 for SEIU, and 7 for No Union.

“We’re so excited to be in control of our own union again,” said Duka Ristic, an ultrasonographer at the hospital for eight years. “NUHW is led by the local healthcare workers and leaders we know and trust, who helped us raise standards for our patients and keep our community’s hospital open.”

After national SEIU officials staged a hostile takeover of California’s healthcare union in January, nearly 100,000 caregivers petitioned to quit the scandal-plagued SEIU and form their own independent union.

SEIU officials responded by filing hundreds of frivolous charges with state and federal labor boards to delay elections at more than 360 facilities. So-called “blocking charges” are a tactic commonly used by employers and union-busting consultants to stall elections by taking advantage of the weakness of federal labor law. SEIU officials used the delay to wage a months-long campaign to harass and intimidate union activists.

While the National Labor Relations Board has so far failed to protect workers’ right to vote in fair and timely elections, California’s Public Employment Relations Board has begun scheduling elections for public service healthcare workers. Next month, workers at Hazel Hawkins Hospital in Hollister as well as Fresno County homecare workers will have their chance to vote.

“SEIU’s attacks have only made us stronger and more committed than ever to joining a union that is on our side,” Ristic said. “Our union, NUHW, is a democratic union by and for healthcare workers. This a great day for us.”

Does this have anything to do with Maine? You be the judge.

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May 21st, 2009 Posted by narsbars | nuhw, seiu fight | no comments

Saving Union Jobs, Saving Taxpayer Dollars

The picture has nothing to do with anything. I like it.

This is a cross post from SEIU 1000 in Califooorneeeyaa. Sorry Arnold. In California the SEIU has taken a hit, but they kept the State from taking everything. They DiD make layoff protections and seniority rights better. These are tough times, China says they will be the world leader in the production of electric cars in three years. Congress wants to pay bankers and crucify Unions. In Maine we need to look to the SEIU in California as a model (including the NUHW).
Get involved or get run over

Public Health drops outsourcing plans
Department to fill 53 positions
instead of contracting out

Updated 9:00 a.m., April 1

Bowing to pressure from Local 1000, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has dropped its efforts to outsource civil service work in four separate contracts worth a total of $3.8 million. The DPH decision comes as a result of Local 1000’s two-year campaign against wasteful private contracting that costs taxpayers more than performing the work in-house. Since 2006, Local 1000 has challenged dozens of state contracts and won more than 80 percent of our challenges. Outsourcing raises costs “This is a huge win for us – the department changed its policy because we have proven that it is not cost-effective for the state to hire private contractors,” said Marie Harder, a senior information systems analyst in the Department of Public Health. “It looks like DPH is finally starting to get it and learn not to waste taxpayer money on contracts when state workers can do a better job for less.” The news came as DPH made a budget request to the state Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services on March 19. The budget request, delayed during February’s budget battle, was to hire state workers to perform work that previously was scheduled to go to private contractors, including an information technology contract and a janitorial contract in Richmond. In both those cases, Local 1000 challenged the contracts and they were overturned by the State Personnel Board. Avoid future litigation The DPH budget request cited Local 1000’s successful challenges and said “in order to respond to the State Personnel Board’s ruling and to mitigate any future litigation, the DPH came forward with” a proposal to hire state employees to perform that work at a lower cost. The agency said it planned to fill 53 new positions with state employees instead of contractors..

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April 3rd, 2009 Posted by narsbars | SEIU 1989, furlough days, nuhw | no comments

Elected NUHW Stewards being removed from office by SEIU

I am not taking any sides, I try to present the story in the old way, the facts should speak for themselves. You the reader, are the best judge.

The SEIU is “firing” Stewards and Member contract specialists, elected by their members, from elected office.

The members of the UHW have had card signings at over three hundred sites and voted overwhelmingly to leave the SEIU. They want to form the New UHW, but since NLRB rules don’t allow a decertification petition until just before a contract expiry, they can not decertify until 2010 there is no legal NUHW even if a hundred thousand members think they belong to a new Union.

I don’t think this is going away, California Union members are “fired up, and ready to go” it looks as if they are gearing up for the long haul.

This is not going to come out well for organized labor unless both sides talk. From this side of the country it looks like the members of UHW have been trying for a long time. It takes two sides both willing to listen to make a deal. This is all about Andy Stern, can he lead? Can he forge unity or simply try to force compliance?

In California the war between the SEIU and the as yet unrecognized NUHW continues. Stewards are being removed for disagreeing with the appointed heads of their SEIU local.

Many won’t agree but stewards, when elected, agree not to act against their Union, agree not to promote another Union or to act against their Union. Like it or not, the SEIU is currently the legal bargaining agent and has the right to remove stewards for actions against the SEIU.

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April 2nd, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, SEIU, SEIU 1989, Stewards, decertify, member apathy, nuhw | 9 comments

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