The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn: Kaiser Workers Choose Rival Union Over SEIU

On January 26, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board announced that health care workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout Southern California voted overwhelmingly to leave the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and to join its newest rival, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The election covered three bargaining units at the large Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center and 90 other facilities in the Southern California region. The overall margin of victory (1,652 to 254) is astonishing:

  • Registered nurses: 746 in favor of NUHW and 36 in favor of SEIU
  • Health care professionals: 189 for NUHW and 29 for SEIU
  • Psych-Social Service workers: 717 for NUHW and 192 for SEIU

The NUHW, founded in January 2009 by ousted leaders of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW), a local of the SEIU, has won seven out of nine competitive elections against SEIU, and the battle over nurses is expected to continue. In fact, a larger election is expected to take place later this year when the rest of Kaiser’s California employees will be eligible to vote. However, although the NUHW has filed similar representation petitions for additional elections throughout the state of California, the elections have been blocked after SEIU has filed a number of unfair labor practice charges against the NUHW.


For more on this issue, see Littler’s Insight article, Union Wars: SEIU vs. UHW and NUHW.

This entry was written by Jennifer Mora.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.