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In a continuing example of the labor movement’s penchant for self-immolation, the SEIU prevailed in a hard fought campaign against the NUHW, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, at Kaiser Healthcare in California. As previously reported in this blog, the NUHW was created by the former leaders of an SEIU local based in Oakland known as United Healthcare Workers-West. It was a bitter divorce marred by taunts, accusations and lawsuits that made an episode of the Jersey Shore look like family entertainment. In the end, the SEIU won a $1.5 million dollar verdict against NUHW and 15 of its leaders for improperly devoting their efforts to SEIU represented employees while simultaneously creating the rival union.
Undeterred (and undoubtedly needing the dues money to pay off the verdict), NUHW sought an election in which approximately 45,000 Kaiser workers were asked to choose whether to continue to be represented by the SEIU or be represented by the NUHW. It was the largest private sector union election held in the United States in almost 70 years and was conducted by mail ballot. The NLRB announced the results of the election on October 7, and the SEIU prevailed with 61 percent of the vote – 18,290 for the SEIU, 11,364 for NUHW and 365 votes for no union.
Predictably, the NUHW announced that it would file objections challenging the results of the election. Whether this or any other challenges will prove successful is unknown. The larger question may be whether or not NUHW will survive long enough to see its challenges resolved.
This entry was written by John Doran.