Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Busted Again: NLRB Orders a Re-Run Election at Another California Hospital Due to SEIU-UHW’s Collusion with Boss

Several days ago, an NLRB Hearing Officer issued a 36-page decision that overturns SEIU-UHW’s narrow election victory at Seton Medical Center, a hospital just south of San Francisco, and orders a re-run election for the hospital’s 750 workers. The full decision is posted below.

The action is similar to one in 2011, when a judge overturned the results of the giant Kaiser election following serious lawbreaking by Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW.

So what happened at Seton Medical Center?

Last March, SEIU-UHW eked out a six-vote victory in a hotly contested election in which workers sought to decertify SEIU-UHW and join NUHW.

During the election, the hospital’s execs threw their full weight behind SEIU-UHW, which has partnered with company execs to slash and burn workers’ wages and benefits. More on that below.  

After the election, the NLRB conducted a trial to investigate multiple allegations of violations committed by SEIU-UHW and management during the election. According to the 36-page decision, the Hearing Officer ultimately concluded that SEIU and the Boss violated five separate areas of labor law.

Here are some excerpts:

I have found that the Employer engaged in objectionable conduct by discriminating in favor of SEIU in the application of access, solicitation, distribution, and bulletin board policies at Seton Medical Center. (p. 33) 
Translation: Basically, the Boss gave SEIU-UHW the green light to do whatever the f*ck it wanted to try to win the election, while siccing its security guards on NUHW and its supporters. In one incident that's referenced in the decision, the manager of the hospital’s EVS Department allowed five SEIU organizers to conduct a “captive audience” meeting with EVS workers who were trapped in a departmental meeting run by their manager.

Here are additional excerpts:
On the basis of the foregoing evidence, I find that the Employer permitted SEIU representatives access to non-public areas of the hospital to engage in electioneering activity and that it did not permit NUHW representatives the same access rights. (p. 24)

It is clear, however, that the Employer discriminatorily applied such policies against NUHW regarding the solicitation of employees and the distribution of literature in the break rooms. (p. 30)

The Employer knowingly permitted SEIU to post campaign materials in the bulletin boards while not permitting NUHW to post campaign materials... (p. 32)

In fact, the Hearing Officer’s report describes how managers admitted to ripping down workers' pro-NUHW materials from bulletin boards in break rooms, while giving carte blanche to SEIU organizers to put up their materials.

So what motivated the Boss to give all of this "unlawful assistance" to SEIU-UHW?

Well, ever since Dave Regan parachuted into California, SEIU-UHW has given away hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions to both Seton Medical Center and its parent company, the Daughters of Charity Health System.

In fact, just two months after SEIU-UHW won the fraudulent election at Seton, Regan inked a deal with the company’s bosses to eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and replace it with a cheap 401(k) plan. Regan also slashed SEIU-UHW members’ health benefits, forcing them to pay more than $300 in monthly premiums for health coverage that previously was free to workers. And he doubled workers’ out-of-pocket costs for doctors visits and instituted an invasive Wellness Program.

And that’s not all… Regan then rammed these concessions down workers’ throats in another act of arrogant lawbreaking. Regan knew that workers didn’t support these massive cuts to their benefits, so he announced SEIU's contract ratification votes late on a Saturday night and began the voting just nine hours later... at 6:00am on a Sunday morning!

According to SEIU-UHW’s constitution, union officials must give the membership at least three days of advance notice before starting a ratification vote so workers can review the proposed agreement and discuss it among themselves. When workers demanded that Regan and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry stop Regan's unconstitutional vote, they refused. So workers filed formal charges against Regan and  Henry for violating their rights under SEIU’s own constitution.  

It’s quite a story... and one that highlights the multiple kinds of lawbreaking and collusion used by Regan and SEIU to sell out workers.

Finally, a well-earned congrats to the workers at Seton Medical Center for winning their fight for a fair election at the NLRB!