Last Thursday, nearly 400 workers at the Coachella Valley Water District in Southern California voted by a three-to-one margin to decertify SEIU Local 721 and to form a new union, the Coachella Valley Water District Employee Association (CVWDEA).
The final tally was 233 (CVWDEA) to 83 (SEIU Local 721) to 9 (“No Union”). A total of 377 workers were eligible to vote in the election.
A local newspaper, The Desert Sun, quoted the new association’s interim president as saying: “We will be self-governed.” The new union will work with City Employees Associates, which represents 105 independent associations of public-sector workers across California.
Workers at the Coachella Valley Water District provide water to more than 110,000 homes, farms and businesses in Riverside, Imperial and San Diego counties. Last July, workers petitioned for their decertification election with the full backing of the workers' local leaders, according to a newsletter. Officials at SEIU Local 721 then used legal maneuvers to stall the elections for seven months.
Congrats on the victory!