Thursday, December 3, 2009

SEIU Drives Yet Another Ally Away

In May 2009 SEIU held a prayer breakfast and lobbying event on behalf of an important goal the Employee Free Choice Act, with an organization called "Faith Leaders for Workplace Support." This organization, purportedly started by SEIU, included the respected organization Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice.

See their website about the event.

But Today, that same group came out against the actions of the boss at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital AND SEIU's ACTIONS!

Here is the text of the letter (emphasis original):

December 3, 2009

Mr. Kevin A. Klockenga

President and Chief Executive Officer

St. Joseph Health System Sonoma County

Sent Via Email

Dear Mr. Klockenga,

In your letter of Oct. 5, 2009 to Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice you explained that “SRMH leadership was scheduled to meet with NUHW officials to attempt to reach mutually agreed-upon ground rules for a future election.” We in CSWJ rejoiced in this statement since it demonstrated a new openness on the part of SJHS to improve labor relations and it was the first concrete application of the joint USCCB, CHA, and labor union document, “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Healthcare and Unions.”

We have followed developments in this matter and are disappointed that SEIU refused to attend a meeting with SJHS and NUHW to decide upon ground rules for an election. We believe, however, that you still had a moral obligation to meet with NUHW since the interests of the workers should not be held hostage to one party who refuses to attend a meeting. Simply meeting with a union to discuss ground rules in no way constitutes an endorsement of that union by SJHS. In the name of the common good, we urge you to meet at the earliest possible moment with NUHW to discuss ground rules for the last two weeks of the campaign. SEIU should, of course, be invited but it they refuse to attend we urge you to schedule the meeting anyway.

In addition, we are deeply alarmed at reports that SJHS has reverted to an earlier form of behavior and is actively seeking to bust the union movement at Santa Rosa. It is a violation of Catholic Social Teaching on workers’ rights for an employer to demonstrate anti-union sentiments. The decision for or against a union is rooted in the natural right of free association and the employer may under no circumstances violate or denigrate this right through actions or conversations with workers that have a clear anti-union prejudice. Accordingly, we call upon Saint Joseph Health System to cease its anti-union campaign and to follow the norms that are set forth in Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Healthcare and Unions.

Sincerely yours,


Chairperson, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice