Thursday, March 25, 2010

SEIU hands over UHW's members' jobs and time to Sutter?! As VP Biden would say: This is a big F*cking Deal.

Four years ago UHW was a Zombie free organization where hospital workers in Northern California had won a big strike against Sutter Health at the company's 1,000-bed California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco. This set a pattern where Sutter workers made huge gains in their contracts.

During that time, CPMC bought St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco's Mission District - the only hospital in that area, an area where many SEIU members live. And then Sutter tried to close it - a huge loss for the UHW members who would lose their jobs and for the working class community of the Mission.

And so, of course, community groups, workers and UHW leaders stood up and spoke out against this closure. With hard work, and tough words, St. Luke's was saved.

And then SEIU's trustees siezed control of UHW. And now, after all of that hard work, and nearly 90 days on the picket line, what have they done in their agreement with Sutter?

They've agreed to support the company's closure of St. Lukes against the desire of the other unions and community groups. As Beyond Chron's Randy Shaw puts it:

"Or to put it more bluntly, while the California Nurses Association and virtually every health care advocacy group is fighting to save St. Luke’s Hospital and force Sutter to sign an enforceable agreement protecting the community, SEIU-UHW has already sided with the employer."

The icing: "The Side Letter even authorized Sutter to assign SEIU-UHW workers to spend work hours building support for the project."

So now, SEIU's trustees are having UHW members lobby on behalf of San Francisco's largest and most profitable hospital corporation to eliminate critical health services for low-income residents as well as hundreds of jobs of their fellow union members?