Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The CHW Scoop

Last week, workers at Catholic Healthcare West, the largest hospital chain in California, started circulating petitions to leave SEIU-UHW and join NUHW. How is SEIU responding? Well, "my old school friends," let's just say it comes directly from Dave Regan's playbook.

Here are two reports:

On Thursday, SEIU staffer Chava Bustamante showed up at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco and promptly fired all of the hospital's Shop Stewards from their elected positions for refusing to sign an SEIU loyalty oath. Bustamante, who apparently fancies himself as a supporter of union democracy, has now shown his true colors for the world to see. Check out the email below from a Saint Francis worker.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, SEIU sent 20 purple-shirted zombies to storm through CHW's Methodist Hospital. The purple mob, led by SEIU staffers Josie Summers and Sherrie Macias, pushed their way into the hospital's pharmacy and laboratory and began chanting "SEIU, SEIU" as they pumped their fists in the air and tried to intimidate workers who moments earlier had been busy with lab specimens and pharmacy orders. The stunned workers quickly called security guards to remove the SEIU mob from their hospital... but not before Josie Summers and Sherrie Macias fired all of the hospital's Shop Stewards.

Here's the email from a worker at St. Francis Memorial Hospital:

Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010
Subject: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

I was a shop steward for the past 6 years at SFMH and you may have heard the entire steward council was fired yesterday by Chava Bustamante. The way we managed not to be canned during the trusteeship is that with each union rep (we are now on our 5th since January 2009, Ruben Garcia) we stood united saying we are not here to talk "politics", but rather stay focused on worksite issues. And we have managed to do some really good work - we recently got our PCC [Patient Care Committee] meeting again; it had not met for about 15 months since the trusteeship was imposed. Yesterday, Chava demanded we sign some kind of loyalty pledge to SEIU and one by one we each expressed our own objections. I said I value democratic values of free choice, etc. I just spoke with someone in the [NUHW's] Emeryville office who told me the circulation of petitions in CHW hospitals began yesterday. Thank God! I have been working at SFMH since the 1970s and have had many unusual experiences in the workplace, but getting fired by my own union takes the cake.