Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sutter Election Today and Tomorrow!

Tasty is getting lots of reports from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, where workers are voting today and tomorrow in an NLRB election. Two years ago, workers filed petitions for the election to join NUHW, but SEIU has been using bogus legal appeals to block the election since then. The hospital -- located in Oakland and Berkeley -- is, as most of you know, owned by the giant Sutter Health corporation, one of California's most anti-union hospital companies.

According to workers, SEIU has rolled out its usual strategy: jump in bed with the boss, hand over contract concessions to the company, and then use all of management's resources -- and lots of misinformation and threats -- to try to beat back workers' efforts to actually, you know, choose their own union. Charming, as usual.

After SEIU removed all of the workers' elected Shop Stewards, SEIU's Cass Gualvez, Erica McDuffy and Carrie Cianchetti colluded with Sutter's executives to fire a 31-year rank-and-file leader because she supports NUHW. Eventually, Sutter was ordered to return her to work after an Administrative Law Judge ruled that she was illegally fired simply because of her support for NUHW. Check out this article as well as the full 50-page ALJ ruling for details about plain-clothed security guards hired to surveil NUHW supporters.

So why is Sutter so supportive of SEIU? Well, last year SEIU let Sutter cut workers' health benefits, forcing workers to pay 15% of a health insurance plan that used to be free. In exchange for SEIU's gift of millions, Sutter is pulling out all stops to help SEIU try to win the election. The company has allowed dozens of SEIU organizers to campaign freely throughout the hospital -- even offering up conference rooms for SEIU's campaign.

Each day, management lets SEIU bring truckloads of food into hospital conference rooms where SEIU organizers buttonhole workers who're trying to sample some of the food funded by their dues dollars. (Apparently, SEIU is literally spending tens of thousands of dollars on everything from BBQ ribs to gourmet deli sandwiches to mongolian beef.)

And while Sutter gives free rein to SEIU, management routinely calls the cops on NUHW supporters attempting to talk to co-workers in the hospital's public cafeterias. In fact, Sutter has even assigned security guards in blue blazers to follow and surveil supporters.

So the battle lines are drawn! Tasty sends out huge props to workers who have waited TWO YEARS for an election and have confronted firings, threats and security guards, not to mention SEIU's scare tactics aimed at convincing workers they'll lose their wages and benefits if they vote for NUHW. Tasty is with you!