Monday, July 25, 2011

Judge, Citing More SEIU Violations, Throws Out a Second Kaiser Election!

Breaking news: The NLRB has found SEIU guilty of violating workers’ rights in a SECOND Kaiser election and has recommended that the election be re-run!

The judge's 14-page decision (posted on NUHW's website) affects Kaiser’s Northern California Medical Social Workers, who are in a separate bargaining unit of approximately 380 employees. Last fall, they voted in an NLRB election about whether to join NUHW or stay with SEIU.

SEIU won the election by a razor-thin margin of just 9 votes (148 to 139). A judge later investigated the election and found SEIU guilty of the same kind of collusion with Kaiser that she cited in last week’s decision covering 43,000 California workers who are in the Service & Technical employees' bargaining unit.

Here are some excerpts from the judge’s 14-page decision on the Medical Social Worker (MSW) election:

“Insofar as [SEIU’s] campaign focused on Kaiser’s conduct in the SoCal-pro units, its objective effect was to warn employees that they jeopardized monetary benefits if they changed representatives. In [SEIU’s] communications, Kaiser’s Unfair Labor Practices figured as concrete, menacing reminders that Kaiser unilaterally withheld benefits from employees in the SoCal-pro units when they chose to be represented by NUHW.” (p. 11)

'[SEIU’s] widely disseminated, consistent warnings that Kaiser was likely to repeat its 2009 unlawful conduct in the MSW unit if unit employees selected [NUHW] as their collective-bargaining representative tended to stoke unwarranted and coerced fears.” (p. 13)

“The unavoidable inference to be drawn from these circumstances is that MSW unit employees voted with objectively reasonable, albeit inaccurate and Unfair Labor Practice-induced, apprehensions that a vote for [NUHW] was a vote for benefit reduction.” (p. 13)

“Further, [SEIU] was joined in its warnings by Kaiser’s Regional President Ben Chu, who informed employees that only members of coalition unions were guaranteed PSP incentive bonuses. [SEIU] widely disseminated Chu’s statement, giving weight to [SEIU’s] repeated forewarnings that representational change might endanger PSP bonuses. In these circumstances, widely disseminated warnings that PSP incentive bonuses would not survive a change of representative must also have tended to interfere with employees’ freedom of choice.” (p. 12)

“I recommend that the Board election in Case 32-RC-5774 be set aside and a new election be held.” (p. 13)