Monday, October 17, 2011

SEIU-UHW Rigs Union Vote at Kaiser Permanente Hospital

What happens when workers at a California hospital vote down SEIU’s candidate for an elected union position? Check out this story from the Adult Medicine Department at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center in Northern California.

Recently, the department’s workers voted down SEIU’s candidate for Shop Steward by a vote of 40 to 3. Why? Apparently, he doesn’t fight for his co-workers and is super untrustworthy. 

In fact, several years before the trusteeship, workers caught him trying to permanently change the department’s seniority rules so he could be first in line for additional overtime hours. When workers uncovered the scheme, they used the union’s then-democratic procedures to remove him as a Shop Steward by a nearly unanimous vote. As one worker put it: “This guy is in it only for himself. He doesn’t fight for the members. It’s all about him.”

Soon after SEIU imposed its trusteeship in California, SEIU officials hooked up with the demoted steward, John Cuddihy, and began paying him to campaign for SEIU (check out his SEIU pay on top of his regular job). Cuddihy quickly became best buddies with SEIU’s trustees. That’s why SEIU wants him to be a Shop Steward, which SEIU hopes will be a stepping stone towards putting him on Dave Regan’s Executive Board.

SEIU Trustees' Payments to Cuddihy in 2009
So what happened when workers voted Cuddihy down in the recent election?  SEIU officials decided that if they couldn’t get him elected in his own department, they would hold an unannounced election for Cuddihy in a totally different department (Pediatrics) where Cuddihy doesn’t even work... even though this violates the union’s so-called rules.

As you can imagine, workers in the Adult Medicine Department were a bit surprised when SEIU announced that Cuddihy had become their Shop Steward. What happened to their earlier vote to reject Cuddihy by a 40 to 3 margin? Apparently, SEIU officials simply tossed it into the garbage. 

Ironically, the rigged vote at Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center took place as Dave Regan announced with great fanfare that he had convened a special “Representational Excellence Committee” to improve SEIU-UHW’s system of shop stewards and worksite representation. What a joke.

The recent rigged vote at Kaiser Walnut Creek is just the latest in a long line of such votes, including this famous contract ratification vote where SEIU deployed a 300 lb guard to block homecare workers from getting into the polling place. Check out the video.