Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Re-Run Election for Fresno's 10,000 Homecare Workers?

Mary Kay Henry, Medina, Regan and Hudson in Fresno (June 2009)

Tasty hears that a decision issued last month by California’s Public Employment Relations Board has SEIU officials in a panic. Why? Because it may trigger a re-run election for 10,000 homecare workers in Fresno due to SEIU’s threats and intimidation against workers during the workers' 2009 decertification election.

Here’s what’s going on.

In 2009, SEIU parachuted 1,000 staffers from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico into Fresno County and spent an estimated $10 million on the election between NUHW and SEIU-UHW. 

SEIU's Mary Kay Henry, Eliseo Medina and Gerry Hudson all flew into Fresno to help manage the campaign. And at the start of the campaign, SEIU’s Dave Regan delivered an infamous, violence-filled speech to the 1,000 SEIU staffers and officials assembled at the county fairgrounds.

During the election, SEIU’s purple-clad staffers followed Regan’s instructions to a “T.” They bullied homecare workers, took workers' mail-in ballots from their mail boxes and marked them, kicked in workers’ screen doors to steal signs supporting NUHW, and told workers they'd lose their jobs if they voted for NUHW. Check out this short video where workers describe what they experienced: 

And that's not all. SEIU's organizers even threatened immigrant homecare with deportation unless they voted for SEIU. Check out this TV news coverage on CBS:

When the ballots were finally counted, officials reported that SEIU had narrowly edged NUHW by 233 votes. NUHW formally challenged SEIU’s illegal conduct with California's Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the agency that oversaw the election. 

A lower-level PERB agent initially dismissed NUHW’s challenge, but the PERB’s full board later reviewed the matter and backed NUHW’s position. Last month, PERB’s board ordered the agency to issue a formal complaint against SEIU's conduct during the election.

PERB's 18-page decision states: “NUHW’s allegations state a prima facie case of interference with employee rights.” It goes on to say: 
We conclude that SEIU’s alleged conduct weighed in its totality may have interfered with employees’ right freely to choose a representative or constituted a serious irregularity in the running of the election. Thus, we remand the case for issuance of a complaint consistent with this decision. (p. 12)
You can see the full decision below. 

What’s next? Tasty hears that Regan and SEIU-UHW will likely face a full-fledged hearing in front of a judge to determine whether SEIU broke the law and whether a re-run election should be ordered. Last year, an Administrative Law Judge famously overturned the results of an NLRB election for 43,000 Kaiser Permanente workers because of SEIU-UHW's illegal threats against those workers. 

Looks like more of Regan's chickens are coming home to roost!