Sunday, November 18, 2012

California Hospital Workers Vote to Join NUHW!

This just in. On Friday, a group of 300 hospital workers in Central California voted to join NUHW. The workers at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City were previously “non-union” and voted 129 (NUHW) to 126 (No Union) in Friday’s NLRB election. The outcome won’t be final until four challenged ballots are resolved.

Tasty hears there's an interesting 'back story' to the election. Apparently, the hospital’s workers have been watching NUHW’s successful bargaining campaigns at nearby hospitals, including Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and decided they wanted to join NUHW. SEIU was not on the ballot and has never represented the hospital’s workers. More on that later.

John De Groot, Buster
Sources say the outcome of the vote was close because the hospital's execs waged a nasty anti-union campaign headed by a union-busting consulting firm called De Groot and Associates. The head of the firm -- John De Groot -- formerly worked for Modern Management, a notorious union-busting firm based in Chicago. That’s the same firm where Martin Levitt, the famous author of “Confessions of a Union Buster,” worked. (For those unfamiliar with Levitt, here’s a five-minute video where he talks about the tactics he used during his 19 years on “the dark side.”)

Interestingly, De Groot is also a member of the board of directors at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, one of the companies that SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan has climbed into bed with.

At Mee Memorial Hospital, De Groot unleashed an onslaught of union busting. During the weeks leading up to Friday’s election, De Groot personally conducted one-on-one “captive audience” meetings to pressure workers to vote “no.” He also oversaw an illegal strategy whereby the hospital awarded pay increases to workers -- of as much as $3 an hour -- just days before the election in an effort to dissuade them from joining NUHW.

Observers tell Tasty that the election is significant because it shows workers’ attraction to NUHW’s aggressive approach to fighting for its members. Meanwhile, Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW is systematically giving away the store to the bosses -- destroying workers’ pensions and health insurance benefits, and allowing mega-profitable companies like Kaiser Permanente to lay off large numbers of the union’s members.

That helps explain why SEIU-UHW has had virtually zero success in attracting non-union workers to join the Purple Team. In fact, Regan and Co. couldn’t even convince a majority of the workers at Chapman Medical Center to join SEIU even though SEIU-UHW enjoyed a card-check agreement and neutrality from the employer. 

So, when workers refused to support SEIU-UHW, Regan colluded with the boss to falsify the card-check results and then lied to the hospital's workers. When workers later complained to the NLRB, the agency subpoenaed the card-check results and discovered SEIU’s illegal vote-rigging scheme. Here’s an article from the BNA that describes this notorious episode.  

Once again, congrats to the workers at Mee Memorial Hospital!