Thursday, June 16, 2016

500 California Workers Vote to Leave SEIU, Join Independent Union

A group of 479 school employees in San Diego, California has voted to decertify SEIU Local 221 and join an independent union called the Poway School Employees Association (PSEA).

On June 10, the California Public Employment Relations Board tallied workers’ ballots and announced the following results:
PSEA:  295 votes
SEIU Local 221: 10 votes
No Union: 1 vote

The 479 workers include cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, groundskeepers, warehouse workers, skilled trades workers, and others at the Poway Unified School District, which is the third-largest school district in the county. Poway USD, located in northern San Diego County, operates 38 schools serving 35,500 students, according to its website.

What was behind the landslide vote, in which 96% voted to dump SEIU?  

In a press release, the PSEA offers a hint about why the president of SEIU’s former chapter at the district joined other rank-and-file leaders to remove SEIU.

The PSEA describes the election results as…
a resounding rebuke of SEIU, which has represented these 479 employees since 1988. In March of this year, the former leadership of the SEIU chapter at PUSD led the effort to unite their blue-collar members with PSEA, an independent union which has represented the 1,500 white-collar classified employees at PUSD since 2010. The former SEIU chapter leaders complained of unresponsive SEIU representatives, high SEIU dues, and a lack of resources, training and assistance.

Last week’s decertification election is just the latest in a string of losses for SEIU Local 221. In recent years, at least eight bargaining units have bolted Local 221 including…
1) San Diego Community College District
2) City of San Marcos
3) City of La Mesa
4) San Diego County’s Probation Officers Unit
5) San Diego County’s Crafts Unit
6) San Diego Regional Center
7) San Diego County’s Construction, Maintenance, Operations and Repair Unit8) Poway Unified School District’s Operations Support Service Unit

Here’s the PSEAS’s press release about last week’s election at Poway USD: