Woodland, California - Workers at Cottonwood Healthcare nursing home voted almost unanimously yesterday to leave the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) completed the vote count yesterday, with a final tally of 54 for NUHW to a single vote for SEIU.
“We’re done with SEIU - finally,” said Eloise Reese-Burns, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Cottonwood for over 41 years. “We can’t wait to get started bargaining a new contract with NUHW, a union in which members are in charge. Cottonwood employees need improvements to our staffing, wages and job security, and with NUHW, we have a chance to move forward instead of backward.”
In 2009, over three-quarters of the workers at Cottonwood signed a petition to join NUHW. After the facility’s owner, North American Healthcare, Inc., agreed to recognize the union based on clear majority support among Cottonwood employees, SEIU filed charges with the NLRB to prevent workers from being represented by the union of their choosing. The two-year delay by SEIU ended with yesterday’s election on behalf of 72 Cottonwood employees.
Among NUHW’s new members at Cottonwood are Dietary workers, Certified Nursing Assistants, Restorative Nursing Aides, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Laundry workers and Maintenance workers. Forty-five employees at North American-owned Valley Skilled Nursing Facility in Sacramento are already represented by NUHW.