OAKLAND – After more than 900 days of legal delays instigated by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and compounded by repeated instances of negligence on the part of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), about 450 workers at Children’s Hospital Oakland finally had the chance to vote yesterday for the union of their choosing. By a vote of 163 to 159 with 3 challenged ballots and 5 for “no union,” the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) prevailed over SEIU.
“We’ve been waiting since January 2009 to get out of SEIU, whose leaders cut backroom deals with employers and only care about extracting our dues,” said Ruth Kees, a Clinical Lab Assistant III. “We want a union that we, the members, control, and now that we’ve joined NUHW, we finally have it.”
As caregivers waited through legal delays for their chance to cast ballots for NUHW, SEIU officials agreed to a two-year wage freeze and a reduction in workers’ healthcare benefits, as well as a weakening of their seniority rights and restrictions on overtime hours.
Before the election victory is certified, the challenged ballots will need to be resolved by the NLRB.
Children’s Hospital workers include Housekeepers, Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Vocational Nurses and Respiratory Care Practitioners.