By CAL WINSLOW
The new National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) has won another important victory in its struggle to rebuild California’s healthcare union movement.
In an election delayed fully twenty-eight months, NUHW members have won at Sutter Health’s San Francisco facilities – the California Pacific Medical Centers (CPMC) at the Pacific, California and Davies hospitals, defeating the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) captive local, United Healthcare Workers (UHW).
This victory wins 800 new members for NUHW and reestablishes the union in this San Francisco center of the hospital industry. Sutter is a hospital giant in California, employing nearly 50,000 people. In a related election, SEIU held on to win at CPMC’s St. Luke’s Hospital.
“This is a truly historic event,” said Helen York-Jones, a cashier at the California hospital of CPMC. “For over two years, we’ve waited for our chance to leave SEIU and regain control of our union with NUHW. Now, we finally have a chance to get back everything SEIU has given away to management.”
The win at CPMC pushes NUHW toward the 10,000 member mark, a fast start in this era of trade unionism in decline and under attack. At the same time, NUHW is now bargaining for new contracts throughout the state – on the 13th of this month NUHW begins long delayed negotiations with St Joseph’s Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa.