Largest Union Vote In NLRB History, Kaiser Employees Keep SEIU

Filed under: Labor,News,Unions |

The California union election do-over in is over. Kaiser health care employees in California have voted in favor of retaining their current bargaining representative, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers-West (SEIU-UHW), rather than switching to rival National Union of Healthcare Workers-California Nurses Association, AFL-CIO (NUHW-CNA).


SEIU-UHW celebrate victory in Kaiser California union do-over election

The results were: SEIU-UHW, 18,844 votes; NUHW-CNA, 13,101 votes; neither, 334 votes; with 520 void ballots and 309 challenged ballots. The parties have seven days to file objections to the election.

“You may have heard by now that the results of the Kaiser election did not go the way we had hoped,” Sal Rosselli, president, National Union of Healthcare Workers – California Nurses Association, said in statement on the union’s website. “The NLRB’s final vote count was 13,002 for NUHW-CNA to 18,894 for SEIU-UHW, with 334 voting for neither union.”

National Labor Relations Board Regional Director William Baudler, in Oakland, Calif., announced the results May 2.

“There was no way NUHW or CNA could convince us to give up our great wages, health coverage, pension and job security, especially since NUHW has been unable to bargain a contract at Kaiser for more than three years,” said Cleto Delizo, a lead driver at Kaiser Sacramento, in statement on the SEIU-UHW website. “This is now settled, once and for all, and we are ready to give all of our attention to doing our jobs providing the best possible care to our patients.”

The Oakland regional office received 32,588 valid mail ballots, from among more than 45,000 eligible voters, during the approximately three-week period of balloting.

Those ballots were sorted, verified, and counted during a two-day period by NLRB personnel from the Oakland regional office as well as from NLRB offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland.

The vote count was conducted in the presence of observers for all three parties.

This election was a rerun of a previous mail ballot election between Sept. 13 and Oct. 7, 2010. That election was set aside pursuant to an order of the National Labor Relations Board granting motions filed by Kaiser and SEIU-UHW to remand the case to the Oakland regional office for the scheduling of a new election.

A judge ordered new election after an NRLB administrative law judge recommended that the first election be set aside based upon certain election-related conduct by SEIU-UHW.

The prior election and the just completed rerun election were the largest mail ballot elections in NLRB history.

Despite the decive outcome, this may not be the last word in this battle between unions.

“I also want to note that I’m stunned by these election results,” Rosselli said. “Speaking from decades of experience in elections like this, we have many questions that deserve answers.”

Baudler congratulated the NLRB election team for their thorough planning in anticipation of this unprecedented event, and for efficiently processing the large number of ballots while ensuring security and voter confidentiality.

An independent federal agency safeguarding employees’ rights to organize and have union representation, the NLRB also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices by private employers and unions, as well as United States Postal Service cases.

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