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Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 02:36 PM PDT

CA: NO on 32, YES on 30 and 37

by Paul Delehanty

This week, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) joined the Courage Campaign and numerous other unions and progressive organizations, supporting the Courage Campaign's California Progressive Election Center.

If you are a California voter, I encourage you to take a look and to take action.  

The Courage Campaign's Progressive Election Center has phonebank options, volunteer options, videos and a downloadable and shareable CA Progressive Voter Guide,  where you can find the progressive positions of 14 participating organizations including Planned Parenthood,  PresentePAC, CREDO Action, the CA Federation of Teachers and AFSCME Council 57.

NUHW's positions are NO on 32, YES on 30 and 37.

Join me on the flip for more...

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Workers at Santa Rosa Memorial hospital voted to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) last Friday after a six-year effort to form a union at their hospital.

The ballot count, in an election where 50%+1 of the votes were needed to win outright was:

283 NUHW
263 No Union
13 SEIU

As Randy Shaw wrote this morning:

NUHW has now won organized labor’s biggest hospital election victory of 2009, overcoming a joint “No Union” campaign mounted by management and SEIU.

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For six years caregivers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital have worked to form a union. After petitioning for an election this spring and waiting months for the NLRB to clear SEIU's blocking charges, Memorial workers will have the chance to form their union with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), this Thursday and Friday.

The election at Santa Rosa has been an uphill battle featuring a David, the workers at Memorial, versus two Goliaths: St. Joseph Health System and an anti-NUHW campaign by SEIU...

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Just as the NLRB delivered a huge victory to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) by rejecting charges made by SEIU, members of the progressive and faith community are highlighting how SEIU is engaged in an anti-union campaign against workers in Santa Rosa who have never had a union before.

Randy Shaw at Beyond Chron lays it out:

When SEIU devoted millions of dollars and hundreds of staff to battling NUHW over Fresno home health care workers last spring, the struggle was fierce. But the stakes at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital are much higher. An SEIU “victory” would defeat unionization for over 600 workers in Santa Rosa, and prevent NUHW from using its success as a springboard for organizing SJHS’s over 9,000 non-union workers at its hospitals across California.

Few could have imagined one year ago that SEIU’s number one hospital organizing drive in 2009 would focus on preventing workers from joining a union.

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Last June, in advance of a union election for 10,000 homecare workers in Fresno County, NUHW had built relationships with thousands of homecare providers through months of door-to-door organizing and the leadership of caregivers who had built the union in Fresno and who supported NUHW.

In response, on the eve of the election, SEIU brought 1,000 organizers to Fresno to conduct a "blitz" of home visits to overturn NUHW's advantage.

Now, according to newly released sworn testimony from workers and SEIU staff whistleblowers who worked on the campaign in Fresno, SEIU staff committed serious violations of the rules in the Fresno at the direction of their superiors, including harassing, intimidating and threatening voters and handling workers' ballots in violations of election law.

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There's a crucial passage in David Moberg's essay in In These Times covering the recent UNITE-HERE convention in Chicago, Solidarity Reunited?:

UNITE HERE wants to be seen as the bottom-up, aggressive alternative to SEIU, which [UNITE-HERE President John Wilhelm] described as the top-down, cheap contract union.

“Now we find the labor movement at a crossroads,” Wilhelm told the convention. “There’s a top-down strategy that stifles creativity and begs employers to let us organize. That strategy requires, by definition, crushing union democracy. Look at the turmoil in SEIU. The labor movement can’t succeed with a top-down strategy.”

Wilhelm was serious, UNITE-HERE took action at their convention to make bottom-up reform a reality...

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Per reports from Randy Shaw from the UNITE-HERE convention in Chicago, the entire labor movement has allied with UNITE-HERE in opposition to SEIU's raids into UNITE-HERE's jurisdictions.

Here's the key graf:

Laborers President Terrence O’Sullivan described SEIU’s conduct as “deplorable,” and said “we didn’t join Change to Win to raid and hijack another union’s members.” Change to Win leaders James Hoffa of the Teamsters and Joe Hansen of the United Food and Commercial Workers also pledged support, while Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers (one of the only two international presidents that SEIU claimed back its position) now supports UNITE HERE. UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm defiantly castigated SEIU as “the bosses union,” and said that his workers are now in a “two headed fight: a fight with the boss and a fight with the boss’s lackey union.” Wilhelm said there has been “real widespread revulsion” throughout the labor movement against SEIU’s conduct, and the UNITE HERE convention has announced a new labor movement unity, with SEIU alone on its own.

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Dave Regan, executive vice-president of SEIU and appointed trustee of SEIU-UHW gave a speech last night to hundreds of SEIU organizers who have been shipped into Fresno from around the country.

Dave Regan is the public face of SEIU in Fresno County where 10,000 homecare workers are voting in an election to leave SEIU and join their own union, NUHW.  Here's a sample of what SEIU's top spokesperson in Fresno had to say:

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Local California blogger Adios Andy has a great post up about how workers from all over California are volunteering in the upcoming June election in which 10,000 Fresno County homecare workers are seeking to leave SEIU and join NUHW.

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For the last month, Andy Stern's SEIU has been trying to stop worker activists at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo from organizing to win an election and build their own union, NUHW. Today they counted the votes.

158 workers voted for NUHW.
24 workers voted for SEIU.

There's a story behind this David vs. Goliath victory, and it has implications for everyone who cares about the labor movement and grassroots efforts to build workers' power. Let me tell you why...

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Last Saturday, over 700 healthcare workers met in San Francisco to hold the official founding convention of their union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, a new, democratic, member-led union founded in California.

Here's what the convention looked like:

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Sometimes in the midst of a broader organizing effort there's a moment that clarifies exactly what you're fighting for. NUHW activist and union member Eloise Reese-Burns has just such a moment to share with us tonight.

Eloise Reese-Burns has worked as a certified nursing assistant at Cottonwood Healthcare in Woodland California for 39 years. This month, along with 350 of her co-workers, she become one of the first official members of NUHW, a member-led union of healthcare workers formed just this year.

Building NUHW will not be easy. But Eloise Reese-Burns explains why it is necessary...

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