THE BLOG
09/19/2010 09:51 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Kaiser workers make national headlines in historic NUHW vote

On September 13, the biggest private sector union election in more than 70 years began. 43,500 Kaiser healthcare workers across California began to receive our ballots from the Obama Administration's National Labor Relations Board. In preparation, we've been having "red days" in our hospitals, wearing our red NUHW t-shirts and buttons, and the response has been overwhelming. Coworkers I didn't even know were supporting NUHW are wearing red, and there are hospitals that are red from the basement to the top floor!

We're making history - and the national news media is taking note. National TV and radio news program Democracy Now covered our election at Kaiser in this must-watch video. Labor analyst Mark Brenner examines the lies in SEIU's campaign, and explains that "SEIU has been so desperate to hold on to these workers--like they're baseball trading cards that they're fighting to keep in a box--that they've been actually willing to collaborate with employers...."

The LA Times did a great story on our election. The New York Times got it all wrong ("Union Battle in California Threatens SEIU"), and San Francisco's online news journal Beyond Chron published an in-depth criticism of the New York Times's errors ("Greenhouse Violates NY Times' Policy in SEIU-NUHW Story"). It seems like everyone's talking about our election.

For months, SEIU has been lying to us by claiming that we would lose our raises and benefits if we joined NUHW. We knew our raises and benefits were protected by law, and on August 27, the NLRB's General Counsel took legal action that confirms it (Case #21-CA-39296). Now all of our co-workers recognize SEIU's lies for what they are and are secure in knowing that Kaiser must pay our all our scheduled raises and bonuses.

Even as SEIU tries to convince us to vote for them, they continue to make side deals that threaten the wages and benefits that we've worked so hard to earn over decades. They've already promised Kaiser management that they'll support cutting what Kaiser pays for our health insurance next year. And they're still negotiating more layoffs, on top of the more than 1,700 positions that have already been lost because SEIU let management go around our contract.

For me, the decision is clear: I'm voting NUHW to get our union back under our control. Only when healthcare workers are in charge of our union will we be safe from SEIU's secret side deals. And only in NUHW will we be able to win back what SEIU has given away, including our pension, our secure health benefits, our job security, and competent representation.

I already received my ballot and was thrilled to be able to mark the box for NUHW! I know that thousands of my coworkers are doing the same. Together we're taking back our union and building NUHW, a union that is accountable to healthcare workers, and that always puts members first.