Homecare Union Election Battle on Again
May 4, 2012
Fresno County's 10,000 homecare workers could face a rerun
of a bitterly fought union election to decide their
representation if an effort for a new vote is successful.
But the bid for a re-election won't come without its own
Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers want to
overturn a narrow win in 2009 by the Service Employees
International Union-United Healthcare Workers-West.
SEIU-UHW vows to oppose the attempt.
On Thursday, NUHW President Sal Rosselli said a decision by
the California Public Employment Relations Board opens the
door for a new election by homecare workers. "This election
can be thrown out so workers can have a fair election to
decide their own fate," he said at a news conference outside
the Fresno County Hall of Records.
The April 18 board decision overturns an earlier ruling by a
board regional attorney who dismissed a complaint by the
NUHW. The union had alleged election misconduct by SEIU,
including voter intimidation, illegal threats and ballot
"They organized a campaign of fear, intimidation," Rosselli
Connie Lara, a former homecare worker who attended the news
conference, said SEIU representatives "were very hateful"
during the election three years ago.
The case now goes back to the board's general counsel.
But first, SEIU-UHW plans to ask the board to reconsider its
decision, said spokesman Nathan Selzer.
"This has always been a fishing expedition" on the part of
the NUHW, Selzer said. In three years, it "has not presented
any wrongdoing by SEIU-UHW members or representatives," he
said. "We'll present our case and they'll present theirs,
and we're confident this will be a nonissue."
The 2009 election for Fresno County homecare workers was the
first large-scale contest between the SEIU union and the
NUHW. The unions have been locked in conflict since the NUHW
was launched in January 2009 out of a rift over leadership
of the United Healthcare Workers-West, the Oakland-based
local of the SEIU.
An overturn of the homecare election would be a major blow
to the SEIU, the largest union representing Fresno County
workers. In the past two weeks, SEIU has had 250 workers at
the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
decertify the union for their labor unit; hundreds of county
corrections officers and social services employees could do
SEIU also faces a re-election to represent 43,000 Kaiser
Permanente workers statewide, including about 1,500 in
Fresno. Last October, a majority of the workers voted to
remain with the SEIU. The NUHW objected and last July, the
National Labor Relations Board said a new election must be
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6310,
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