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Boycott Prevails in Sham SEIU Vote; Lawmakers and Advocates Join Healthcare Workers in Opposing Forced Union Merger
Date:12/11/2008

Less than 10% of 309,000 eligible voters cast ballots in statewide election while caregivers file over 125,000 protests

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a statewide vote of healthcare workers conducted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), ballots are still being counted but the result is clear: healthcare workers overwhelmingly oppose the forced merger planned by national union officials, and lawmakers and healthcare advocates are joining them in protest.

Caregivers from all three affected local unions signed more than 125,000 petitions and cards opposing the forced merger and pledging to boycott the vote. SEIU officials could find less than ten percent of eligible voters willing to cast ballots -- fewer than 28,000 of more than 309,000 of eligible voters -- despite changing election rules more than halfway through the three-week mail-ballot election in order to improve turnout, and despite reports to UHW election observers that SEIU staff have encouraged members of other local unions to request duplicate ballots even if they already voted. The validity of almost a third of the ballots received has been challenged by the SEIU-appointed election officer.

"We need a union that truly represents us and gives us a voice to advocate for our patients," said Mell Garcia, a medical assistant at Kaiser Permanente-Hayward and an elected rank-and-file vice president of United Healthcare Workers (UHW). "We boycotted the election because both options on the ballot would mean the end of healthcare unions that are accountable to healthcare workers. While SEIU President Andy Stern advocates a free choice for workers across the country to become union members, he's denying a free choice to SEIU members in California."

The forced merger would result in the new union's leaders being appointed by SEIU President Andy Stern, rather than
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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