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Free Choice? Not For SEIU Members in California
Date:12/12/2008

Boycott and protest are victorious in sham SEIU vote

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

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Final results in a statewide vote of healthcare workers conducted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) prove the point that healthcare workers overwhelmingly oppose their national union's sham election. Ballots were sent to 309,000 SEIU members. Of the 27,258 total ballots cast, 2,297 were void and 615 are unresolved challenges. More than 91% of eligible voters chose not to participate in the election.

Caregivers from all three affected local unions signed more than 125,000 petitions and cards opposing the election and pledging to boycott the vote.

The election process was riddled with misconduct, misinformation, and structural flaws. The ballot offered only two options, with no way to reject both. Under the first option, workers in homecare and nursing homes would be forced into a merged local. Under the second option, all healthcare workers in California would be forced into a merged local. The vote used "pooled" voting, counting votes from all members together rather than tallying on a local-by-local basis as is the norm in many locals. SEIU officials gave unequal notice to the local unions when ballots were mailed, and the official voter guide falsely states that a merger would not affect collective bargaining agreements when in fact in a similar vote did result in several thousand healthcare workers in California losing their collective bargaining rights when employers successfully challenged the legality of the vote. More than halfway through the three-week mail-ballot election, officials changed election rules in order to try to improve turnout. Election observers also reported that SEIU staff encouraged members of other local unions to request duplicate ballots even if they already voted.

"The final results clearly show that this truly was a sham election. Only in SEIU would an election with no real choices on the ballot and virtually no turnout be trumpeted as a victory for democracy." said Michael Fenison, a Respiratory Care Practitioner at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, CA. "SEIU President Andy Stern advocates a free choice for workers across the country to become union members, but he's denying a free choice to us SEIU members in California. This vote is just one more example of Stern using a phony process to try and silence our efforts to reform SEIU."

The forced merger would result in the new union's leaders being appointed by SEIU President Andy Stern, rather than elected by healthcare workers in California.

With more than 150,000 members, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the fastest-growing healthcare union in the United States. We represent healthcare workers in all job classifications and all healthcare settings, including hospitals, homecare, nursing homes and clinics. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. www.seiu-uhw.org

CONTACT: Sadie Crabtree of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, +1-323-365-2083


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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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