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Healthcare Workers Answer SEIU Ultimatum
Date:1/26/2009

United Healthcare Workers call for a fair vote by members -- and challenge Washington, D.C. officials to honor workers' right to choose their local union

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, SEIU officials in Washington, D.C. gave United Healthcare Workers (UHW) an ultimatum: support the undemocratic transfer of 65,000 nursing home and homecare workers out of UHW against their will, or face an immediate takeover and the expulsion of more than 70 healthcare workers who were elected to lead the local union.

Today, UHW's elected executive board sent a letter challenging SEIU President Andy Stern to a fair vote by those 65,000 union members, and calling on him to accept workers' rights to determine their own future.

"Given the enormity of this decision and its vast implications for UHW members," the executive board wrote, "such a decision should be enacted by a fair membership vote on a local-by-local basis, not by executive fiat."

The letter calls for a democratic voting process that is "consistent with the SEIU Constitution and follows the model of the merger between Local 250 and Local 399 that led to the creation of UHW in 2005, and the various mergers, including most recently of 1199NJ, and other local unions into 1199UHE." The proposal also asks SEIU to respect the right of UHW caregivers to elect their own representatives in bargaining with employers, and the right of unorganized healthcare workers to choose to join UHW.

Finally, it calls for a mediated process to re-integrate UHW into SEIU, followed by a collaborative process between SEIU, UHW, and the new statewide long-term care union that could eventually allow long-term care workers and other healthcare workers to reunite in a statewide healthcare workers' union, if they chose to do so through a fair and democratic vote consistent with the SEIU constitution.


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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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