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Hospital Chain and Hand Picked Union, SEIU, Forced to Cancel Rigged Election After Protests by RNs and Other Employees
Date:3/11/2008

'A Victory for Employees, Patient Care, and Union Democracy'

OAKLAND, Calif., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- After public exposure and protests, the Catholic Healthcare Partners chain and its hand picked union, the Service Employees International Union, today cancelled rigged elections -- called without a single sign of support from the employees -- planned this week for 8,000 registered nurses and other employees at nine Ohio hospitals in Cincinnati, Lima, and Springfield.

"This is a significant victory for employee rights, patient care protections, and workplace democracy, and a huge setback for a hospital industry and SEIU that hoped to make this shoddy abuse of what should be a democratic process into a national model," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association, which challenged the sham elections.

CHP and SEIU arranged the votes through a top-down deal that "turned decades of labor law rights for employees on their head and made a mockery of constitutional protections of free speech," DeMoro noted.

With the collusion of the Bush administration's National Labor Relations Board, the employer filed for the election without any showing of support for SEIU, and maneuvered to stifle opposition and block potential participation from any legitimate union, she said.

CHP even resorted to the extreme action of going to court to obtain an injunction to block NNOC/CNA RNs from talking to the nurses about their rights and their ability to stop the hospital from imposing an unwanted union on them, while the hospitals were also blocking employees from internal discussions about the rushed vote.

DeMoro sharply criticized CHP and SEIU, along with the labor board for "determining among themselves the destiny of a workforce that is primarily women. The chauvinism and arrogance of their behavior is appalling, and has received the repudiation it so richly deserved."

"But their conspiracy of silence and the whole shoddy scheme fell apart when it was exposed to the light of day and the nurses and other employees became aware that they had alternatives to a union selected for them by their employer," said DeMoro.

"They pulled the election precisely because it was abundantly clear there was no support from the very employees for a union imposed on them by their employer and disgust with the underhanded abuse of their constitutional rights."

The cancelled elections, DeMoro added, are a "huge blow to SEIU International's corrupted approach to growth at the expense of the public interest or a democratic voice of the workers."

"SEIU depends on the complicity and support of employers even without any indication of support from the workers they are pretending to represent. That's not what unions should stand for, and it's not democratic," said DeMoro. She noted growing opposition from SEIU members across the nation, reflected on the website http://www.reformseiu.org.

Finally, DeMoro also criticized the role of the labor board. The planned CHP elections were a template for new rules proposed by the NLRB to sanction employers filing elections without worker support, a form of company unionism that the 1935 law creating modern labor law rights was intended to stop.

But the current NLRB, stacked with anti-union appointees by the Bush administration, "has been steadily gutting workers' rights, and turning the board into a vehicle for suppressing worker democracy and rights rather than protecting them. This election, and the rules now proposed, are a critical component of that ominous trend," DeMoro added.


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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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