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Kaiser Workers Vote to Join NUHW, Reject SEIU in Three Elections
Date:1/26/2010

New member-led union caps first year with biggest victories yet; votes called a "referendum" against SEIU's power grabs and secret deals with employers

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly one year to the day after SEIU seized control of California's healthcare union in a hostile takeover, nurses and healthcare professionals at nearly 100 Kaiser hospitals and clinics have voted to take back their union by joining the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

"Today we've restored democracy and integrity in our union," said Irma Dufelmeier, a registered nurse at Kaiser's Los Angeles Medical Center. "At Kaiser, we've won the highest standards in the country for healthcare workers and our patients. Now we have a member-led union where we can protect those standards. These elections are a referendum on SEIU's backroom deals with healthcare corporations that give away workers' and patients' rights."

The National Labor Relations Board counted ballots today for 2,300 workers in three bargaining units. Workers' victory was overwhelming, with 1,652 voting to join NUHW and just 254 for SEIU. Registered nurses at Kaiser's Los Angeles Medical Center voted 746 to 36 for NUHW; psychiatric social workers voted 717 to 192; and other healthcare professionals voted 189 to 26.

They're part of an exodus of more than 100,000 SEIU members who have petitioned for similar elections to join NUHW since last year's takeover. An even bigger election is expected later this year, when the rest of Kaiser's 50,000 California employees will be eligible to vote.

NUHW was founded in January 2009, when scores of healthcare workers from across the state -- elected leaders of their union -- decided toge
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SOURCE National Union of Healthcare Workers
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