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NLRB Orders New Union Election at O'Connor Woods

Judge Finds Employer Threatened, Misled Workers at Stockton Retirement Home

STOCKTON, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Labor Relations Board has recommended a new election be held at the O'Connor Woods retirement home in Stockton, after finding management violated federal law by threatening and misleading workers in the days prior to a previous union election in November.

Workers at O'Connor Woods were pleased with the decision. Caregivers first voted to become members of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West in 2005, but years of stalling tactics by management prevented them from winning a first contract.

"We're all excited to hear that the NLRB has ruled in favor of a new election," said Eleanor Valadez, a laundry aide at O'Connor Woods. "After more than three years of fighting, we hope management will accept this decision, and not engage in a lengthy appeal to deny their workers a voice on the job. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that an appeal would cost would be better spent on improving resident care at our retirement home."

The ruling by Administrative Law Judge James M. Kennedy found that O'Connor Woods management distributed "inaccurate and misleading" fliers to workers in an attempt to dissuade them from supporting the union, and that supervisors created an atmosphere of "dread" by mischaracterizing what could happen during the collective bargaining process.

Workers at O'Connor Woods have been seeking improved wages at the facility, where many of them earn poverty-level income despite years of experience. Workers also seek contract provisions that will allow them to have a stronger voice on the job and help improve resident care at the facility.

O'Connor Woods management has also been harshly criticized by many in the local faith community over its stall tactics and apparent unwillingness to negotiate a contract with workers. O'Connor Woods is sponsored by a Catholic order, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.

The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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