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SEIU: 'Rogue Organization's Attempt to Destabilize UHW is Both Reckless and Feckless'
Date:2/5/2009

Statement of UHW Trustee Eliseo Medina on the attempts of disgraced former leaders to undermine healthcare workers' contract protections

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by SEIU:

"We worked really hard to win a good three-year contract at CHW, which just took effect last month. And we've had to work just as hard to keep divisive forces out of our hospital. That includes the people from CNA, who tried to disrupt our negotiations and our unit. It also now includes Sal Rosselli and his dangerous decertification scheme attacking our union and our contract. The fact that they are now mounting these attacks together is hypocritical and hurtful to me and fellow members. Their scheme to decertify our union is a dead end. It is a road I would never take or lead my fellow members to go down."

-- Sterling Johnson,

St. John Regional Medical Center

Patient Access Representative, 15 years at facility

Statement of UHW Trustee Eliseo Medina:

"Today, I marched in the rain with over six hundred union members --- nurses, home care workers, janitors, longshoreman, engineers, and others --- united in our efforts to restore America's prosperity and rebuild the middle class by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

"All over the state of California, hardworking men and women are facing foreclosures, wage and benefit cuts, job losses and assaults on their dignity. All over this country, people are struggling for a voice on the job and a chance to make a better life for their families. In the words of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) member Michelle Collins, "In this hard economy, a union and a union contract are the best protection workers have. No workers, including health caregivers, should face cruelty, abuse, or firing just because we exercise our right to form a union. We need free choice now."

"It is therefore especially difficult to understand why as union members all over the country are united and hopeful about making change that will help all workers, the disgraced former leaders of Ms. Collins' and Mr. Johnson's 140,000 member local union are trying to tear it down.

"Sal Rosselli and the former officers of UHW are engaging in efforts to destabilize and undermine the contract protections that UHW members employed at Catholic Healthcare West hospital had secured less than 6 months ago. At a time when healthcare workers across the country are united in the work to make universal healthcare a reality, Rosselli instead is directly jeopardizing workers' hard won gains and their union.

"Sal Rosselli and the former officers of UHW were removed after being found guilty of financial wrongdoing, misleading members and attempting to subvert the democratic processes of the union. Not even 18 hours after their removal from office, they claimed to have started a new organization whose main goal appears to be to divide and weaken the very local union they once took an oath to protect. One of Rosselli's team confessed to the Los Angeles Times: "If we have to tear everything down to build it back up again, so be it."

"There seems to be no bottom to the place where Rosselli and his crew are willing to sink.

"It is both reckless and feckless to play games with workers' lives. While our members like Sterling Johnson are concerned about the budget crisis and the welfare of their families, Sal Rosselli remains focused on his ego. Enough is enough.

"UHW is a principled and powerful, vibrant and democratic movement of healthcare workers, dedicated to the achievement of dignity and justice for all healthcare workers and quality, affordable healthcare for all. I call on Sal Rosselli and the former officers of UHW to respect their former union and cease their efforts that jeopardize the security and hard won gains of UHW's members."

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare, and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers, not just corporations and CEOs, benefit from today's global economy.


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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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