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SEIU: Thousands of Ohio Nurses and Other Healthcare Employees Denied a Voice at Work After Vicious Union-Busting Campaign by the California Nurses Association
Date:3/11/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Ohio saw their dreams of forming a union derailed today after the California Nurses Association flooded the state with hostile organizers and bombarded workers with wildly false and misleading leaflets and phone calls urging them to vote against the union.

In the face of the union-busting onslaught by CNA, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, the workers have for now called off their elections to join District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at nine Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals in Ohio. AFL-CIO officials refused to intervene to stop CNA's union-busting campaign.

"It's hard for us to imagine how an organization that claims to be a union could purposely do what the CNA has done to us and our families," said Sue Allen, a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio. "We have read all the words about how they try to justify this, but when compared to the needs of our families and needs of our patients, they show a complete disregard for basic fairness and support for working people. The can has brought harm to thousands of workers and families in Ohio, and they should be ashamed of what they have done."

For three years the workers joined with SEIU members, leaders and staff to form their union. They sent letters to CHP officials, mobilized community support, campaigned for fair organizing rules, and signed cards saying they wanted to unite in SEIU. The effort resulted in ground rules agreed to by the workers and CHP for fair and democratic votes, which were scheduled for Wednesday and Friday of this week.

"CNA knows full well that the agreement for fair elections these workers achieved after three years is ethical, principled, and fair. In fact, CNA has used this same procedure many times in California," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "Their distortions and holier-than-thou statements are nothing more than a flimsy cover for out-and-out union busting that we normally see from employers, not organizations that claim to care about workers."

Ohio workers also rejected CNA's claims that SEIU was denying workers a choice.

"Our efforts to unite for better jobs and health care were not a secret," said Marianne Heider, a registered nurse at Mercy-Western Hills Hospital in Cincinnati. "At any time during those three years the can could have come and presented their union, compared themselves to SEIU, and asked us to make a choice. But they didn't. So it is obvious to us that their sole intention was to destroy what we have built."

With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest healthcare union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.


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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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