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SEIU UHW Members Win Key Vote to Keep Union at Calif. Hospital
Date:6/25/2009

Healthcare Workers in Hollister Reject Raid Attempt and Stick with SEIU

HOLLISTER, Calif., June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SEIU UHW healthcare workers at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister, Calif., voted decisively to stay in SEIU UHW. The election was triggered by the losing party, NUHW, a rival organization led by former officers of SEIU UHW who were removed from office in January and who have attempted to pull members away from the union. The state Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) sent ballots out June 3 to 160 members. PERB officials counted the workers' mail-in ballots this morning in Oakland.

Workers cheered the results of the vote. They vowed to carry momentum from the victory to the bargaining table, where they are pushing for a new contract. They also saw the vote strengthening the union and its advocacy for caregivers during a period of threats and cutbacks throughout California.

"At this time of economic struggle, we are so proud of having defended our union," says Mary Agredano Garcia, an activities assistant at the hospital and SEIU UHW steward. "We cut through the deceptions and stayed focused on our future."

Other workers say the vote removes any incentive for management to stall in bargaining. "The smoke has cleared, and we can celebrate being part of a large union, more than 2 million strong," says Triney Hernandez, a housekeeping worker at the hospital.

"Overcoming distractions means we have a more powerful voice with management. And they have no excuse for not listening to us. It takes us standing united to win a good contract that will keep jobs in our bargaining unit. Working together we can win even more: respect and fairness."

Garcia saw the attempt at division that led to the vote backfiring and the outcome strengthening the union at her hospital. "People like me became leaders because we know how indispensable our union is to us, our families, and our patients.

"That's really my message to members elsewhere: Standing up to division makes us stronger. We won't be pushed around by anyone, management or outsiders. Side by side with thousands of other members, we are prepared to fight for ourselves and our patients at the county, state, and national level."

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (SEIU UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical, and service classifications, with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. For more information, see www.seiu-uhw.org.

SEIU, with more than 2 million members in the United States and Canada, 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.

Contact: Hans Johnson, 213-422-2386


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SOURCE SEIU UHW
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