Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Health Care Union Fight Goes to Kaiser

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 8:37 AM

The endless battle between health care union leader Sal Rosselli and the Service Employees International Union moves to Kaiser Permanente next month, when 44,000 hospital workers are scheduled to vote whether to stay in SEIU or jump over to the new union Rosselli has formed, the National Union of Healthcare Workers. This fight has been going on for years, and while the details are more complicated than you probably want to know, the gist is this: Rosselli, who ran a Bay Area local, repeatedly claimed that SEIU leaders were so desperate to expand the union's membership into nursing homes that they agreed to work rules banning nursing home employees from reporting patient abuses to government officials. As the rhetoric between Rosselli and the national group grew more heated, then-SEIU national leader Andy Stern ousted Rosselli and placed the local into a trusteeship. Rosselli and his colleagues promptly formed a rival union, and the SEIU sued him, claiming that he was laying the groundwork for such a union while still drawing a paycheck from the national group. The Chronicle reports that starting in September, workers at Kaiser will start voting on which group they want representing them in future contract negotiations.

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