in charge of negotiating contracts with Kaiser. He was forced out of the
union after criticizing secret agreements with nursing home chains. He objected to language designed to prevent workers from reporting to government
regulators when patients were neglected and abused.
illegally colluded with the SEIU to ensure today's result, NUHW
officials said, because the hospital believed the entrenched union would
be less demanding during contract talks. Both Kaiser and the SEIU have
rejected these claims in the past. For the moment, at least, the SEIU
victory seems to be an endorsement of the 2.2 million-member union's
decision to devote significant resources and staff to a yearlong effort
to discredit the NUHW among Kaiser employees.
The service employees spent millions of dollars in the campaign, fearing that a victory for its rival would give that union the money and momentum to try and take away tens of thousands of other S.E.I.U. members in California.
"It's a victory, but the victory was very costly," said Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at U.C. Santa Barbara. Lichtenstein, an NUHW supporter, said the election has weakened SEIU. "It's no vindication. They've had two years of struggle. They've had to spend millions of bucks on this and have had to send all their staff out here," he said.
Based on what I know about the election (and there may be things we don't yet know), I would say it's unlikely, especially given the wide margin of victory. I would say that it was virtually inevitable that the result was going to be challenged whatever the outcome, but given the large margin of victory and what we know about the campaign, it seems unlikely that the board would overturn the result, which is a relatively infrequent remedy."
When the NLRB does overturn an election result it is usually as a result of employer misconduct (or sometimes due to contested votes that would have affected the outcome-- but here the margin of victory is too large), but the amount of misconduct has to be fairly significant. In private, Kaiser may have had a preference for the union that was part of the Coalition of Kaiser Unions, but it did not campaign for it (although, as you know, NUWH claims [Kaiser] illegally paid SEIU supporters to campaign during the election).
Of course, the board can also overturn the result due to misconduct by a rival union, but despite what is sometime said, the issues are not the same: anti-NUHW comments from SEIU supporters (or anti-SEIU statements from NUWH supporters) do not carry the same weight as anti-union comments from an employer, as supporters of the rival union do not hold economic power over their co-workers.
Kaiser seemed to let SEIU campaigners have the run of the place, despite work rules that limit nonstop campaigning.
The NUHW even filed a lawsuit, which in many respects was a microcosm of Rosselli's larger beef with Stern for being too cozy with employers. The complaint said some Kaiser workers campaigned full time against NUHW, rather than doing their real jobs, with knowledge of Kaiser bosses.
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSFOne worker said she had been interrupted so many times by SEIU campaigners that she told co-workers she felt she was being harassed. "So then they go up in employees' faces, and say, 'Am I harassing you?'"