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Friday, January 9, 2009

SEIU Moves to Dismantle California Health Care Affiliate

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Service Employees International President Andy Stern today advanced a threat to dismantle the union's 150,000-member Northern California health care affiliate, announcing plans to move some 65,000 workers into a new group dedicated solely to providers of long-term nursing care.

The move is seen in U.S. Labor movement circles as a ploy to neuter Sal Rosselli, president of United Health Care Workers - West.

Rosselli has clashed with Stern over  a 2004 agreement with nursing home chains in which the union supported legislation curtailing patient rights in exchange for permission to allow the union to recruit members at certain facilities. Today's move erodes Rosselli's clout by two-fifths, and paves the way for a new nursing home lobbying/organizing agreement. The press release follows the jump.


New Political and Economic Heavyweight to Fight Cuts in Patient Care and Worker Pay WASHINGTON, DC-The International Executive Board of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today voted overwhelmingly to adopt the recommendations of an outside hearing officer, based on a policy first established at the 2000 SEIU Convention eight years ago, to have home care and nursing home workers in three SEIU local unions in California unite into a single local union to create the nation's largest and most powerful organization of long term care workers - 240,000 strong.

"The evolution of SEIU jurisdictional policy and practice since the 2000 SEIU Convention demonstrates a clear trend toward consolidating SEIU local unions on industrial and geographical lines," wrote Leonard Page, former General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, in his report to the IEB. "By implementing its jurisdictional policy, SEIU has been able to create local unions of the size and resources to successfully mount the organizing, political and collective bargaining campaigns that have delivered for members.... My recommendation is that, for the present, California long term care members should have their own SEIU local union devoted exclusively to the needs of these workers."

The Board vote affirms a broad SEIU policy set by the elected representatives of SEIU members at its Convention in 2000 and re-affirmed in 2004. In June 2008, elected member delegates to SEIU Convention debated the specific issue of jurisdiction for our California long term care members and also voted overwhelmingly to apply the policy favoring consolidating long term care workers in each state into the same local union.

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