Staunch Employee Opposition Forces Union out of Multiple Kaiser Permanente Facilities Across Southern California
**Los Angeles, CA (July 9, 2007)** – A group of four Kaiser Permanente employees have forced the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW) union to abandon multiple Kaiser Permanente units across the Southern California area after use of coercive union organizing methods. The action comes in the wake of unfair labor practice charges the employees filed just weeks earlier on June 21, and it will impact up to 400 Kaiser Permanente employees throughout the area.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys helped Lisa Eklund and three of her co-workers file the federal charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the SEIU-UHW union and Kaiser. The charges alleged that union officials deceived Kaiser employees into signing union “authorization” cards that would later be counted as “votes” favoring unionization. Union officials also falsely told employees that signing the card was merely a request for more information about unionizing and promised higher pay raises and benefits. Lastly, SEIU-UHW officials engaged in unlawful bargaining over the employees’ wages and working conditions before the employees had even selected union officials as their representatives.
On December 28, 2006, Kaiser management recognized SEIU-UHW on the basis of the “card check” count. However, Eklund’s charge highlights that SEIU-UHW union officials manipulated the size of the bargaining unit and secured signatures from employees who were ineligible to participate in the “card check” organizing drive. Upon the heath care employees’ request to disclose the names of employees who were eligible to participate, union officials were unable to indicate which employees were inside or outside of the alleged bargaining unit.
Within two weeks of filing the federal charges, the NLRB indicated its intention to formally investigate the apparently unlawful “card check” organizing scheme. Upon the NLRB Region 21’s initial investigation, SEIU-UHW union officials and Kaiser rapidly abandoned the “card check” count.
“SEIU officials have been repeatedly caught red handed running roughshod over employee rights during these coercive organizing drives,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “These campaigns give employees two basic choices- union ‘yes,’ or union ‘yes.’”
“Card check” union organizing strips workers of the limited protections of a government-supervised secret ballot election in deciding whether or not to unionize. Instead, union agents frequently mislead or badger workers one-on-one into signing cards that are then counted as “votes” favoring unionization.
Only months earlier National Right to Work Foundation attorneys forced SEIU Local 49 to abandon the coercive “card check” union organizing process in Oregon and Washington for six months because of repeated and widespread abuses.