Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This just in: someone from SEIU can't see how election loss might have happened.

As a comment to my previous entry shows, despite my best efforts to educate and enlighten, some people just can't be bothered with reading and thinking before commenting.
Yes, and no doubt NUHW will be able to negotiate a superior contract at SRMH, what with the overwhelming support represented by the vote of 283 of 675 members of the bargaining unit (42%), the opposition of 293 members (43%, counting 13 who voted for UHW, 263 who voted "no union" and 17 who cared enough to vote but whose votes were challenged by NUHW--think they are now NUHW supporters, whatever they were originally?), and 99 who didn't care enough to vote. How do the contracts NUHW has managed to negotiate so far stack up to the ones SEIU is boasting about? Hard to say BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN ANY.
Oh gentle reader who hides in the shadows and does not bother to keep with current events (Victory for Memorial workers, NUHW, patient care, community, etc) where do I start picking apart your woefully under-informed comment?

NUHW's ability to negotiate a good contract has nothing to do with how many workers voted for them. It's the bargaining team and the contracts bargained by the old UHW, better known as NUHW, that will be responsible for bargaining a superior contract.

I'm not sure where how you arrived at the 293 figure, but to assume the challenged ballots are all SEIU or all NUHW is absurd.

The 17 ballots were challenged by the Labor Board since eligibility was suspect. As such they remain unopened and beyond the reach of either union and the Memorial Bridge chrometophobes. Perhaps they were hired after the election, or are members of management. Their eligibility will be worked out by the Board and Memorial management, not SEIU or NUHW.

As for the 99 who didn't vote, I'm sure you'll agree part of them were on vacation, laid off, home ill, or had some other reasonable excuse for not voting.

The 283 out of 576 votes NUHW received brings them to 49.1%. Another 6 votes brings them to the 50%+1 threshold necessary to win an absolute majority.

Sierra Spartan at ¡Adiós, Andy! put it best: "Those 17 ballots cannot by themselves make NUHW lose the election, but they can prevent NUHW from avoiding a runoff, and as such they can also prevent any results from being certified by the NLRB," and more importantly: "In order to prevail in that scenario, all NUHW would have to achieve is 6 votes out of those 17 challenged votes cast (roughly 35%); by the same token, in order to force runoff, the "no union" slate has to get 12 out of the 17 challenged votes (70.5%)."

The good things are SEIU is out of the game and they have wasted $1-2 million for 13 votes. Hard to explain to members why a dues increase is needed when cash is burned that quickly.


  1. The ability to negotiate a contract has nothing to do with the mechanics of writing proposals or revising language to achieve a desired outcome. It has everything to do with the unity of the workers behind the negotiations. Ultimately, for a union, the question is the bottom-line one of, will these workers be willing to strike if necessary? And especially, would they be willing to strike if the sticking point is the union security clause requiring the payment of dues or dues-equivalents? That is why it matters whether an old-fashioned ass-whuppin' (SEIU prediction for Fresno) or landslide victory (your prediction for SRMH) happens, or instead there is merely a squeaker (SEIU over NUHW in Fresno; NUHW over no union at SRMH) victory. If there are 675 workers in a unit and less than half voted for the union, don't you think that the hospital management knows that and will act accordingly? Do you really think that the majority, who--no matter how you spin it--did not vote for the union, are going to go to the mat for the right of the union to collect dues?
    Since the worst that could happen with the 17 challenged ballots is that they all go to one of the non-NUHW choices and a run-off election occurs, and you are certain that NUHW has the support of the majority of the members, shouldn't NUHW be insisting that every vote be counted? Then, if a run-off does occur, there could be two benefits: 1. NUHW would have another chance to prove to SRMH management that they are stronger than they looked in the first go-round, and 2. NUHW would have a chance to do the basic education of its prospective members as to the benefits of unionization, which is the normal thing that a union does before a representational election instead of spending all of its time chasing a ghost union that never had a ghost of a chance.

  2. Anon @ 12:45. You should quit your faux concern. Clearly SEIU aided management in the large vote for "no union." Without SEIU there would have been a smaller "no union" vote because management used SEIU as their excuse not to sign and abide by ethical guidelines. This is a facility where the pro-union workers have been working for years to get a union. Everyone knew that it was going to be a tough election even without SEIU intervening and boosting the "no union" vote. The people in NUHW are very experienced at getting good contracts with their members. Even when the initial organizing campaign was difficult and the workers were split in their opinions. It's not like every time they went to the bargaining table for the first time they went with a 90% vote in the intial organizing vote. And STILL they were always able to work with the members to create a strong and unified bargaining team and get great contracts.
    And for the last time -- quit insisting that NUHW doesn't want "every vote counted." Even if they knew that every one of those 17 votes was for NUHW, they can't "insist" that they be counted -- the people who voted very well may not have been eligible to count. That's just the way it works, SEIU knows it too. Insisting that NUHW doesn't want those votes to "count," is silly. Especially since it was SEIU who didn't want the ballots to be dealt with the night of the election.
    You might have something to actually add to the discussion if you quit claiming that NUHW doesn't want to count the ballots and that it's in their hands to make the decision.

  3. To my ill-informed Memorial Bridge reader: union members strike against management, not their own union; executive boards handle the matters of dues amounts. Striking is used as a last resort by which time there is a great interest in stopping work to bring management back to the table for progressive negotiations.

    Grouping those who consciously voted Neither with those whom -- for whatever reason -- weren't able to vote assumes you speak on behalf of those 99 voters, the names of which weren't known at the time of the ballot count.

    I never said I was certain about the support among non-NUHW voters in the case of a run-off. I want to hear an NLRB employee state, unequivocally, that the winner is NUHW or no-union before I really start celebrating.

    As for basic education this will be a good deal easier now that the Zombies have left town and prospective members aren't being hammered by the Zombie war machine. 400+ staffers for 675 workers is overkill, as well as a waste of money, staff, and credibility.

    NUHW's message was about what they could do for the workers as opposed to the Zombies which spent untold gobs of money attacking NUHW, but NEVER offering details on their advantages. NUHW didn't have the time, money or need to chase the shell of a union that is today's UHW.