Friday, December 18, 2009

Victory for Memorial workers, NUHW, patient care, community, etc

First, the vote count.
Total votes:       576 out of 675 (85.3%) eligible

NUHW:              283 ( 49.1%)

No union:          263 ( 45.7%)

SEIU:               13 (  2.3%)

Contested votes:    17 (  3.0%)

Voided votes:        1 (  0.0%)

NUHW to SEIU votes: 21.8 to 1

NOTE: A few of the numbers corrected above based on comment below.

So as you can see we DESTROYED SEIU. And by "we" I mean mostly not me. The Zombies spent hundreds of thousands of dues paying members money to lose, and lose badly. The real work was done by eligible-to-vote workers and NUHW staff. The Zombies helped out a bit too what with their constant negative campaigning that backfired, shooting themselves in the foot on multiple occasions, gaining widespread contempt from everyone, and so on.

So as you can see not even the mighty Zombie/Memorial management war machine can defeat an upstart union that has widespread support and the backing of the workers.

What SEIU did wrong. They:
  • abandoned workers in January
  • didn't return numerous phone calls after the trusteeship
  • only showed interest in Memorial after worker selection of NUHW
  • refused to negotiate ground rules for campaigning
  • earned bad press in:
  • Empire Report
  • Beyond Chron
  • Green960
  • L.A. Times
  • North Bay Business Journal
  • Press Democrat
  • were condemned by the North Bay Labor Council
  • disregarded the previous guide for organizing at Catholic healthcare facilities "Respecting the Just Rights of Workers Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Union"
  • colluded with Memorial management
  • aggravated workers with repeated phone calls, house visits, and disrespected them with repetitive, often cartoon-ish mailers that said nothing about how SEIU would be a better choice
  • descended on Santa Rosa with 400 staffers to annoy 600+ workers, hence the 263 "Neither" votes
  • abused the legal system to delay the vote & frustrate the workers
  • and so on
What NUHW did right. THEY
  • built a relationship with the workers
  • ignored numerous taunts from the Zombies
  • secured support from the workers, community leaders, politicians, clergy, the labor council, numerous columnists, bloggers
  • choose to take the high road
  • and so on
What can workers, community member, politicians, and so on take from this election campaign and its awe-inspiring result? Bigger does not always mean better.

Or, if you prefer (as I do) my own creed: "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." Applied to this battle for worker representation: Just because you, SEIU, can outspend, outstaff, and outpublicize NUHW with dues payers money, out of state staff and cakes doesn't mean you should. All SEIU staff and lackeys involved in this campaign, from Megalomaniac Stern on down to the UHW Chicken Lady and ought to be ashamed of their behavior, the money they wasted and the credibility they've squandered.

And now just for fun: a music quote from my favorite band Tool's most energetic song Ticks & Leeches:
Is this what you wanted?
Is this what you had in mind?
'Cause this this is what you're getting.
I hope you


  1. Great news, and a heartfelt congratulations.

    But here's how it works - the actual total of votes cast was 577. To eliminate the need for a runoff, the NUHW needs 50% + 1, which would be 290. So, if out of those 17 challenged votes, they pick up 7, they're in. That doesn't happen, and there is a runoff between NUHW and No Union.

    Good Luck!

  2. Not quite true Anonymous. If for example NUHW picks up just one vote and at least 11 of the other ballots a determined to be ineligible voters then with the adjusted percentage NUHW would have 50%+1 with just 284 votes.

  3. I know the results are not yet certified but as it's been explained to me NUHW cannot, mathematically, fail to reach 50%+1 vote. So while a victory party may still be premature a sincere and heartfelt thank you from all of us at SRMH to all of you who have helped us achieve this historic victory certainly is not! This list includes but is not limited to, our wonderful community leaders(both Political and Faith Based), the organizers who worked tirelessly on this campaign(get some well deserved rest ladies and gents), the bloggers who helped immensely in getting our message out there and heard when the main stream media wouldn't cover us( yes Keyser this mean you ;)), all my coworkers who weather the terrible storm of harassment and intimidation put on by SEIU-SRMH Management to come out and vote your conscience(we didn't just beat one Goliath here but two at the same time my friends), and to Sal Rosselli and the leaders of NUHW for sticking with us at a difficult and crucial time in this young organizations life. Thanks to you all. God Bless.

  4. Your counting all seventeen challenges as if they are going to be legitamate voters. Do you know something? Please share! The "voided" one was probably voided by the Board correctly. So we have a total of 576 voters. Seventeen of them challenged and unopened and uncounted. So if they (challenges) were all proper votes.... 576 Divided by 2 =288+1= 289. They got 283 if half the challenged ballots end up legitamate (say 9) Thats 578 total,50% + one is 290. Nevermind... just read the previous post.

  5. D Cromier: please read Sierra Spartan's more comprehensive and straightforward explanation of the votes needed for NUHW to win or to force a runoff between NUHW and the Memorial Bridge crowd (the "Neither" vote crowd).