Workers at five Catholic Healthcare West hospitals rejected a long union-organizing campaign in Northern California by the Service Employees International Union.
By a vote of 193-305, technical employees at Mercy Healthcare Sacramento turned down the union on Jan. 27.
Service employees at the same five hospitals voted 598-701 against the union, but enough votes were challenged that it might make a difference in the final outcome.
Regardless of the disposition of the challenged votes, the SEIU said it will file objections with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the elections. The union alleges that CHW used illegal tactics to sway employees' votes.
"We are pleased our employees made it clear that they want to continue working directly with us," Mercy Healthcare Sacramento said in a written statement.
Also on Jan. 27, service employees at three CHW hospitals in San Francisco voted 238-82 in favor of the SEIU. This election, however, was supervised not by the NLRB but by an independent arbitrator.
Lisa Hubbard, SEIU spokeswoman, said the union was mystified about why the hospital system agreed to an independent election in one region but insisted on the NLRB process in another. "We feel like the NLRB process is generally flawed," she said.
The union has worked for two years to organize the units. It asked CHW to recognize a bargaining unit through the card-check process, but CHW insisted on an NLRB secret ballot.