A splinter labor organization that was formed in the wake of a power struggle with the Service Employees International Union has lost a second major battle in its fight to take workers from the SEIU and represent them.
Alan Reichard, regional director with the National Labor Relations Board office in Oakland, Calif., ruled April 8 that the upstart labor group, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, or NUHW, had no legal basis for attempting to hold elections to represent thousands of hospital workers across 33 bargaining units at Kaiser Permanente hospitals. On March 17, NLRB Regional Director Joseph Norelli in San Francisco similarly ruled that the new rival group could not seek to represent the SEIUs workers at Catholic Healthcare West hospitals.
Both decisions rested on the same legal principle: that the SEIU had ongoing existing contracts that could not be interfered with by an outside party.
The SEIU represents about 140,000 healthcare workers in California, including 78,000 in hospitals. The NUHW is composed mainly of former SEIU leaders who were ousted in a bitter trusteeship battle. On April 8, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that NUHW officials must return to SEIU all documents, both written and electronic, and cease any further copying of the records in a weeks time.