5/10/08

SEIU desert organizers: Sore losers

With the outcome of an election held May 6 and 7 among 1,000 nurses over union representation at three Las Vegas hospitals yet to be determined, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) nurses are renewing their call for an end to the divisive actions of the California Nurses Association.

The CNA's months-long campaign of lies and false promises failed to capture enough votes to lure nurses away from SEIU. With 400 votes for CNA, 377 for SEIU, and 26 for no union, neither organization obtained the 50 percent of all votes required to win. The National Labor Relations Board must review the six challenged ballots and will likely set a date for a runoff election.

"Nurses in Las Vegas have no use for CNA's destructive tactics," said Sandi Naugle, RN at Catholic Healthcare West's (CHW) St. Rose de Lima hospital, where SEIU nurses and healthcare workers have been negotiating their third union contract since forming a union with SEIU in 2004. "We want to move forward - and negotiate the best possible contract so we can deliver the best possible care."

SEIU leaders are hoping the indeterminate election results will put an end to the in-fighting and institutional rivalries that are dividing the labor movement at the worst possible time.

"We have an opportunity to elect a pro-worker president, bring health care coverage to the 50 million people who don't have it, and change the laws to guarantee all workers the freedom to form a union," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "When unions waste time and resources on efforts to re-organize the already organized, unorganized workers lose, the labor movement loses, and progressive causes lose most of all."

"We will sign a mutual no-raid agreement with the CNA and its allied organizations anytime and anywhere," Stern added. "It's time to work together to unite the 85% of registered nurses who don't have a union, instead of fighting over the 15% who do."

Over the past several months, the RNs at CHW's St. Rose Dominican hospitals say they were inundated with a series of distortions and untruthful statements from the CNA. When the CNA filed for an election in March, they overstated their support among the nurses by including 40 RNs who had previously revoked their signatures on CNA cards. The CNA routinely and intentionally misled nurses, and there are reports that many nurses received intimidating phone calls that included anonymous threats against RNs who were not voting for the CNA.

In addition to "raiding" in Las Vegas, the CNA is actively engaged in efforts to decertify SEIU nurses throughout California and other states. In March, the CNA waged an aggressive "vote no" campaign in Ohio, forcing the cancellation of union elections for 8,300 nurses and hospital workers in nine hospitals. In recent years the CNA also has raided other unions or intervened in other unions' organizing drives in Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and other states.

"CNA's behavior in attempting to destroy our union at St. Rose is shameful," said Shauna Hamel, RN at St. Rose Siena and SEIU Nevada member. "Hundreds of thousands of nurses and healthcare workers across the country struggle to provide quality patient care without the protection of a union. Instead of helping them, CNA sought to divide St. Rose nurses and staff while we were actively bargaining to once again raise healthcare standards in Nevada."

For more information, visit www.ShameOnCNA.org .

SOURCE Service Employees International Union

(sunherald.com)

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