8/15/08

SEIU-UHW fails to prove its existence

NLRB Judge smacks down sloppy organizers

The controversial decision by Stanford Medical Center to suspend recognition of a union representing 1,450 healthcare workers was affirmed by a judge in a National Labor Relations Board ruling on Friday. Administrative judge John J. McCarrick of San Francisco ruled that the union failed to properly prove to Stanford that it existed, thus violating labor rules.

In 1998, Stanford employees elected Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 715 as their workers’ union. In 2006, however, SEIU Local 715 and other local unions underwent a number of mergers that resulted in consolidation into the United Healthcare Workers (UHW) Union-West.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) withdrew recognition of the union this month, stating that their employees had elected SEIU Local 715, not UHW Union-West, as their workers’ union.

“The union engaged in unfair labor practices when they failed to notify us of this merger, and they failed to prove the existence of SEIU Local 715 to us,” said Sarah Staley, director of communications for LPCH.

But union officials disagree, arguing that Stanford is misleading the public about the conflict.

“All the National Labor Relations Board said was that Local 715 was supposed to have provided information to Stanford proving the union’s existence, and we didn’t,” said John Borsos, vice president of United Healthcare Workers. “Stanford, as usual, is taking something and completely distorting it. It’s a cover to justify their 10-year pattern of anti-union behavior.”

Stanford hospital employees will be voting to determine the future of their union representation in early September, in an election held by the National Labor Relations Board.

In anticipation of the election, SHC and LPCH administrators recently launched a Web site, www.stanfordpackardfacts.com, justifying the hospitals’ fair treatment of workers.

“We wanted to provide a one-stop, fact-based, around-the-clock resource to help our employees make the right decision on voting day,” Staley said.

Borsos, however, has a different view of the site.

“Stanford is wasting patient care dollars trying to fight the voices of caregivers at the workplace by trying to discourage them from voting for union representation,” he said.

The results of this dispute will be resolved on either Sept. 10 or 11.

“We expect to win with a super-majority,” Borsos said.

(daily.stanford.edu)

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