In fact, as Indybay notes, the SEIU organizers and staffers should be very nervous. First, there is no clear victor in the election and, more importantly, the SEIU chose these facilities to vote first (meaning the SEIU thought it had the election won), and, lastly, the SEIU might have cheated.
Workers at four Bay Area nursing homes owned by Pratap Poddatoori made a strong showing today in an election to change their union from SEIU to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), a member-led union established by healthcare workers after SEIU's takeover of their local union. The vote was 82 for NUHW, 85 for SEIU, and 4 votes for No Union, meaning neither side won more than half the votes cast. The labor board will schedule a runoff if there is still no majority after the issue of 13 contested ballots is resolved.
Despite coming up a few votes short of a clear victory, workers say they are proud they had a chance to vote and demonstrate their support for NUHW at facilities that SEIU officials claimed were firmly under SEIU's control. On the eve of the election, SEIU even resorted to cutting a deal with the employer to give certain workers wage increases in order to buy their votes—a violation of federal law that could result in the National Labor Relations Board overturning the election.
"We proved them wrong," said Linda Brown, a certified nursing assistant at Kyakameena Nursing Home. "SEIU wants to pretend workers don't support NUHW. But they picked us to vote first, and they still couldn't win. Our votes show how committed we are to taking back our union."
Last year, SEIU members at more than 360 healthcare facilities across California petitioned for elections to switch to NUHW, to restore democracy and accountability in their union after Washington, D.C. officials removed thousands of healthcare workers from elected union positions.
If this is the best the purple behemoth can do in turf it chose, it is in trouble.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.
For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.