Calif. Hospital Workers Finally Boot the SEIU, Despite Union Bullying

‘This vote would have taken place months earlier without the red tape and restrictions hindering independent-minded employees…’

Workers Finally Boot the SEIU from a Calif. Hospital, Despite Union Bullying

USC Verdugo Hills Hospital / IMAGE: Keck Medicine of USC

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Healthcare workers at a Southern California hospital didn’t want the Service Employees International Union standing between them and their hospital employer, but the union’s bosses had no intention of honoring their wishes.

That changed Friday, when a regional director for the National Labor Relations Board certified the results of a recent hospital employees’ election to “decertify” the union, which only occurred after the SEIU did everything it could to stop it.

“Now, we can finally communicate freely with our employers without having a third party in between us tying our hands and stealing our money,” said Andrew Brown, a surgical buyer at USC Verdugo Hills hospital in Glendale, Calif.

Brown led the effort to oust the SEIU–United Healthcare Workers West in a drawn process that ultimately required the help of the National Right to Work Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to combating union abuses against workers.

The dispute started when Brown and his coworkers first filed a petition with the NLRB to hold a decertification election last year. Despite following NLRB guidelines, including collecting signatures from over 30 percent of his colleagues, the union successfully blocked the petition on a technicality.

Then, Brown tried again, this time with legal assistance from the Foundation. While staff attorneys requested an appeal, a new petition was filed and accepted, allowing the decertification election to finally take place.

Federal monitors from the NRLB then conducted a secret ballot election in January, with the majority of hospital workers voting to remove the union. After only three years in charge of labor relations, the hospital’s employees voted to get rid of the SEIU, 118-107.

But union officials still didn’t give up. The fought the outcome of the election by citing yet another technicality. Then on Friday, the union-driven fiasco finally ended.

“The Union’s excuses and delayed filings do not and cannot cure the defects in its failure to follow the Board’s strict and clear service rules,” states a final NLRB order condemning the SEIU.

“We can now put all this behind us and begin the process of reconciliation and start working together to bring the best outcome for our Verdugo Family,” said Brown after the ruling.

The victory is only the latest for the National Right to Work Foundation. Earlier this month, it won a significant case on behalf of public school employees in Michigan who were still being charged union dues long after they opted out of joining the state’s teachers’ union.

In January, the foundation took on the powerful United Teachers Union of Los Angeles over an alleged illegal dues-skimming scheme. It’s also eyeing a lawsuit against the state of Oregon if it proceeds to pass end-around legislation to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus decision, which exempts non-member workers from paying union dues as a condition of employment.

Following the USC Verdugo Hills victory, Mark Mix, the organization’s president, congratulated Brown and his colleagues on successfully removing the SEIU—but warned against belligerent union-friendly rules.

“This vote would have taken place months earlier without the red tape and restrictions hindering independent-minded employees and tipping the scales in favor of union bosses’ gamesmanship,” said Mix.

“This shows that union officials should spend less energy trying to trap workers and instead focus on respecting the wishes and needs of the employees they claim to ‘represent,’” he said.