USA – Judge rules in favor of workers who voted to join NUHW, finds Kaiser violated the law

Last Monday, an Administrative Law Judge ruled that Kaiser Permanente violated the law by withholding scheduled raises and benefits from 2,300 Southern California Kaiser workers who voted to leave SEIU and join NUHW in January.

In a 23-page finding, the judge ordered Kaiser to “immediately restore and apply” the scheduled wage increases, plus interest, and to resume the tuition reimbursement benefit and steward training benefit provided under the workers’ prior union contract. The judge’s ruling cited the “massive damage done” to workers’ rights by Kaiser’s withholding of the raises and benefits and characterized the company’s justification for its actions as “lack(ing) merit” and “without legal foundation.”

If allowed to stand as law, Judge Schmidt argued, Kaiser’s position “would seriously impair, if not virtually eliminate as a practical matter, the fundamental right of employees under Section 7 to change their bargaining representative.”

SEIU, knowing full well that Kaiser’s actions were illegal, nevertheless made Kaiser’s refusal to pay the raises and benefits the centerpiece of its misleading campaign to stop thousands more Kaiser workers from joining NUHW. During the recent election covering 43,000 employees, Kaiser and SEIU repeatedly threatened workers that they, too, would lose their pay and benefits if they voted to join NUHW. These threats are the subject of a separate and ongoing investigation by the NLRB.

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital caregivers stage candlelight vigil to protest proposed layoffs

Yesterday, more than 200 Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital caregivers and community members held a candlelight vigil to protest proposed layoffs and to protect patient care at the hospital serving more than 100,000 residents of Monterey County.

The hospital, whose operating profits are more than double the California average, has sought to lay off more than one hundred caregivers after paying $5 million to an outside consulting firm to find ways to “reduce labor costs.” The proposed layoffs are in violation of the California WARN Act, which protects workers from sudden and massive layoffs. The layoffs have also been undertaken in violation of provisions of state labor law that require employers to honor contractual agreements to bargain with the workers’ union over layoffs.

Read more at the Salinas Californian and watch local news coverage from KION here.

Workers at Los Alamitos stage picket

NUHW housekeepers employed by Hospital Housekeeping Systems (HHS) picketed Los Alamitos Medical Center yesterday to urge the hospital to renew its contract with the subcontractor.

HHS-employed housekeepers are currently working for poverty wages at Los Alamitos Medical Center, without affordable healthcare coverage and without adequate staffing.

Last month, workers negotiated a groundbreaking first union contract with HHS that provided a path out of poverty and a fully-paid, employer-provided individual health plan. But after workers unanimously ratified the tentative agreement, the hospital announced that it may discontinue its contract with the subcontractor, costing HHS workers their collective bargaining agreement and possibly their jobs.

Even as the hospital contemplates jeopardizing workers’ livelihoods to save a negligible amount of money, it is pushing a controversial major planned expansion through the Los Alamitos City Council with a price tag of $40-50 million for the first phase alone.

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