NLRB to Investigate SEIU for Coercion at Medical CenterOn Jul 3, 2012 Dirty tactics | Scandals | Union Mismanagement
The Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles on Wednesday authorized a complaint against a major healthcare union and hospital officials alleging they forced workers to accept an unwanted union in the workplace.
Marlene Felter of Costa Mesa filed charges with the NLRB alleging that Service Employees International Union Healthcare Workers West officials and Chapman Medical Center colluded to manipulate a union-organizing vote to make the union represent the workers.
This is encouraging news, particularly given that the SEIU has been very aggressive about their tactics, fighting both employers and employees to the point of opposing the ability for employers to give their employees raises.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the group representing the employees legal interests, has done a great job of encouraging the NLRB to pursue the case, in which the SEIU made backroom deals with the employers to coerce the employees to join and extract their dues:
SEIU officials and Chapman Medical Center management entered into a backroom deal, known as a so-called “neutrality agreement,” in which company officials granted union operatives access to company facilities to conduct a coercive “card check” organizing campaign, and waived the right to have a federally-supervised secret ballot election to determine whether employees wished to be unionized. Union organizers frequently use “card check” organizing tactics to bribe, browbeat, or cajole workers into forced-union-dues payments against their will.
In response to the union’s coercive tactics, a majority of hospital workers signed cards, letters, and petitions stating that they did not want the SEIU bosses’ so-called “representation.” Instead of respecting the employees’ wishes, Chapman officials accepted SEIU officials as the workers’ monopoly bargaining agents after a rigged “card count” was held. Chapman and SEIU officials were in the process of negotiating a contract which almost certainly would include a provision to force the workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, because California does not have a Right to Work law that makes union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary.
Fortunately for the employees, NRTW’s actions led to the NLRB’s involvement. Had there been no intervention, the SEIU’s agreement with the employer would have stood, and the clearly expressed intent of the workers would have been overruled as mandatory dues were removed from their paychecks.
What is clear is that when the employees are opposed to the SEIU, the SEIU will go behind the employees backs to create deals that leave them out. This fundamentally opposed to the story the unions try to tell of helping protect worker’s rights. When the union is prioritizing dues collection over workers rights, they’ve lost sight of their primary purpose and need to be penalized.
This is a case we will be pursuing- both to see how the NLRB rules and how the SEIU responds. In any case, Obama’s NLRB has an opportunity to reign in a union that has overstepped its bounds, and the SEIU has an opportunity to change course for the better.