SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Kaiser Permanente launched a malicious campaign against the National Union of Healthcare Workers, “in anticipation of National Labor Relations Board elections that will determine which union should represent Kaiser Permanente’s employees,” the union claims. The NUHW claims Kaiser paid members of a rival union to badmouth it in the workplace.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers claims Kaiser paid “contract specialists” with rival Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, to “vilify and denigrate” NUHW through leaflets and flyers and “interrogated” Kaiser employees about their loyalty to the SEIU-UHW.
Trouble between the two unions began in January last year, when former officers of SEIU-UHW decided to form NUHW and the SEIU “embarked on a well-financed, well-lawyered campaign to prevent representation elections from going forward,” according to the complaint.
Nine Kaiser Permanente employees joined the NUHW as plaintiffs and claim that Kaiser Foundation Hospitals paid SEIU-UHW representatives to solicit support by leading staff members through scripted conversations that usually ended with questioning the employees about “whether he or she could be counted on to support SEIU-UHW and oppose NUHW.”
At the Kaiser West Los Angeles Medical Center, a contract specialist from the SEIU-UHW called employees over to a table as they entered the cafeteria “and said negative things about NUHW leaders, including that they are ‘liars’ and ‘thieves’ and that ‘they stole my money,'” according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs claim this woman was paid by Kaiser for the time she spent campaigning against the NUHW.
NUHW demands an injunction prohibiting Kaiser from paying SEIU representatives for campaigning against them, in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act. It is represented by Jonathan Siegel with Siegel and Lewitter of Oakland.