Here is encouraging news for SEIU members (and fee-payers) who are frustrated by a lack of support from their union: The story of one group of workers who ended their relationship with SEIU and discovered the power of a member-led union.
Once upon a time, Registered Nurses at Kaiser Sunset Los Angeles Medical Center (one of the largest hospitals in the nation) were represented by SEIU. Like many SEIU members, they were frustrated with their union representation.
Then they took action.
In the words of Kaiser RN LaNeta Fitzhugh, “With SEIU, our concerns about our workplace often went unaddressed. Our experience with SEIU was that more and more it was a union dedicated to the employer-friendly agendas of union officials in Washington D.C. and not the concerns of health care workers and our patients.”
As a result, the RN’s overwhelmingly voted to break with SEIU in January 2010. Instead of SEIU, they chose representation with the member-led National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). For these nurses, the results have been very positive.
According to Fitzhugh, “We elect our leaders. We participate in every aspect of bargaining our contracts. When there are important decisions that affect our workplace, we know that we will have a vote. In sum, we determine our relationship with our employer.”
You can read LaNeta Fitzhugh’s story in her own words: “The Power of a Member-Led Union” at The Huffington Post. She recounts the frustrations she and her colleagues experienced in dealing with SEIU in the past, and the benefits today of being part of a worker-led movement.
What’s her advice for other SEIU members who aspire to better representation? “Get the facts. Don’t let fear and scare tactics distract you from the power that you and your co-workers possess.”
If you’re currently represented by SEIU please get the facts about CPPEA and our vision for a fair and professional working environment.
CPPEA is a member-led organization dedicated to helping California State employees obtain the union representation they deserve!