“Unique Union Election Ground Rules Undermined by Inter-Union Rivalry”

Secret Ballot: Solution to Union Rivalry?

“Unique Union Election Ground Rules Undermined by Inter-Union Rivalry”
Health Care Labor Report
April 2008

“If employees [of Catholic Healthcare Partners hospitals] chose not to join, SEIU would not campaign at our hospitals for at least three years. If employees chose to join, CHP and SEIU would work quickly to reach a just and fair contract. And, if employees joined but change their mind, we agreed to a similar expedited decertification process…”

But rivalry between warring unions resorted to intimidation…

“California Nurses Association/National Nurse Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) organizers worked to disrupt the elections by entering restricted patient care areas, distracting nurses and other caregivers while they were trying to take care of patients… confronting caregivers as they were going to or leaving work, urging them to vote “NO” [against SEIU] in the election. These tactics are exactly the sort of distractions we worked to avoid during the campaign period.”

What lack of privacy really means:

“While CHP succeeded in obtaining a restraining order against CAN/NNOC because of its tactics, it was too late to reverse the damage they had done to poison the calm atmosphere we were working to maintain during the election period.”

“CNA/NNOC’s primary claim was that this was a “sweet-heart deal” with a “hand-picked union” and failed to give associates a true choice…”

How could associates make a true choice while they’re being harassed by organizers?

“… due to CNA’s socially irresponsible actions, our associates, including nurses, plumbers, technicians, janitors, clerical staff and many others, were unable to have a voice on whether or not they want to join SEIU.”

Unable to have a voice. The point of maintaining a secret ballot is to safeguard the right to a vote free of fear or intimidation. Why is it that even when sabotaging each other, unions still remain blind to the importance of why a private ballot in an election is so important? The choice between two unions, and the choice of whether to join a union or not, both cannot be made in good faith without privacy.