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Biggest labor fight since the 1940s ends for Kaiser

by Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter | October 08, 2010

The election, SEIU-UHW hopes, will end the long battle between the unions and let the employees get on with their work.

Currently, there is an NUHW-filed lawsuit pending that says Kaiser illegally funded campaigning for the election, favoring SEIU-UHW. In August, a Kaiser spokesman told DOTmed News the company remains neutral, and that the "lawsuit appears to relate to the ongoing election dispute between NUHW and SEIU-UHW."

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"We continue to respect both the terms of our labor agreements and the rights of our employees to choose whether they want to be represented by a union and which union will represent them," the spokesman, John Nelson, told DOTmed News.

NLRB filed a federal suit against Kaiser on Monday, arguing that the employer wrongfully withheld raises and other benefits without giving NUHW the opportunity to bargain concerning the withholding conduct and its effects.

NLRB has asked for a temporary injunction for Kaiser to start bargaining collectively in good faith and to grant the discontinued benefits.

"All this other nonsense about the charges, that's sour grapes from a group resoundingly rejected by the workers," said Trossman. "No amount of whining or complaining is going to change the fact that they performed poorly in the election. The workers made up their mind in the election, and [NUHW] should accept that and move on."

While SEIU-UHW questions whether NUHW will be able to survive as a viable union with an ability to raise standards for workers, NUHW said it has a number of upcoming campaigns that it is funding and it continues to grow its revenues, the spokeswoman told DOTmed News by e-mail.

Sal Rosselli, NUHW's interim president, said in prepared remarks that "NUHW will exhaust every opportunity to achieve a fair election for Kaiser workers to choose their union, free of fear and intimidation."

According to a statement from NUHW, labor law experts say Kaiser's alleged support for SEIU-UHW will "likely lead the NLRB to throw out the results of the election and schedule a re-vote."

But SEIU-UHW isn't concerned in the least that that will happen, said Trossman.

"This is what you do to try to save face when you get dumped," he said.

Astrid Fiano contributed to this report.

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