Sunday, 30 March 2008

Ohio hospitals: campaign or collaborate

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is trying to organise 8,000 nurses in the Catholic Healthcare Partners facilities in Ohio. A vote on union respresentation was cancelled after criticisms from a militant union.
SEIU and management agreed to have an election on union representation and not to campaign prior to the election. “To avoid the conflict and negative tension typically caused by organising campaigns ... neither managers nor union representatives will approach you or even answer questions if you approach them”, a letter to staff at a Lima hospital read.
An SEIU supporter explained that the union has been trying to organise the hospitals for years, and has met with severe resistance. Therefore, it now tries to get to represent the workers through an election agreed upon with management. “I would tell people, we're working on a different level to make sure we could have an election without the intimidation we saw at the beginning of the campaign”, she told Labor Notes.
A spokesperson of a more militant nurses' union disagrees: “When you don't have a strong base of support you're undermining labour organisation for everyone. The philosophy should not be a union at any cost, it should be to have strong support and a democratic process”.
Labor Notes

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