425 Kaiser Permanente optical workers change unions

Kaiser Permanente optical workers in Northern California have voted to switch their union membership, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

The union said Feb. 4 that workers want a stronger contract and voted 217-150 to switch from National Union of Healthcare Workers to SEIU-UHW.

The vote affects 425 workers at 44 facilities in 29 Northern California cities, including Oakland, where Kaiser is headquartered. They join the 57,000 other Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers statewide who are represented by SEIU-UHW.

"Every day we provide outstanding service to Kaiser patients, and it was well past time for our pay and benefits to reflect the work we do," Paul Martinez, an optical worker in Richmond, Calif., said in a news release. "By joining SEIU-UHW, our work will be more appreciated and we will have a stronger voice to speak up about patient care and job conditions."

Kaiser Permanente optical workers in Northern California joined the National Union of Healthcare Workers 10 years ago, after decertifying SEIU-UHW. The vote to rejoin SEIU-UHW took place Feb. 3 following a four-year contract reached in September between SEIU-UHW and Kaiser Permanente.

In response, National Union of Healthcare Workers President Sal Rosselli said the union respects the right of all workers to choose their representation.

"Our focus remains on further strengthening our union and empowering our members to improve their lives and protect their patients," he said.

National Union of Healthcare Workers represents 4,500 Kaiser Permanente employees in California.

 

 

 

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