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Kadlec Workers Vote to Join SEIU Union, Will Join Statewide Group

Kadlec workers vote to form union under SEIU umbrella (Google Street View)
Kadlec workers vote to form union under SEIU umbrella (Google Street View)

After a vote was held April 10-20th, over 800 workers at Kadlec Regional Medical Center have chosen to form a union that will be part of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) 1199NW.

The workers include nursing assistants, radiology techs, food service and dietary workers, housekeepers and others. According to information released by SEIU, the next step will be to select a bargaining committee, identify bargaining ‘priorities’ and negotiate a contract. Officials did not say if the workers specifically only worked at the main Regional Medical Center, or if any work for one of Kadlecs’ other healthcare provider branches.

The Union says it’s been working with the workers for the last six months. SEIU says the margin of the vote was 492 in favor, 297 against.

SEIU, which was formerly once a part of the AFL-CIO, has been the headlines often the last 10-15 years. It’s one of, if not the biggest, contributors to political causes and candidates. Nearly 99% of it’s major political contributions go towards Democratic candidates. SEIU has also been behind efforts to unionize fast food workers.

SEIU has also been behind the attempted $15 minimum wage for fast food workers in Washington state with the Working Washington drive in 2015.. According to the Everett Herald, SEIU has been at the center of controversy over dues collections from home care workers. There are about 35,000 such ‘independent contractors’ across Washington state, who provide in-home health care for disabled, sick or elderly people who need it. They are reimbursed by the state.

IN 2001, SEIU helped push through a little-publicized initiative, I-775, which the Herald said in January 2016 helped pave the way for these workers to be put under Washington state labor laws. That enabled the union to extract dues from these workers reimbursements, but offers little in the way of representation. The Herald also says the dues collected from these home-care workers are higher than most unions. The Herald says such collection practices and methods in this case are illegal.

The Herald says by it’s own admission, SEIU spends almost 40% of it’s budget on political activity nationally.

The Kadlec workers will be a part of some 17,000 other SEIU workers who are employed at Providence Healthcare facilities in Washington state.

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