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NUHW and CNA Align Against SEIU

The bitter battle between the California Nurses Association (CNA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that raged until the installation of a noncompetition agreement in 2009 recently reignited when the CNA and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) officially announced an affiliation agreementbetween the two groups.According to the new alliance, the two groups will remain autonomous while sharing personnel and financial resources, namely in an effort to steer the market of the unionization of healthcare workers toward themselves and away from SEIU, of which nearly half of its members are in the healthcare industry.

The alliance’s (NUHW-CNA) top priority is the acquisition of 43,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente service and technical workers, which would suck more than $40 million a year in membership dues from SEIU, making it a prime score for the NUHW after it lost the unit in a 2010 election.

In the time since, the NLRB struck-down the election and ordered round two, which is expected to take place in 2013.

The rivalry between SEIU and the NUHW (founded in 2009, when one of the largest SEIU locals, SEIU Healthcare West, rebelled against trusteeship by SEIU International) heated up when SEIU filed a lawsuit against NUHW leaders, only to be trumped by Debbie Schneider, a top SEIU official who gave sworn testimony about her experiences – specifically the covert efforts by SEIU top officials to raid the CNA and illegally interfere with CNA’s internal membership elections.

The agreement between the CNA and SEIU expired when 2012 did, thus allowing for the NUHW-CNA alliance to make its move on the SEIU represented Kaiser unit.

In These Times, a non-profit magazine, produced this in-depth report on the nature of the NUHW-CNA alliance and the strategic move for the Kaiser contract.

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