People join unions because they want “representation.” The union tells them that when the going gets tough, we’ll be here to fight for you. For your respect. For your working conditions. The list goes on.
But what about when your union doesn’t fight for you? After years of paying dues for representation, that’s exactly what happened to Starla Rollins.
Rollins is a member of SEIU-UHW and served as a Ward Clerk at Dignity Health’s Community Hospital of San Bernardino for over 20 years. In 2012, Dignity Health issued a “reduction in force” and Rollins was laid off.
Unions are huge on seniority (the people who have been here the longest are the last to get laid off and the first to get promoted, they make the most money, etc.). This system is a foundation of union representation across the board. This is why it’s so surprising that when Rollins urged her union to enforce the seniority agreement in her contract, they refused. And what’s more, when Rollins filed a grievance against the hospital, SEIU-UHW ignored it.
So Rollins sued her union. SEIU-UHW officials will stand trial for failure to represent their member. (Fun Fact: This happens all the time. Just in the last month, there have been 163 charges filed by members against their unions for failure to represent.)
Rollins isn’t the only SEIU-UHW member who knows her union is “failing to provide basic support to its members”. Another 250 workers at College Hospital Cerritos ditched SEIU-UHW this month.
In other SEIU news, one personal care assistant in Connecticut is being harassed by SEIU for refusing to join the union. More details here.
*ULP data gathered from LRIRightNow.com