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Federal jury rules against new union seeking to represent healthcare workers

A federal jury in San Francisco ruled Friday against an insurgent union fighting the giant Service Employees International Union for representation of tens of thousands of healthcare workers throughout California.

The civil case is the latest chapter in the nasty battle pitting the breakaway National Union of Healthcare Workers against the SEIU, one of the nation’s largest unions.

The rival group split off from the SEIU in January 2009 amid a bitter jurisdictional dispute. The SEIU filed suit in federal court, accusing the breakaway unit and its leaders of sabotage, theft, vandalism and other offenses. The NUHW and its leader, Sal Rosselli, denied any wrongdoing.

The SEIU originally sought some $25 million in damages. Testimony in the case lasted almost two weeks in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The federal jury, while finding in SEIU’s favor, awarded a much smaller amount, though how much the NUHW is required to pay remained in dispute. The SEIU said the rival union and its officers, including Rosselli, are liable for more than $1.5 million in damages. The NUHW said the amount owed was $737,850.

The SEIU hailed the verdict in a case that exposed “a scheme to undermine the well-being of union members.”

The NUHW called the lawsuit part of a “smear campaign” and said it planned to appeal.

The rival union said the case cost the SEIU $10 million in legal fees. Steve Trossman, an SEIU spokesman, called the figure “totally fabricated,” adding that the legal fees were probably less than $5 million.

The NUHW has been mounting an aggressive effort to unseat the SEIU as collective bargaining representative for healthcare workers at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other sites throughout the state. The bitter battle has split union ranks nationwide.

-- Patrick J. McDonnell

Comments () | Archives (10)

Rather than getting more people into the union movement, these unions try to cannibalize each other. Disgusting.

@richard ivy sounds to me like a jury found in favor of SEIU and there was one disgusting "cannibal" in this scenario, nuhw.

Unions that exist only to negotiate artificially supported wages are disgusting. Healthcare workers don't need protection from dangerous working conditions. Protection from dangerous working conditions should be the only legal purpose of a union.

seiu spent more than $10 million dollars from union dues to get what... less than $740,000? not a smart move in this economy.

what a waste of union money!

even at "only" 5 million dollars of wasted union dues, couldn't seiu of thought of a better use- like listening to its due paying members wants and needs rather than mouthgagging them with trusteeship and then stomping on a lil'union called nuhw. feeling threatened seiu?????

The SEIU is primarily a dues collection organization. That is their central purpose. This dispute is simply a mafia-style turf war over the membership's dues income.

The very best thing for the country would be a prohibition on mandatory dues paying in public sector unions [open shop], which feed at the public trough at the direct expense of hard-bitten taxpayers.

Good article, health care issues is very informative to all of us,give more detail about the article. Thanks for this super blog.

Sal Rosselli and his little playmates cheated the membership of UHW by forming NUHW while still on the UHW payroll, using UHW resources paid for by UHW members, and then they lied about it in court, under oath. It really doesn't matter how much UHW spent to bring the case to court or how much UHW was awarded in damages. As the old joke goes, the jury agreed unanimously with UHW as to what Sal and his friends are. The only dispute was as to the price.

I'm a member of SEIU-UHW and proud of it!!!
For me it wasn't about the money it was about the truth. I was shocked to hear somethings that I didn't even know had happened. You have to remember that both sides put on their case. It was up to a jury of 9 to hear both sides and then to come back with a verdict. We got the verdict that we had hoped for. Yes 12 of the defendents were cleared but the ones that did the most damage to OUR UNION (UHW) now will have to pay for what they did to us. Not just in money, but with the truth being out there for everyone to see. NUHW calls it a "smear campaign" because they lost. What's the problem? They had defense lawyers that just couldn't counter the evidence against them.

it is so sad that the people from seiu/uhw have been told lies for so long by there union SEIU/UHW they start believing there own lies, these people forget how to tell the thruth, ALL SEIU/UHW does is take your union dues they do not represent you they try to get there own members fired if you disagree with them. They will statrt tyring to run to the rescuea few months before you get your vote well guess what seiu it is to late ! You have done this to long and you have made it obvious YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE MEMBERS OUR LIVES OUR FEELINGS YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT THE GREEN STUFF. WE WILL STAND BEHIND NUHW THEY DID WHAT WE ASKED THEM TO DO AND THAT WAS KEEP OUR UNION NUHW A UNION WHO CARES ABOUT THE MEMBERS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR US WHEN I WAS HELPING ORGANIZE OTHER NONUNION HOSPITALS I NEED TO SEE SEIU/UHW THERE HELPING YOU ARE A JOKE YOU ARE LIARS YOU ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE LABOR MOVEMENT. The days of seiu/uhw being in CAlifornia are numbered ADIOS SEIU/UHW AND TAKE YOUR PURPLE PATTYWAGON WITH YOU BECAUSE EVERYONE THAT RIDES IN IT SHOULD BE IN JAIL.

This was a labor issue handled in a civil count. What is federal in this? And what lying did Sal and company do to members? Really, the only thing the leaders of NUHW are guilty of is trying to fight off the Trusteeship and protect our rights.
If they owe wages for breach of employment contract, well, then I suppose that is the price democracy and justice. They took one for the betterment of the people.

UHW doesn't exist anymore. It's just SEIU. The heart of UHW was ripped out, then formed a body of it's own: NUHW. SEIU-UHW is a mere shell, a Homunculus if you will.

There's no artificially supported wages in the healthcare industry. St. Johns in Oxnard, CA lowball Rad Techs at $22/hour starting wage, cover some medical and dental/optical, and have a 401k. There's your open shop. Kaiser Rad Techs start at $32/hour, paid medical for life, 401k, pension, life balance days, more vacation and sick time paid, pay well for CEUs and free birthing. That's what the union can do for workers. Get paid for what you're worth. With 2 degrees and 3 licenses, you better believe I feel I'm woth more that $22/hr. And that is all thanks to Sal Roselli in California and the Unions in California. Big Corporate makes a lot of money, why shouldn't we?


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