NUHW in Fresno: Rocking the 5-5-9

Local California blogger Adios Andy has a great post up about how workers from all over California are volunteering in the upcoming June election in which 10,000 Fresno County homecare workers are seeking to leave SEIU and join NUHW.

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers was in Fresno yesterday to endorse NUHW and rally homecare workers in Fresno County:

Fresno represents, as I noted last week reporting on NUHW’s landslide victory in the election at Doctor’s San Pablo, grassroots union democracy in action:

Starting in June ballots will be delivered to 10,000 homecare workers in Fresno County. 2,500 of those workers petitioned to join NUHW this spring in a grassroots campaign that won 1,000 more signatures than were necessary to secure an election to choose NUHW. Hundreds of fellow healthcare workers from across the state have volunteered to go to Fresno and help Fresno homecare workers win their election and join NUHW.

As Cal Winslow wrote in Counterpunch, Fresno is also Ground Zero for “bottom up” trade union activism:

The fundamental issues in the Fresno contest are clear then – the NUHW, if it wins this election, will maintain and build on standards fought for and won by members of the now wrecked UHW, including restoring recent Fresno County proposed wage cuts, while fighting for healthcare benefits for all, and challenging state caps on wages and benefits and a system that perpetuates for these workers a cycle of permanent poverty.

Fresno, is not, however, the only location for NUHW worker activism. Kaiser workers in Stockton California rallied yesterday to express their democratic right to be represented by the union of their choice. And workers at Alameda County Medical Center have launched their own NUHW blog.

I’m on the ground in Fresno right now and will be keeping NUHW online activists up to date about all the developments at our FACEBOOK solidarity group and at my TWITTER feed.

If you are in California and you’d like to join the workers building NUHW and help Fresno homecare workers win an election to join their own union, you can VOLUNTEER by signing up here. There are phonebanking opportunities this weekend in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco.

{Paul Delehanty is an employee of the workers building NUHW.}

One thought on “NUHW in Fresno: Rocking the 5-5-9”

  1. of resignation from a former SEIU organizer that directly relates to the Fresno homecare election and the importance of workers having a democratic voice in their union:

    A few months ago, I was asked by SEIU to come to Fresno to be the sole witness in an arbitration over the employer’s plans to reduce all 9,500 workers’ wages mid-contract. It was during that experience that I witnessed the most morally reprehensible conduct that I have ever seen from people who honor themselves with the name “union leader”:

    I saw the deputy trustee of UHW for homecare…one of our own from 1199…bar the workers, about 40 of them, from coming into their own arbitration to even silently witness it. I stood in shock as she told the workers, “I have decided it’s not in the interest of the workers for you to be here.” I walked away in disgust when she turned to me and said, “You know these people. You have to tell them to leave.” It was their own arbitration over their wage.

    I did know many of those people. They were my friends and comrades. Several were members of the bargaining committee – the people who should have been called by SEIU as witnesses, who would have helped us win. I felt sick.

    At every turn, the trustees placed political considerations above principle and above the tactical decisions that would have helped the workers stave off the pay cut. They excluded the workers from every step in their own arbitration. They made public settlement proposals that accepted the premise of the employer’s incorrect case after the arbitration and before the (negative) judgment. They refused to allow me or, I assume, any of the workers to review the employer’s post arbitration brief or SEIU’s post trial brief. The results could have been predicted.

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