By Edwin S. Hopson
On August 10, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board issued an order that will lead to a re-run of a mail ballot election held in the fall of 2010 involving some 43,000 employees of Kaiser Permanente in California. This was the largest mail ballot election ever conducted by the NLRB. The employees were voting on whether to remain represented by their current union — United Healthcare Workers, affiliated with the SEIU, or to select the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), a new union which had been created by former SEIU officials. The other option on the ballot was to select “no union.”
In the first election last fall, a majority of employees voted to retain the SEIU affiliated union. Objections were filed by NUHW after the election and, in July, 2011, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Lana Parke issued a report following a hearing on objections, sustaining some of the objections and recommending the original election results be set aside and a new election conducted.
The Board’s order was signed by Chairman Wilma B. Liebman and Members Brian Hayes and Mark Gaston Pearce, with Member Craig Becker recused.