• The NLRB announced one of the largest ever mail ballot elections to begin on September 13, 2010, for more than 40,000 employees at Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout California. The election will pit United Healthcare Workers-West, a SEIU Local that currently represents the employees, against National Union of Healthcare Workers. NUHW was formed in 2009 by leaders who were ousted from UHW and filed an election petition with the NLRB in June seeking election for approximately 45,000 technical, service, and clerical workers at Kaiser facilities. Employees will also have the choice of voting against union representation. Ballots must be received by October 4 and votes will be counted October 6-8. If no option receives a majority, employees will vote in a run-off election between the top two vote-getters. Kaiser has chosen to remain neutral in the election. NUHW has also filed for elections in three other units of Kaiser employees in Northern California including 1,300 mental health professionals, 350 health care professionals, and some 380 optical workers. UHW is asserting that contracts in those units bar any election. The NLRB has not yet resolved that issue.
  • Beverage workers, including 391 eligible bartenders, bar porters, and servers, at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut voted in favor of representation by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371 by a margin of 190 votes for to 145 votes against representation. Foxwoods plans to challenge the election results on the ground that the NLRB does not have jurisdiction over an area run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The union is willing to proceed to negotiations under tribal law, rather than the NLRA. An April 2009 election conducted under tribal law resulted in a vote against representation. Earlier this year, Foxwoods and UAW Local 2121 negotiated a first agreement for 2,500 casino dealers in negotiations conducted under tribal law. The tribe initially challenged the UAW election, asserting that tribal sovereignty should prevail over NLRB jurisdiction but subsequently agreed to bargain.
  • In a NLRB-supervised election, KAG West tank haul drivers and mechanics in Southern California voted for representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 986 by a vote of 197-147. The Teamsters have been actively organizing tank haul drivers throughout the country.
  • A recent report by the Labor Project for Working Families, Cornell University IRL Labor Programs, and the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center concludes that the future of the labor movement depends upon transforming union cultures to acknowledge the needs of young workers and treating women’s work and family needs as priorities. According to the report, the presence of women and young workers represents the most significant shift in the workforce in the past 50 years and unions must be responsive and effective as to these new demographics, both of which demand scheduling flexibility and improved work-life balance. The report also claimed that while social media tools can be utilized to promote organization, face-to-face interaction with the targeted demographics remained the most effective method.