California Hospital Association Submits to SEIU Demands, Signs “Labor Peace Agreement”

This week, after months of applying public pressure on the California Hospital Association, the SEIU-UHW won its coveted “labor peace agreement,” which would create an organizing “code of conduct.”

Under the agreement, which has not been released, the SEIU-UHW has dropped its two ballot measures that would cap hospital CEO pay and limit the cost of hospital visits. In return, the two organizations will create a $100 million fund (unknown how much each group will contribute) to lobby for various laws and regulations related to the hospital industry, including improving the state’s Medicaid system.

In the California Hospital Association press release, the agreement is described as a trailblazing relationship “because it is centered on a shared strategic vision of improving health and healthcare delivery in California, rather than a traditional labor agreement designed solely to codify conventional labor relations practices.”

But this is not the case. The only reason the California Hospital Association came to terms with the union was to avoid spending millions of dollars fighting the SEIU-UHW’s two ballot measures and a press relations nightmare.

SEIU-UHW’s motivation for the labor peace agreement is obviously the organizing “code of conduct,” which the Los Angeles Times reports, “may make it easier for the union to organize workers. The agreement seeks to eliminate the negative campaigning and bitter attacks between these longtime adversaries.”

Although few details of the “code of conduct” have been released, according to The Wall Street Journal, SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan “suggested that the union could gain access to workers at a later date.”

Yet, the best analysis of what this deal amounts to comes from the SEIU-UHW’s rival, the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

NUHW Presisident Sal Rosselli remarked, “This agreement will undermine the rights of workers and will eliminate the union’s watchdog role on behalf of patients,”… “Moving forward, SEIU will quietly collect dues, but will do little to raise questions.”

And that is the problem with the majority of current union organizing tactics. Big Labor finds it far easier to brow-beat employers into agreements that ease the path to unionization, instead of providing a valuable service that workers want to pay for.

For more on SEIU-UHW’s organizing campaign, see here.