by Steve Early
(Jan 3, 2013) Today, the California Nurses Association (CNA) and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) announced a formal affiliation, solidifying an already potent alliance. Two of the biggest strikes against concessions in the last 16 months were conducted by members of the CNA and NUHW. Their target each time was Kaiser Permanente, the giant California health care chain that made $6 billion in profits since 2009 but still wants union job cuts and contract givebacks.
Last August, CNA and NUHW formed an “Alliance of Kaiser Unions” dedicated to “raising standards for Kaiser caregivers and protecting Kaiser patients.” In its founding statement, the Alliance blasted the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the SEIU-dominated Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (CKPU) for choosing “to partner with Kaiser to increase the corporation’s profitability at the expense of their own members and patients.” The CKPU includes both AFL-CIO and Change To Win affiliates.
On January 3, CNA and NUHW took their recent workplace collaboration a step further, unveiling NUHW’s formal affiliation with CNA at a press conference in Oakland attended by activists from both unions. CNA and NUHW will now jointly seek decertification of SEIU in a unit of 43,000 service and technical employees at Kaiser.