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May 10, 2008

Kaiser Security Guard Strike

-- by Dave Johnson

This week I wrote about the Kaiser Permanente / Inter-Con Security Security Guard strike.

The post Security Guards Striking for the Right to Have Our Laws Enforced discussed why the guards are striking. They are employees of Inter-Con Security, Inc., which contracts services to Kaiser Permanente facilities in California. This company (not Kaiser) is trying to stop the guards from forming a union and the guards are striking to ask that laws allowing union organizing be enforced.

In Why They (And You) Need A Union a comparison with unionized security guards at Kaiser facilities in other states demonstrated the difference that forming a union can make to workers everywhere.

The post Unions: Sticking Together to Fight Corporate Power discussed how individuals are unable to stand up against the immense power and wealth that corporations are able to accumulate. Over time workers learned that by organizing into unions they were able to also build enough power to fight back and demand fair compensation and benefits for their work.

Outside of the blogs there was remarkably little coverage of this strike. Here is a roundup of some of the other coverage:

This is a good story online at Urban Mecca, Three-Day Strike by Hundreds of Security Officers at Kaiser Hospitals,

"The public needs to know that the security officers responsible for making Kaiser hospitals safe and protecting vulnerable patients are being denied our fundamental civil rights. Inter-Con freely uses intimidation, spying and retaliation to harass its workers," said Shauna Carnero, a security officer in Hayward.

The strike, which began May 6 and included major rallies outside Kaiser medical centers in Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles, followed numerous federal complaints that workers have filed with the National Labor Relations Board in recent weeks charging Inter-Con with unfair labor practices over the past two years.

The Pasadena Star-News had Kaiser guards strike,
Hospital security guards went on strike statewide Thursday, citing poor working conditions and lack of health coverage.

About 200 Southern California employees of Inter-Con Security, which is contracted by Kaiser Permanente to provide security guards, joined their Northern California counterparts who have been on strike since Tuesday, Service Employees International Union officials said.

[. . .] Security guards have little legal recourse when they are denied the right to organize, an SEIU attorney said. A loophole in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 gives security guards only one method of forming a union.

While most employees have the option of holding an election to bring in a union, security guards can only organize if their employers agree to recognize the union, said attorney Orrin Baird.

"It's sort of out-dated," Baird said. "If they were not guards they could file a petition with the (National Labor Relations Board) and then they would have to have an election."

While a few local TV stations carried news about the strike, there was a near-blackout of coverage in the corporate media. WHy do you think that is?


Please visit StandForSecurity.org.

I am proud to be helping SEIU spread the word about this strike. sfs-234x60-animated-v2

Posted by Dave Johnson at May 10, 2008 3:09 PM

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Comments

Union busting is a denial of the right to associate. Joining a labor union is a constitutional right.

Posted by: Rose at May 14, 2008 7:28 AM

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