Thursday, September 30, 2010
Kaiser Employees Decide Whether Between Being Represented by Large Union or Small
Kaiser employees in California have been given a choice on whether to stay with SEIU, (Service Employees International Union) or to switch to a group formed last year named the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Kaiser is asking union member employees at over 300 facilities in the state to make a decision. After reading the Logic of Collective Action one would believe not many members would vote. Olson’s logic concluded that the personal incentives for voting would be small so participation would be limited. In fact Olson chose to include a quote on page 86 that read, “ Over 90% will choose not to attend a meeting or participate in union affairs; yet over 90% will vote to force themselves to belong to the union and make considerable dues payments to it.” But in fact just fewer than 50,000 union members showed up to vote on the matter, making it one of the largest union related votes in California history. So many people wanted to participate in the matter because they felt this smaller company could do a better job representing them.
SEIU is a very large union group representing about 1.8 million workers in the U.S. They have been around since 1921 and a lot of people stick with them because they have been successful for a long time. The statement NUHW is expressing to the Kaiser employees is that they are a smaller organization and are going to help represent the employees on getting better health care and pay raises. This is a good example on Olson’s theories behind the sizes of groups. Olson wrote that if a group gets too large it could prove to be deadly for the organization. This younger union is saying they have less people to represent therefore they can represent each individual of the Kaiser company better than SEIU can. If the employees in California vote for NUHW to represent them it would support Olson’s theory on group sizes.