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Michael  Connell miclconn@igc.org

SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL Union Local 1877 has been DECERTIFIED as collective bargaining agent for the vast majority of San Francisco janitors.  A new, independent union, United Service Workers for Democracy Local 87, will now be the CERTIFIED representative of the unit.

The decertification vote was held yesterday under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent Federal agency which certifies or decertifies representatives based upon secret ballot votes taken among units of employees.

San Francisco janitors working for the largest contractors in the city were eligible to vote based upon petitions they presented to the NLRB requesting an election.  The final tally was:

1,698 eligible voters
(including part-time and
temporary employees)
18 void ballots
121 challenged ballots
573 votes for SEIU Local 1877
947 votes for USWD Local 87.

There is no need to count challenged ballots since the margin of victory far exceeded the number of challenges.  The defeated union can file objections to the election based upon misconduct, interference by management, etc.  However, the large margin of victory is a serious obstacle for SEIU Local 1877 to overcome.

Certfication means that the contractors must bargain in good faith with the new union.  It does not mean that in the end there must be a contract, or that any contract agreed upon must be identical to what was negotiated by SEIU.

This is a major defeat for SEIU.  The problems which led to the decertification are significant, and the consequences will be enormous; but they are far too complex to describe in an e-mail.

Some San Francisco janitors will continue to be represented by SEIU Local 1877.  That is because certain units of janitors did not petition the NLRB for a vote, or the petitions did not have enough signatures to meet NLRB requirements (generally, 30% of the unit).  For example, the employees of Township Building Services will continue to be members of SEIU Local 1877, and the contract between Local 1877 and Township will remain in force and effect.

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