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With God on Our SideThe Struggle for Workers' Rights in a Catholic Hospital$
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Adam D. Reich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450662

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450662.001.0001

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Trouble in the House of Labor

Trouble in the House of Labor

Alternative Visions of New Unionism

(p.126) 5 Trouble in the House of Labor
With God on Our Side

Adam D. Reich

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the internal divisions within the labor movement that jeopardized workers’ chances to win their union at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH). More specifically, it considers the internecine struggle between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) as hospital workers fought a third and final round for their union. It also discusses the different visions of unionism represented by the two sides in the conflict, visions that map onto an ongoing debate within labor scholarship between “top-down” and “bottom-up” unionism. Finally, it explores how the trusteeship undermined the St. Joseph Health System campaign and forced SRMH workers to take ownership of the campaign in ways they had not been asked to before. It suggests that the two visions represented in the conflict were not mutually exclusive; indeed, a successful labor movement likely requires their convergence.

Keywords:   internal divisions, labor movement, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Service Employees International Union, National Union of Healthcare Workers, hospital workers, unionism, St. Joseph Health System

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