In a bitter battle between two unions, a federal appeals court has upheld a $1.57 million judgment against the National Union of Healthcare Workers, its president, Sal Rosselli, and other leaders.
The lawsuit stems from a time when Rosselli and his colleagues headed United Health Workers, part of the powerful Service Employees International Union.
Rosselli's group began sparring with the international leadership when SEIU decided to move long-term care workers from three groups, including 65,000 people from UHW, into a new, SEIU local union.
Rosselli and his colleagues sought to block that move, and SEIU leadership later claimed that Rosselli and his colleagues illegally diverted members' dues to form the rival NUHW while working for SEIU.
SEIU ousted Rosselli in January 2009 and later sued him and the other leaders. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the $1.57 million judgment against Rosselli and his colleagues.
SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan praised the decision, saying that it shows NUHW was "built on a foundation of lies." NUHW Secretary-Treasurer John Borsos said his group was simply acting on behalf of their members, who disagreed with the international leadership.
The two unions are now locked in a vigorous battle to represent 45,000 Kaiser Permanente workers. Ballots for that election will be mailed to Kaiser workers beginning April 5.
Sandy Kleffman covers health. Contact her at 510-293-2478. Follow her at Twitter.com/skleffman.