"We are not going to let these discredited, deposed members weaken UHW," he said, adding that the petition drive "is incredibly cynical and reckless in this economic climate."
But the wheels are now set in motion for a protracted fight over who will lead UHW's 150,000 members, as well as the question of whether Rosselli's highly democratic management style might be attractive to members of other unions.
"We're getting calls from other SEIU members from other locals about joining NUHW," Rosselli said, citing Alameda County Medical Center, whose employees are part of the San Franciscobased SEIU Local 1021, one of many locals that have been reformulated in recent years by Stern, who then appoints its leaders.
Rosselli plans to hold a founding convention for NUHW in March, when members would vote on bylaws and a constitution, and elect their leaders, while Regan said SEIU will work to win the confidence of its members: "We have to show people that we're on their side and we care about the work we have to do together."
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