SANTA ROSA -- Challenges to 17 ballots in the disputed union election at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital have been resolved in favor of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, although objections by the hospital to the election process are still under investigation by federal labor officials.

The National Labor Relations Board determined that 12 of the 17 challenged ballots should not be counted because the voters were not eligible under the rules of the election; another ballot will not be counted because of stray marks on the ballot. The four challenged ballots left unresolved are not enough to affect the final result: 283 votes for NUHW, 263 for no union, and 13 for SEIU, the NUHW said.

However, the union election involving 675 technical and other employees cannot be declared final until objections by the hospital are resolved by federal officials.