UnionMaine

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National SEIU convention in June heating up

Maine’s delegation is going to be voting on issues that we have not faced in Maine. Issues of National SEIU control over Locals versus local control.

The delegates should expect to see the very serious fight going on as the supporters of centralized union power and the supporters for bottom up Unionization control by workers erupt into a firestorm that Maine has never seen.

The results of this convention could change the direction of the American labor movement.

The issues are too involved for a short article but in the most extreme cases the National SEIU has claimed the right to appoint local Union officers and merge locals with no elections.

California, Missouri and Illinois, are three states where the voices are loudest.
Tony Condra, secretary-treasurer of Local 2000 in St. Louis said “One thing I think the top leadership forgot is the members are the CEOs, not us,”) meaning not the SEIU employees.)

Andy Stern’s supporters say that the current state of the American labor movement shows that new approaches are needed.

February 2008 Sal Rosselli, president of SEIU’s United Healthcare Workers West resigned as a member of the union’s executive board to protest Stern’s actions. He continues in his post as president of United Healthcare Workers–West, a 150,000 member SEIU branch representing California hospital, nursing home, and home-care workers. Sal Rosselli is the leading voice of dissent to Andy Stern’s positions on centralized control and new approaches to “partnerships” with management.

One of Andy Stern’s supporters puts it this way “What Sal (Rosselli) is really upset about is that there was a difference of opinion in California. You know, Sal’s view didn’t always carry the day, and then when other people act legitimately as a result of a collective decision-making process, but sometimes not the way Sal would like to see, you know, we get this kind of conduct. So I think it’s just categorically untrue. It’s unfortunate. And Andy deserves better, and our union deserves better from someone like Sal, who is himself an insider at the highest levels of SEIU.

A showdown is expected when the union holds its convention in June in Puerto Rico, with a fight looming over whether to allow members to directly elect their leaders and to have more say in mergers.

Rosselli’s attempt to portray Andy Stern as a leader unwilling to listen to the members is probably going nowhere and so far SEIU leadership has brushed off the complaints as unfounded and just plain wrong.

Regardless of the results of any voting at the convention in June just the fact that this argument is so widespread means Maine members must bring back back the facts. We should be ready to let other brothers and sisters know that electing your own officers is the way life should be.

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March 22nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | 3 comments

3 Comments

  1. Check out the new rank-and-file movement to reform SEIU: http://www.ReformSEIU.org

    It’s run by SMART (SEIU Member Activists for Reform Today)

    Comment by Ed | March 24, 2008

  2. Here’s another SEIU reform link: Democracy4SEIU.org

    Comment by Ed | March 24, 2008

  3. I am doing some research and it seems like the Mainers that first decided to go with SEIU had some smarts.
    They signed an association agreement which seems to give us one hell of a lot more independence and the ability to leave if we choose than most locals.
    Put it down to stubborn yankee or smart yankee, but we seem to be twenty years ahead of the argument.
    Narsbars

    Comment by Penobscot Chapter | March 27, 2008

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