April 24, 2008

Weird, weird union stuff

From nader.org:

Andy Stern, the president of the 1.9 million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is embroiled in the politics of accepting sweetheart union contract deals that and, ironically is being condemned by the Wall Street Journal. What gives here?

It seems that Stern wants to put heat on the private equity funds that have bought hospitals, nursing home chains and other firms whose employees he wants to organize.


The California Nurses Association (CNA) is a fast growing union that fights for patient rights, for adequate nurse-patient ratios and bargains for strong contracts with hospital chains.


In Ohio, the CNA exposed a SEIU deal with nine hospitals owned by
Catholic Healthcare Partners. SEIU let the employer pick SEIU as its chosen union without a single signed union card. The company-union collaboration scheduled elections.

CNA sent representatives to Ohio and sounded the alarm about a
top-down agreement sealed by a mutually imposed code of silence.

CNA’s actions threw SEIU into a rage. Buses of SEIU people from Ohio were sent by Mr. Stern to break up an annual meeting of 1000 labor activists sponsored by the magazine, Labor Notes, in Dearborn, Michigan. CNA’s Executive Director, RoseAnn DeMoro was scheduled to speak to the assemblage.

Shouting, scuffling, overturned chairs and the arrival of the Dearborn Police to impose order led A.F.L.-C.I.O. president John J. Sweeney, to denounce what he called “a violent attack” orchestrated by SEIU.

click here for the whole thing

I had no idea what the dynamics of American labour were like, with the whole SEIU vs. AFL-CIO partition. I thought those people only existed in Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" ....

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