Monday, June 6, 2016

SEIU Forges New Frontiers in Hypocrisy as It Denies Unionization for "Fight for $15" Organizers

From UUR's Facebook page
At SEIU’s convention in Detroit last month, SEIU officials trumpeted their Fight for $15 campaign and announced they’ll soon establish a “Fight for $15 Organizing Campaign Center.”

Apparently, it’ll be non-union.

SEIU’s top officials are denying the right of Fight for $15 organizers to join a union, according to charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Approximately 100 “Fight for $15” organizers across the US -- who are funded by SEIU but employed by subsidiary organizations such as the Western Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago -- earn wages and benefits substantially lower than those of SEIU staffers.

So on April 12, “Fight for $15” organizers formally asked SEIU officials to allow them to join the “Union of Union Representatives” (UUR), a staff union that already represents SEIU’s organizers across the nation.

The UUR’s president, Conor Hanlon, explained it this way:
"We are strong believers in the work of the Fight for $15 campaign. Our [UUR] members work side by side with non-union staff who are on the front lines of this campaign. Why, then, should Fight for $15 staff not be part of our union?"

A recent article describes what happened in the days after Fight for $15 organizers delivered their request:
Three days later, Christopher Prado, a Las Vegas-based Fight for $15 organizer and one of the original group to file for representation, was fired.
“At noon on Tuesday, April 12, I had a meeting with management about my work and our plan for the next 10 weeks,” Prado said over the phone. “At 5 p.m., we submitted our request as Fight for $15 organizers to be absorbed into the UUR contract. And on Friday, April 15, I was retaliated against.” His managers fired him with one week’s severance pay.
“The stated reason for his termination was a lack of budget,” said Calderon, but the UUR believes this was a lie, as “the budget was funded for the coming months.” This led the UUR to file an Unfair Labor Practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board against SEIU on the grounds of retaliation for union activity.

UUR’s lawyers soon filed “Unfair Labor Practice” charges at the NLRB alleging that SEIU illegally retaliated against the organizer for trying to join a union.

These aren’t the first union-busting charges against SEIU officials.

In 2009, the New York Times reported that UUR filed charges after Purple Palace officials laid off 75 of its 200 staff employees and shifted work to outsourced companies.

SEIU officials’ latest dose of purple-hued integrity has already been covered by various media outlets, including the International Business Times, Politico, and Jacobin. Here’s an excerpt from the International Business Times:
Now the UUR is insisting that organizers with the Fight for $15 campaign should also be unionized — and that the SEIU has violated its own staff's collective bargaining contract by not letting Fight for $15 workers join UUR.
Although the SEIU has sometimes described Fight for $15 as a semi-autonomous entity, distinct from the union itself, the UUR says workers affiliated with the campaign are effectively SEIU employees. As such, they should have representation of their own, said the UUR in a statement Monday.

In California, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is facing his own charges that he retaliated against staffers employed by one of SEIU-UHW’s nonprofit subsidiaries (“Good Health for California”) after staffers requested an NLRB election to join SEIU-UHW’s staff union. According to NLRB records, Regan laid off many of the staffers soon after they requested the election.

The saying goes... “Do as I say, not what I do.”

Stay tuned.