Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meet Scott Courtney. Do As He Says, Not As He Does.

Oh, SEIU staff. Why would any real organizer, researcher or any other staff come to California when everyone else in the labor movement says that the trusteeship is bad for workers, for EFCA and for the image of the labor movement?

Sure, 10% national unemployment and layoffs in the union certainly make some feel that coming to California is simply a decision to keep their jobs and put food on the table. But for some SEIU staff who specialize in organizing health care workers the answer is Scott Courtney.

Courtney, former organizing director at 1199WOK, is all too familiar with Dave Regan’s frequent testosterone tantrums and had been admired by many staff for rolling his eyes at Andy Stern’s latest gimmicks to organize a million workers with a new website, mail in contest or iPhone app. Courtney would say that he often agreed with the original UHW leaders about organizing strategy and many who were turned off by Andy and Anna’s shtick believed that Courtney was sincere.

Reportedly, he also made one thing clear to many staff: he would never work on the Trusteeship.

So, why is Scott in California? Well, first he said that he was angry at former UHW staff, who he believed tipped the California Nurse Association off that 1199WOK was running elections at several Ohio Hospitals. The CNA then intervened, and the elections were called off. CNA claimed SEIU was making a 'sweetheart deal' with employers and SEIU claimed that CNA was union busting because they were jealous rivals. Scott was furious that those workers would not have a union because of the ruined elections.

So did former UHW staff blow up the Ohio elections? The facts say NO. Among the reasons: there was press done about the elections BEFORE the elections, most likely the way that CNA found out about the elections. Also, workers know how to use the phone, perhaps one of them called CNA?!

After the election, Scott and his pal Dave Regan teamed up to infiltrate the 2008 Labor Notes Conference, Where CNA’s Executive Director Roseanne DeMoro was scheduled to speak-and it went just about as well as the Trusteeship is going!

Fast forward a year and find all of these same players signing organizing deals that potentially cover thousands of more workers, with Roseanne. I guess Ohio wasn’t such a deal breaker after all.

Your friend SternBurger might stop to marvel at this hypocrisy… BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE!

Not only is Scott inking deals with his former ‘enemies,’ but he is also working on the Trusteeship here in California. But most offensive of all: He brought a boatload of former Ohio staff to undermine the efforts of workers at a Catholic Hospital System that is trying to organize a union!

Sound familiar? Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital was prepared to sign an election agreement and refrain from negative campaigning. But it seems that Scott and his posse haven’t been able to get workers to dump NUHW and support SEIU. So instead of agreeing to allow workers to vote without employer and union negative campaigns, SEIU has rejected the agreement and allowed management to attack both SEIU and NUHW.

Some might say that SEIU’s behavior is unbelievable for an organization that purports to be a union. But Dave Regan is too easy of a target.

More notable is the rapid descent of Scott. When he thought Ohio workers had a chance to vote for HIS union, he told CNN Money/Fortune magazine that fair elections agreements were the way to go:

"I think we found something that is smack in the middle," Courtney said. "That really does say [management and union are] both going to trust the employees to vote, we're going to live by the results, and we're going to hold ourselves to a standard much higher than and much greater than what the law says."

So Scott, why can't we keep holding ourselves to this higher standard and let workers vote? Think carefully about your answer and remember—Andy Stern isn’t the only one whose credibility is on the line.