Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This should actually be criminal.

Fred Ross, Jr. is a long-time organizer and is deeply respected amongst organizers, workers and our supporters here in California. His father, an organizer with a religiously affiliated community group recruited a man named Cesar Chavez to be involved in migrant issues, and together they started the United Farm Workers.

Fred worked for SEIU for the last 10 years of his 40-year career, most recently working on the Saint Joseph Health System/Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital fight. He quit this last spring out of disgust with what SEIU was doing in California. Fred had been pretty vague in his disgust, but in light of SEIU's union busting at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, he has written a letter to the workers, featured in Beyond Chron.

So what exactly did SEIU do? Check out this except:

"Last February, SEIU leaders from Washington took over its California healthcare local, SEIU-UHW. The campaign was suspended (SRMH). Days later, over 200 SRMH workers were informed of impending layoffs. I offered to fight the layoffs alongside an experienced organizer who had spent two years on the campaign. However, this organizer was told by the new SEIU-UHW leadership, installed by Andy Stern, that SRMH workers were no longer a priority.

"Several days later, a national leader of SEIU told me that SEIU could probably get a free and fair election agreement from SJHS by that June. I was shocked by what he admitted next: that the international union made a decision in August 2008 no longer to support workers at SJHS or put pressure on the system, because they did not want you to have the opportunity to vote for a union led by Sal Rosselli."

Yes, you read that right. A nationally ranked leader of SEIU told Fred that the workers could have a deal with the employer to have a fair election, but not if it would look good for the then leadership of UHW. 21,000 workers lost the opportunity to vote in a fair election to be union members, just so Sal Rosselli would not be associated with the victory? Twenty One Thousand.

According to sources, the genius that told Fred about the potential victory that SEIU killed?

Scott Courtney.