Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slow Lerner

Tasty has received several emails from Zombie UHW staffers reporting that the mood at the Oakland headquarters is a bit blue (well, purplish-blue) following the loss of 1,500 Kaiser professional workers and losses in San Francisco's political elections by the UHW/Chamber of Commerce candidates.

But despite these results, according to Tasty's sources UHW's unelected trustee-for-life Dave Regan was visibly gloating as news worked its way among key senior staff that top SEIU staffer (and IEB member) Stephen Lerner has been fired!

The high-level firing appears to confirm that the 1199 Ohio group (including Tom Woodruff and Scott Courtney) is consolidating power at SEIU, and Tasty is told that the issue came to a head over a dispute about the national union's organizing budget: Would SEIU spend millions of dollars on a multi-city campaign to organize low-paid workers and attack the banks (as Lerner wanted), or would the money be spent on more traditional organizing targets (and on propping up the UHW trusteeship in California, where SEIU has already sunk tens of millions of dollars)?

Other sources tell Tasty that several key SEIU staffers feared Lerner's campaign would be more of the same smoke-and-mirror, media-driven gambits that have soaked up tens of millions of dollars without resulting in new members OR additional credibility for SEIU in the area of financial reform.

The pink-slipping of Stephen Lerner highlights the serious turmoil inside Mary Kay's purple palace as staff leaders jockey for power and control over millions of dollars of budget money (that is... your dues dollars). Tasty hears that Stephen Lerner is not the only staffer who's likely to get the axe, and that other staffers are likely to quit their jobs and follow Lerner out the door. Meanwhile, Lerner's firing creates another vacancy on SEIU's International Executive Board (Lerner was one of the International staffers who also sat on the board), which Mary Kay will have to fill. Stay tuned for more!