Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“If it’s a war they want, it’s a war they’ll get.”

These are the words of Terry O’Sullivan responding to an SEIU raid on a large local union in Canada. O’Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), which represents a half-million workers in construction and government.

Check out the following excerpt from information posted on LIUNA’s websites:

LIUNA is embroiled in a war with SEIU, whose Local 2 has attempted to undermine election results at LIUNA Local 183 in Toronto…

“This is a travesty of trade union democracy and an outrageous interference in LIUNA affairs. SEIU Local 2 is acting like a cheese-eating rat,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said. “They think they can steal the election through a phony collective bargaining agreement negotiated without notice to members or newly elected officers. We will fight fire with fire. If it’s a fight they want, it’s a war they’ll get.”

O’Sullivan noted that SEIU has shown itself more than willing to meddle in the politics of other unions in the past, as when SEIU interfered in the internal politics of UniteHERE. “That created outrage throughout the labor movement and LIUNA reacted quickly to condemn that interference. So here we go again.”

So what’s going on? Looks like Mary Kay Henry is continuing SEIU’s approach of waging “civil wars” inside the labor movement. When she was part of Andy Stern’s leadership team, SEIU launched raids against multiple unions across the US, including UNITE HERE, the Puerto Rican Teachers Union, the California Nurses Association, the Engineers & Architects Association, etc. And Stern Henry & Co famously attacked one of SEIU’s largest locals (SEIU-UHW) after the local criticized SEIU’s national leaders and insisted on union members’ right to vote.

Last year, when Mary Kay Henry took over Andy Stern’s fancy office in the Purple Palace, she said she just wanted to get along with other unions. In fact, 15 months ago she told In These Times that SEIU wanted “to be full partners inside American labor” and that she would “begin a listen and learn series of conversations with heads of all affiliates of both the AFL-CIO and Change To Win.”

Hmm… So is this what Mary Kay means by “listen and learn?” B/t/w... can cheese-eating rodents actually “listen and learn?”