Sunday, January 15, 2012

Disarray inside SEIU's Purple Palace

Henry and Hudson during a friendlier moment
Tasty hears that the Purple Palace is the scene of fierce infighting among top SEIU officials as they struggle to cope with the union's bargaining failures, dissatisfied membership, and growing decertifications.

According to several sources, one of the main battle lines is between SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Gerry Hudson, who is one of SEIU's six "Executive Vice Presidents." In SEIU's hierarchy, Hudson and the other five "EVPs" are the highest ranking officers after the President and Secretary-Treasurer.

Sources report that Henry has worked to marginalize Hudson by stripping many of his responsibilities and assigning them to her allies. Meanwhile, Hudson is rumored to be rallying his supporters in a campaign to unseat Henry from her presidential position during the union's upcoming convention in May.

Can Hudson unseat Henry? It's not far-fetched. Hudson comes from SEIU 1199 New York, where he retains support from 1199NY's president, George Gresham. In SEIU's upcoming presidential election, 1199NY controls about 20% of all of the votes that'll be cast. (Under SEIU's system, rank-and-file union members don't actually get to vote for the president -- instead, members' votes are "delegated" to local union officials).

With 1199NY's votes in his pocket, Hudson wouldn't need many more SEIU unions to jump on board to reach a majority. In fact, Tasty hears that Hudson has already been in successful discussions with 1199NY's Gresham, and that's why Hudson's campaign efforts are emerging for broader air-play.

As the power struggle between Henry and Hudson intensifies, Tasty hears there's also deepening disarray at multiple other levels of SEIU, including aggressive battles over resources, staff defections, and midnight firings of top staffers. Stay tuned!