Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SEIU's Lifeline to Crocodile Dundee

It looks like SEIU-UHW officials had to go all the way to Australia to get some help for their campaign at Kaiser Permanente. According to Kaiser workers, SEIU has flown in a dozen staffers from an Australian union called "Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU)." Last year, the union underwent an SEIU-styled re-branding effort that changed its name to "United Voice."

Tasty hears that, for nearly a decade, SEIU's Andy Stern has been cultivating a relationship with the Aussie union and its top official, Louise Tarrant, by flying to sunny Melbourne and Sydney on SEIU members' dime. Apparently, SEIU's President Emeritus really digs the international travel... especially because it allows him to escape the cold winters on the East Coast!

So what are the Aussies doing in California? Well, Kaiser workers have spotted them with SEIU staffers patrolling Kaiser hospitals in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, South San Francisco, etc in the run-up to next week's strike. At one hospital, an Aussie attended the EVS Department's "group huddle" during shift-change and tried to promote SEIU to the assembled workers, who were under the watchful eye of a Kaiser supervisor.

An astute EVS worker quickly asked the purple-shirted Aussie: "So... are you gonna be honoring the picket line during next Tuesday's strike?" As the tongue-tied Aussie stared down at her shoes, it became crystal clear that the Aussies are not super interested in international labor solidarity. Instead, it looks like they've parachuted into California to work alongside their purple-shirted buddies and Kaiser's multi-millionaire bosses to try to undermine next week's strike by 22,000 workers from three unions.

So, Kaiser workers... when you see an Aussie in your facility, ask them this:  Back in Australia, does your union normally undermine workers who are fighting to defend their pensions and health insurance? Well... WTF are you doing to California's workers? Time to call Qantas and get your ass back to Australia!