Sunday, February 5, 2012

Third Anniversary of SEIU's Trusteeship Reveals Plenty

Did you happen to notice that we recently passed the third anniversary of SEIU’s disastrous trusteeship over California’s healthcare workers? Readers should check out this excellent article by labor historian Steve Early about the anniversary.

Back in 2009, SEIU’s trusteeship was widely condemned as a bogus power-grab carried out by Purple Palace officials trying to eliminate their critics in California.

Now, three years later, the trusteeship -- and SEIU -- have become a ridiculous joke. Why?  In 2009, SEIU officials said they were imposing the trusteeship because they urgently needed to transfer 65,000 long-term care workers out of SEIU-UHW and into SEIU Local 6434 in Los Angeles. Here’s a 2009 letter from Ray Marshall (SEIU’s trusteeship hearing officer) to Andy Stern detailing the justification for the trusteeship:

Well… it’s now three years later, and SEIU has still not transferred the 65,000 workers.  If the emperor had no clothes in 2009, then his whole friggin’ family is naked today!

And, even though the trusteeship is a ridiculous joke, it has helped teach us a lot about how SEIU operates. We've learned that, in SEIU, there aren’t any actual rules, procedures or constitutional guarantees that protect members’ interests. 

If SEIU officials don’t like the outcome of a contract ratification vote, they simply toss out the results and then stuff the ballot box during the re-run election. If workers vote down SEIU’s preferred candidate in a shop steward election, SEIU officials simply change the rules to get their corrupt candidate elected in a second election.  If SEIU officials cut a backroom deal to eliminate workers’ defined-benefit pension plan, they simply lie to SEIU's members in order to implement the cuts. And if SEIU's fat-cat officials don't like internal critics, they make up bogus pretexts to remove them from office.

Perhaps this is the “21st century unionism” that John August and Dave Regan like to speechify about --- a union where SEIU officials make up the rules as they go in order to get whatever they want.