Monday, June 23, 2014

Clueless in Seattle II

SEIU's David Rolf
Remember SEIU’s “21st century” strategy for rebuilding the U.S. labor movement?

In April, Tasty posted an e-mail from SEIU’s David Rolf in which he detailed the Purple Palace's latest visionary idea:  establishing a business incubator funded by “venture-funders” and “investment/business partners” to dream up “innovative” ideas that’ll transform the labor movement.

Last week, Rolf began actively pimping this harebrained idea in the pages of “The Nation.”

In a piece titled "What if We Treated Labor Like a Startup?," Rolf begins dialing for dollars for the purple incubator. 
The labor movement should stop investing the bulk of its funds in an infrastructure that has failed us and take a cue from an unlikely place: Silicon Valley. Allocating even a small portion of labor’s assets to experimental initiatives could produce massive results. Silicon Valley venture capitalists know that to find the next Google, they need to invest in a range of start-ups. If even a tiny fraction of their investments make it big, they will reap enormous rewards.
Rolf, who apparently spends far more time playing with his iPhone than talking to workers, exhibits an unrivaled capacity for cluelessness. He continues:
Progressives should take a cue from business and enter an era of innovation… Technology like WhatsApp could be parlayed into applications that enable workers to anonymously rate their employers… When combined with savvy public-awareness campaigns, [online] petitions to support worksite actions can draw national participation and change working conditions.
 By striking out into complexity instead of retreating back to what is familiar, progressives can seize this moment of crisis and win enormous victories for workers.
Totally pathetic, right?

Check out some of the comments from readers, who give Rolf a serious smackdown.
I can't believe I've been such at idiot. I've been blaming the decline of labor on corporate attacks on unions, institutional corruption and the disengagement of the rank-and-file...when the answer to class struggle has been in a global text messaging app. Workers of the world--text!
It's worse than I thought: online petitions, apps to share info.....
How about abandoning class collaboration?
 SEIU is the perfect organization for a moron like David Rolf. As a reward for his blind loyalty, he was appointed head of the Los Angeles home care local by Andy Stern and quietly moved aside to make room for another Stern gigolo, Tyrone Freeman - now sitting in federal prison for his crimes while head of the now statewide local. Rolf was the appointed to his current lucrative gig as head of the Seattle long term care workers union where he proposed a 10-year contract during which the workers could never strike.
 This article is a symptom of the total colonization of the labor mind by tech bullshit.
 The lack of vision and imagination, the aggressive use of business jargon, the desperate, pathetic desire to be seen as important, to be some type of boss: it's like The Nation asked this guy to channel everything that's wrong with organized labor's leadership and he jumped at the chance.
 Leverage, scalable across geographies, incubator, the next Google - it's all here.
 Maybe Mr. Rolf should spend less time hanging with his buddies in the 1% and more time organizing alongside his own members.
 SEIU 775 bought a new headquarters building a few years ago, moving into what had been the headquarters for the Chamber of Commerce?  No comment necessary.