Sunday, March 22, 2009

A New Union is Born...

Disaffected workers, tired of their current union hierarchy, and feeling that they are no longer properly represented by that union, have banded together to secede from that parent union, and have formed their own union - a union which has is composed entirely of workers in a certain sector of that (former) parent union.

The former parent union is now taking measures (via legal means as well as NLRB obstructionism) to keep those disaffected workers in the parent union - even though those disaffected workers have already chosen a name, have already chosen a potential slate of elected leaders, and have already scheduled a founding convention, to be held later this month.

One would assume that I am discussing NUHW, but I'm not. The new union in this case is called Workers United, and they are an offshoot of UNITE/HERE. And which union, do you suppose, is helping to sponsor this new renegade union, even to the point of offering to take the new union under its wing?

Why, it's our very own Purple Plague.

The math - and the irony - are left to the student...

1 comment:

  1. The workers united "union" delegates meeting in Philadelphia "represent" approximately 75,000 members of Unite Here. Several joint boards who had supposedly sided with Raynor's dissident faction chose not to participate in this mock convention and several large former HERE locals who were part of joint boards that did participate, pulled out of their joint boards. The voting leading up to the convention was a haphazard mix of partial joint board votes (some of the joint boards were composed of as few as 20 people, the majority of whom were staff rather than elected members) which included converting meeting sign-in sheets as "petitions" calling for a convention.

    The real story here is the impressive media/communications juggernaut that SEIU has built up -- and corresponding disconnect from its own members and locals -- so that it could create the impression in the press and blogosphere of a reality that simply doesn't exist.

    The other real story is that the HERE side of UNITE HERE has achieved 50% density in gaming nationwide and 20% density in hotels nationwide -- both are considerable achievements with generally high contract standards. SEIU by contrast -- though there has been a proud history of dedicated organizing in its core healthcare sectors, has only managed to achieve 9.5% density in hospitals and 11% density in nursing homes nationwide. Its dream of a national healthcare union and achieving majority density in healthcare are great dreams and ambitions. Stern is famous for asking to be judged by results rather than intentions. By his own measure, HERE has been far more successful than SEIU in organizing and establishing a high level of standards for service workers in their respective core industries. HERE has failed to amass the quite impressive SEIU media/communications/messaging prowess -- however, the growing strains within SEIU will show that a PR machine is a poor substitute for a union with a clear organizing focus in its core industries, a clear set of standards which are the measure of contract gains, and a structure which encourages rather than sees as incidental the ownership of the union by an engaged rank and file membership.

    Lastly, Workers United, as of yesterday, was actually absorbed into SEIU and does not exist as a stand alone national union. See the Workers United website which states the vote resulted in Workers United becoming a "conference of SEIU."


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