Monday, April 6, 2009

For All That'll Get Ya...

John Wilhelm of UNITE/HERE has filed a complaint against SEIU to the leadership council of Change to Win.

To: Change to Win Leadership Council

As Co-President of UNITE HERE International Union, I write to ask that you accept this letter as a request for mutual aid and support under Article XVII under the Change To Win Constitution and as a formal complaint against SEIU pursuant to Article XVI “Procedures for Resolving Disputes.”

The Change to Win Constitution mandates under Article XVII, Sections 1 & 2 that:

“Each affiliate of this alliance agrees that it shall not divide workers’ strength by engaging in activity that disrupts the established representation rights of any affiliate …”

“…all of the affiliated unions within the alliance …shall use the full power and the resources of the alliance to protect the interests of the aggrieved union and the affected workers.”

As you all know, UNITE HERE is experiencing an across the board assault on its jurisdiction and its membership by SEIU. I ask that the affiliated unions use their full strength and power to protect the interests of UNITE HERE, as provided under Article 17.

Additionally, UNITE HERE seeks redress under Article XV, Section 1 which states in part:

“Each affiliate shall respect the established collective bargaining relationship of every other affiliate. No affiliate shall organize or attempt to represent employees as to whom an established collective bargaining relationship exists with any other affiliate.”

A UNITE HERE splinter group allied with Bruce Raynor claims to have merged with SEIU on March 22, 2009. Prior to and after that date, SEIU has interfered in our collective bargaining relationships in multiple locations nationwide. This interference has taken many forms including but not limited to SEIU staff and elected leaders encouraging UNITE HERE members to secede from UNITE HERE, SEIU staff pursuing NLRB “RC” petitions in UNITE HERE workplaces, and otherwise interfering with the established collective bargaining relationships with UNITE HERE members. Attached please find documents in support of this claim and which identify the locations and bargaining units at issue.

In another brazen example, SEIU is barraging UNITE HERE members with mail and phone calls urging “no” votes on dues increases. Let me stress that this activity extends throughout UNITE HERE.

Second, UNITE HERE seeks redress under Article XV, Section 4 which states in part:

“No Affiliate shall, in connection with any organizational campaign, circulate or cause to be circulated any charge or report that is designed to bring or has the effect of bringing another affiliate into public disrepute or of otherwise adversely affecting the reputation of such affiliate or the alliance.”

SEIU in concert with the Raynor splinter group has orchestrated a months long communications program, designed by Steve Rosenthal, which has defamed UNITE HERE leaders among its membership through the coordinated use of robo-calls, live telephone calls, direct mail, and home visits. SEIU participated in the planning and execution of these attacks. The intent of this communications program is to vilify the elected leadership of UNITE HERE and agitate UNITE HERE members to secede from their union.

These defamatory attacks against UNITE HERE include baseless charges against UNITE HERE elected leaders of “corruption,” “wasteful spending,” “intimidation,” and “mismanagement.”

While I recognize that the Chair of Change to Win ordinarily has certain roles regarding Article XVI procedures, I ask that the Chair, an SEIU officer,recuse herself from any involvement in this matter and that the Leadership Council itself act immediately to process the complaint.

UNITE HERE further asks that the Article XVI mediation step be skipped and that the process move immediately to arbitration since there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to solve this dispute by mediation already.

Thank you.

John W. Wilhelm

President/Hospitality, UNITE HERE

cc. Andrew Stern, SEIU

Oh, by the way, the "Chair" of Change to SternBurger that Mr. Wilhelm refers to in the above letter is Anna Burger. Asking a SEIU officer to recuse themselves from something in which SEIU might actually be found at fault is right up there with asking them to cut off their arm. Three words for that one: Not. Gonna. Happen.

Good luck with that letter there, John. I'm sure that the leadership of Change to SternBurger will give it all the attention that it merits from her point of view. It's probably just pro-forma anyway, since the remains of UNITE/HERE have asked for readmission to AFL-CIO.

That is, of course, if SEIU will allow them to disaffiliate from Change to SternBurger.

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