Thursday, April 23, 2009

SEIU Vs. UNITE/HERE, Part the Next...

...and this round goes to UNITE/HERE.
In a defeat to SEIU and a resounding victory for hotel and food service workers in Los Angeles and Orange County, members of UNITE HERE Local 11 voted overwhelmingly (77% in favor) to approve a dues increase to boost resources for on-the-ground, new worker organizing campaigns. UNITE HERE Local 11 has active new organizing campaigns at the Hilton LAX on Century Blvd. and the Long Beach Hilton, and is planning to open up other new organizing drives by the end of the year.

In an attempt to derail the vote, SEIU and their political consultant Steve Rosenthal, sent mailers to the homes of UNITE HERE Local 11 members and financed robo-calls urging members to vote no on the dues increase.

SEIU's interference in this vote is part of its ongoing assault on UNITE HERE's membership and jurisdiction. In Locals across the country, SEIU's campaign of intimidation and harassment includes: 1) a barrage of phone calls to members' homes, peddling lies and half-truths. When members ask who is making these calls, they hang up. 2) mud-slinging mailers to members' homes worthy of the worst anti-union corporations, and 3) SEIU staff invading UNITE HERE workplaces and pressuring workers.

Local 11, which represents 20,000 hotel and food service workers, is one of the most progressive local unions in the country. The union has organized almost 1,000 new hotel workers on Century Blvd. in the LAX corridor and 500 more in Orange County hotels in the last year alone. “I am proud to have voted in favor of a dues increase. UNITE HERE Local 11 has a strong organizing tradition, and this vote will help us expand our organizing program in order to lift the standards for all hotel and food service workers in Los Angeles and Orange County,” said Tom Bray, a bellman at Disney's Grand California Hotel.

On Monday April 13th, the Radisson LAX became the fourth hotel on Century Blvd. to sign a union contract with UNITE HERE Local 11. Workers at the Radisson LAX will qualify for guaranteed free family health insurance after working only 25 hours a month and will receive wage increases totaling $2.60 over the next three years.

Paulina Gonzalez, 323-485-3055

You would think that SEIU would develop a different set of tactics besides phone calls, half-truths, unwelcome mailers, and scab organizers disrupting the workplace.

But then again, when that's all you got going for you, that's pretty much what you have to depend upon to advance your cause.

Look for SEIU to run to someone (anyone) to "nullify" the Local 11 vote. Because democracy freely expressed that does not go SEIU's way cannot be allowed to stand.

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