Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wilhelm's Response to Andy Stern... a monumental F-you letter. Note that the letter was sent directly to Andy Stern, with copies to Bruce Raynor (UNITE/HERE) and Edgar Romney (Workers United), when as you recall the letter to Wilhelm was co-signed by all three "leaders"...
Andy Stern
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036

Dear Andy:

This is in response to SEIU's letter following the end of the mediation process.

Your offer to end some of SEIU's interference in UNITE HERE's internal affairs is disingenuous at best. You state that SEIU will continue to campaign in "disputed" areas, meaning that you will continue to try to hijack UNITE HERE members, even where members have clearly voted to stay in UNITE HERE, and even where SEIU has engaged in demonstrable fraud and voter suppression in so-called "votes."

You also state that SEIU will not interfere in "new" UNITE HERE organizing campaigns' does that mean SEIU will continue to seek revocation of UNITE HERE authorization cards in situations like the Phoenix Sheraton Hotel, and continue to try to "burn the ground" in other UNITE HERE organizing campaigns"

You state that SEIU's proposal at the last mediation session recognizes UNITE HERE's core jurisdictions. That is, of course, false. Your proposal continues to try to hijack UNITE HERE members in hotels and gaming, and demands that UNITE HERE agree that SEIU will organize competitively in the hotel industry.

Your statement that SEIU's financial offer would leave UNITE HERE as a viable Union is absurd. I can only conclude that SEIU's accelerating financial problems lead you to try to hijack UNITE HERE's financial resources, leaving UNITE HERE unable to re-establish its International Union and be viable, let alone be able to organize aggressively. You want to leave us financially crippled so that we will not be able to compete effectively with SEIU's demand to have competitive organizing rights in our core industries.

Your proposal for arbitration is likewise disingenuous. We already have written recommendations from a highly respected neutral, UFCW President Joe Hansen, who invested enormous time and effort in understanding these issues. UNITE HERE accepted President Hansen's recommendations as the basis for a settlement, even though we find several of them repugnant. SEIU rejected President Hansen's recommendations explicitly because those recommendations respect UNITE HERE's core jurisdictions in hotels and gaming.

Why start the process over? It is absurd to say that, having attempted to hijack UNITE HERE, you will now try to get another arbitrator to award you parts of UNITE HERE membership, jurisdiction and resources, after you rejected President Hansen's recommendations. UNITE HERE would have all the risk in such an arbitration, and SEIU would have no risk at all, because UNITE HERE has not tried to hijack SEIU membership, jurisdiction, and resources. Let's put on the table situations where parts of SEIU would clearly be strategically better off in UNITE HERE, such as SEIU public and hospital members in Nevada; SEIU building service workers in South Florida; laundry workers in every major hotel and gaming city; and many others, as well as SEIU financial resources.

No International Union has ever submitted its very future - its membership, its organizing jurisdiction, and its financial resources - to arbitration.

Why didn't SEIU propose arbitration in your dispute with United Health Care West and Sal Rosselli?

Why did SEIU reject the recommendations of impartial, respected mediators both in your raid on UNITE HERE and in your California dispute, if you so value neutral help?

There is no need to start over with an arbitrator, who will have to learn our dispute from scratch. SEIU should simply accept President Hansen's proposals as the basis for negotiations, as UNITE HERE has done. Let's get it done now.


John W. Wilhelm
President/Hospitality Industry
I would add here that, at the outset of the blowup between UHW and SEIU, arbitration was sought, and was initially attended by both parties, but when it was clear that the arbitrator was actually going to act fairly (instead of rubber-stamping SEIU's desires), SEIU walked away from the arbitration and set in motion the chain of events that resulted in the Marshall Hearings and, ultimately, the Trusteeship.
The SEIU hive mind will, of course, have forgotten about some of the nasty facts that Wilhelm brings up in the latter part of his letter. Wilhelm also points out the SEIU hypocrisy in its positions in a manner pretty close to what was written here earlier on this subject.

Still, it's refreshing to see two pages of absolute 190-proof "F-you" directed at Andy Stern, especially when it comes from someone with the authority and the background to back it up.

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