Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another History of the NUHW-SEIU Battle Royal...

Dan Clawson at Z Magazine has penned a lengthy piece which really puts the whole NUHW-SEIU battle into perspective, and also contrasts nicely with the two approaches now being taken by the two sides when it comes to the Fresno IHSS battle...

SEIU, headed by Andy Stern, is the nation's fastest growing, most visible, most politically potent labor union. Almost every story about SEIU is about some new way that it is on the offensive, launching one or another surprising new initiative, demonstrating its power and creativity. But this is a story about how SEIU is on the receiving end, seemingly outflanked by a new breakaway union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which appears to be winning unprecedented support from workers and leaving SEIU flat-footed—although SEIU's power and resources may yet enable it to win.

Talking to leaders of the two sides in this dispute is a window into two different visions of the labor movement. When NUHW leaders talk, it is all about the workers and what the workers want; when SEIU leaders talk, it is about the need for labor to be powerful. If a union is about power and raising wages "for" workers, SEIU can make a compelling case. If a union is about building a better world and developing people's ability to control their own lives, not once every four years, but day-to-day at the workplace—NUHW is far more appealing. The remarkable fact is that in California workers are choosing to try to build something more democratic and responsive, rather than stick with the security and power of the national SEIU.

Check the rest - it's a worthy read. Thug Regan once again gloriously shoves his foot down his throat, telling the author to "Don't get fixated on the (signature) cards; I can't understand why people are so fixated on the cards."

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