Saturday, June 6, 2009

Astroturfing The Opinion Pages...

The term "astroturfing" has come to another meaning besides the laying down of fake grass where real grass had grown before. It also means the attempt to show that there is being made an attempt at political, advertising or public relations campaigning, with the goal of creating the impression of spontaneous "grassroots" activity.

And so it goes with Zombie UHW, who rarely passes up any chance for their leaders to flex their Madd Intertubez Skillzz. As we all know by now, Flo Furlow had an op-ed piece in the Fresno Bee last Saturday. This, of course, could not be let to stand by itself, so out come the letters to the editor.

First, there is Tracy Robinson and Jackie Peppars on Tuesday...
In the United Healthcare Workers West of the Service Employees International Union, we have a saying: We're stronger together. That's why we have to respectfully disagree with Florine Furlow ("Home-care workers take their union back," Valley Voices May 30) when she writes that she trusts the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

NUHW has continually lied to us and delivered false promises about what they can do for workers. The truth is the former leaders who were booted out of UHW for misusing our dues money still just see dollar signs when they see us home-care workers. But we're not falling for the lies this time.

This week, we have a simple choice: Stick with UHW SEIU — the union with the strength to fight back against the terrible cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, or go with the organization that's tried to divide us and that's lied to us over and over.

Too much is at stake — with people losing jobs and the governor trying to balance the budget on the backs of regular folk — to let NUHW manipulate us again.

We have the protective umbrella of millions of UHW SEIU members standing with us. We owe it to ourselves to vote UHW in this election.

Then there was Lisa Brown on Friday...

Florine Furlow is a fellow homecare provider in Fresno with an interesting perspective [Valley Voices May 30] regarding the upcoming election over union representation for In-Home Supportive Service workers.

Yes, the civil rights movement correlates well with disabled and elderly people being supported to live in their own homes.

Tragic and devastating cuts are being proposed that could change home care for all time. Ms. Furlow seems to feel those former leaders of our local have “magic” to stop these cuts.

What stopped them from taking action? Why weren’t they using their magic before Feb. 2, while they were in power and before they voluntarily resigned to form a different union?

I’m choosing to fight to protect the aged and those with disabilities, like my son. He, like so many others, may well end up in a long-term institutional placement if services are cut and is a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit brought by our union, UHW-SEIU, against our governor and county to seek an injunction from July’s planned cuts.

We need to unite to fight back together against these cuts. Let’s join arms and redouble efforts to turn this around. It’s hard work, not magic. Tomorrow may be too late!

Finally, there was Charles Taylor today...

This week and next, 10,000 Fresno home-care providers are making a decision that will change our lives forever.

As we face devastating state budget cuts, will we choose to abandon fellow workers from across the state to join a fledgling group with no members? Or will we stick with UHW SEIU, the largest home-care union in the country, which is leading efforts to stop the budget cuts and build us a better, more secure future.

For me, someone who has dedicated my life to in-home care, the decision is clear. United we stand. Divided we fall.

To save our jobs and protect our wages so we can continue providing quality care to seniors and people with disabilities, Fresno home-care workers must unite with our brothers and sisters from across the state and stand with SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West.

I know firsthand the power and the promise of a united 300,000-strong union of home-care workers.

I first became a UHW SEIU member five years ago when I was providing in-home support for my sister who was a diabetic and had a severe heart condition. Before she passed away two years ago, my sister depended on me to feed her, wash her and ensure she kept up with her medications and doctor visits. Because of the in-home care I provided, my sister lived out her last days in peace and dignity.

None of this would have been possible without the strength of UHW SEIU. You see, when I began caring for my sister, I earned $7.15 an hour without health insurance. Back then, I struggled to make ends meet, taking on multiple clients and working 80-hour weeks, just so that I could support myself and my family.

Despite my love and dedication to caring for some of Fresno's neediest, I knew that I could not continue to live at poverty wages unless something changed

Then in 2006, UHW SEIU led a historic campaign to increase our wages. As a bargaining unit member, aided by home-care workers from across the state and resources from UHW's years of experience winning better wages for workers, we were able to increase wages for Fresno home-care workers from less than $8 an hour to $10.25 an hour.

Through the strength and resources that came from fellow UHW SEIU members fighting similar battles across the state and across the country, we achieved more than I could ever have imagined, including health care for many of our members.

It's this kind of dedication and unwavering support that Fresno home-care providers need today. The cuts to home care that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing could push as many as nine out of 10 home-care providers out of work.

We need union leaders who will keep their eye on the ball and not get lost in their own personal power grab. NUHW is trying to convince us that the battle is between home-care providers -- that the battleground is in Fresno, not in Sacramento or in Washington. Don't be fooled.

We have everything to lose by isolating ourselves and diminishing our strength. But we have everything to gain by sticking with a 2 million-member-strong union that is fighting on the airwaves, in the courts, in the Capitol and in the White House to protect our future.

We have a once in a life-time opportunity through June 15 to join forces to defend our way of life and build a united movement of home-care workers across the state and across the country to ensure we save the jobs we love. The stakes are too high to choose a false prophet. Choose solidarity over disunity. Choose your future. Vote UHW SEIU.

First letter: NUHW Lies. Second letter: Former UHW (now NUHW) leaders did nothing. Third letter: Choose to stay with the big dog.

In other words, folks, the above three letters read like a ghost-written three-part harmony depicting EXACTLY what SEIU's "rap" has been down in the Fresno IHSS fight.

It is also quite surprising to see people's names attached to verbiage that is almost straight off of the SEIU Fresno BS-generation site. If this is an attempt to appear "grassroots", then it is a ham-handed one at best.

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