Friday, September 25, 2009

One Letter That Ties Together Many Strings

A few days back, Randy Shaw at BeyondChron wrote a piece on Zombie UHW's ridiculous attempt to chase NUHW supporters off the field by proclaiming that NUHW was "coming apart at the seams."

This claim is, on its face, absolutely ridiculous. After all, if NUHW is "coming apart at the seams," then why did Zombie UHW run away from the Los Alamitos election rather than confronting and defeating so wounded and weak a foe? More to the point, why did workers at Olympia, Providence Tarzana and USC just yesterday file a petition to join NUHW?

Well, not surprisingly, the BeyondChron piece got some letters to the editor, none of which were complimentary to Zombie UHW, but there is one letter that just appeared today which kind of ties several different threads together...
To the Editor:

The struggle for democracy moves forward...

While a staff representative/organizer for United Healthcare Workers-West in Southern California, I was fortunate to be able to spend an all to brief period of time around workers in the shops (Garden Grove Hospital, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, USC Medical Center Olympia) who are now filing for elections to leave SEIU.

In each facility, directly elected steward councils, bargaining committees, and local executive board members were unilaterally removed from office by Andy Stern following his bogus Trusteeship of the then 150,000 member run Local-United Healthcare Workers-West.

As a fourth generation trade unionist with deep roots in the democratic reform movement, I can say unequivocally, that Andy Stern is our generation's labor bastard.

Stern's top down corporate unionism, insatiable self serving corruption, and his ultimate betrayal of hundreds of thousands of workers in our Country is to our labor movement what Wal-Mart is to main street America.

I am proud to say that I was standing shoulder to shoulder with rank and file leaders of the newly born NUHW (for two years prior to the ashes of the old UHW-West). My Brothers Dan Martin and Charlie Ridgell, along with a hundred or so staffers ... principled trade unionists just like 'em, continue to struggle and sacrifice, tirelessly, self-lessly to advance the cause of rank and file unionism. If no longer with NUHW, we continue to do so in other parts of the labor movement.

Yes, as a result of Stern dismantling one of the most progressive and successful Local Unions in America, many of us have had to "drag up", and move on to other battlefronts. Of significance, when confronted with the choice of keeping one's position with UHW-West perpetuating Stern's betrayal, or moving in the direction which was collectively decided upon (creating a new democratic union-NUHW), most UHW-West staffers chose to do the right thing.

For each of us, there has been economic uncertainty and hardship. Such seems inevitable when confronting corruption within the house of labor. This is the path less traveled by all too many who make thier living in the labor movement.

With the help of many friends and family, I am blessed that my family has landed on our feet. Yet, Iam still longing to be there supporting, and bearing witness to, what democracy looks like on such a grande scale.

My friends at NUHW continue to make the correct choice. Fight Back!

Solidarity Forever!

Ed Sadlowski

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