An Act of Desperation
|AS THE MEDIA becomes more aware of an internal struggle for power at SEIU's
Administrative level, the rank and file become more aware that the focus has
been taken away from the real issues that affect them the most; union
democracy. The battle between the International President, Andy Stern, and
the leadership of United HealthCare Worker's West, Sal Rosselli seems to be
heating up. Mr. Stern has now attempted to take the focus away from the
issue of union democracy and decided that a personal attack on Mr.
Rosselli's leadership will create a distraction from the real issues that
the rank and file really care about. It's not working.
In a letter dated March 24, 2008 Mr. Stern is charging Mr. Rosselli with
Breaches of Fiduciary Duty, Interference of Collective Bargaining Rights,
Financial Irregularities, and Unethical Conduct. What is interesting to note
about these allegations is the timing of this letter in relation to the time
frame that these allegations took place. Also, this appears to be
suspiciously close to Mr. Rosselli's abrupt departure from the SEIU
California Council and Mr. Rosselli's subsequent resignation from the
International Executive Board, because of Mr. Sterns steady attack on the
rank and file's union democracy. This precursor to a UHW trusteeship also
appears to come just before the 2008 SEIU Convention in Puerto Rico. A UHW
trusteeship could exclude Sterns' most vocal critics from participation in
this most important event. These recent developments are not
coincidental....not by a long shot.
In fact, many of the same allegations could even be leveled at Stern
What should be taking center stage is the erosion and attack on the SEIU
members long standing democratic process, membership control and the ability
to decide how best to change the shape and direction of their union. The
need of the rank and file to be heard is taking on tremendous attention in
the way of a tsunami-like movement, resulting in many websites springing up
oups.yahoo.com/group/fightfor347/][www.democracy4seiu.org/] and growing
national media interest and coverage, such as the Wall Street Journal and
the New York Times.
In fact, the pressure is so great that SEIU has hastily slapped together a
website in response;[www.seiufactchecker.org/].
But, what really stands out is the strategy that Mr. Stern has now embarked
on; the attack on a former International Executive Board Member, in an
obvious attempt to silence opposing views and draw attention away from the
real issues, before the 2008 Convention. This is an act of desperation and
will surely backfire. This can only galvanize the rank and file, and will
only confirm what the rank and file long suspected; Absolute power,
What was once a proud, progressive and united SEIU, has now been sullied.
Quality representation is being replaced with blind dues-based quantity and
the steering wheel to our union vehicle is being confiscated and chained.
The rank and file could now be relegated to affected observers only.
Can we bring SEIU back from the brink? Will the members wake-up and
rise-up? Stay tuned and keep hitting those websites....and fasten your
seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!
Dan Mariscal, Fight for 347
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