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"Fight For 347" Gaining Ground
Source Dan Mariscal
Date 08/01/17/21:53

The SEIU California mergers have not had the desired effect of unifying and
strengthening it's California membership. If anything it has been
galvanizing the labor movement and breeding a reform movement within SEIU in
California. The corporate structure, that was the aim of SEIU leadership,
has been cause for doubt and distrust.
The janitors union in San Francisco refused to accept anything but autonomy
and twice ran a decertification campaign that made Andy Stern step back and
accept the will of the members, as he should.
There have been other decertification efforts by unions in Ventura
[veanow.org] and Orange County. Clearly the writing on the wall.
Then there is the Fight for 347
[finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/fightfor347/] in the City of Los
Angeles. What started as a few employees that are fighting the merger of
SEIU local 347 into local 721, has evolved into a movement for autonomy.
When Local 721 filed for an amended certification, seeking to be recognized
as the successor union, the employees filed for intervention and won a
hearing, putting the brakes on 721's certification. Then the fruit began to
fall.
Fight for 347 then filed an Unfair Labor Practice claim against 721 and
despite 721's best efforts, would not go away.
During that time, the members were negotiating their contract with the City
of Los Angeles, and the member-elected Local 347 bargaining team held it
together and, along with a coalition of City unions, bargained a historic
contract.
The contract was signed by none other than..... Local 347; a double
victory!
But the story doesn't end there.
In December of 2007 a power grab of the SEIU California State Council
occurred where Sal Rosselli, the former president, questioned the integrity
of the election process.
Back in August of 2007, Fight for 347 and reformers of SEIU 1000, linked
arms for a Labor Forum held in Sacramento, California. Many examples of the
mergers growing list of deficiencies and failures were shared by SEIU
members and former representatives
[video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3184406405439890416].
Recently, CSEUnited [www.cseunited.org] candidates, of local 1000, won a
majority (33 out of 61) of the delegate positions to represent Local 1000
members at the 2008 SEIU International Convention to be held May 31 Ė June
4, 2008. In a clear indication that members are sending the unionís top
leadership a message, none of the unionís four statewide officers landed in
the top ten spot.
Although the message may not be apparent to SEIU leadership, it is obvious
to SEIU grassroots membership. The members want control of their union and
will settle for nothing less. The corporate structure is just not working,
no matter how much the failures are spun, disguised, hidden or "swept under
the rug".
The writing is on the wall; it says that there is no substitute for
autonomy. Can you see it?

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