South Bay SEIU 521 Members Want Some Answers From Andy Stern
|MANY OF US HAVE been asking repeatedly for a 521 general membership meeting (since July 2007), to discuss privacy and identity theft issues around the new SEIU International Member Service Centers, where the personal information of SEIU members is being displayed without our permission. As you may have noticed, no meeting has taken place.
So, over the holidays we petitioned SEIU 521 and Andy Stern, with a majority of workers at each agency signing, asking for positive change and respect for member's privacy. Again, member's requests were not acknowledged and the union continued with its agenda.
Did you know that 521 management tried to prevent 521 chiefs from holding a chief's subcommittee meeting at SEIU on Zanker Road in San Jose last Fall? Kristy was going to lock us out of the building and told us to meet in the parking lot, in the cold.
You are right, this is supposed to be our union.
Unfortunately, our paid leadership and Andy Stern have their own agenda to expand the union and make it a lobbying tool, which seems to be more important than empowering members or maintaining the democratic unionization values that were once so attractive in SEIU when we were with AFL-CIO.
Have you taken a look at AFL-CIO's main web site?
AFL-CIO seems to have kept it's values firmly focused on democratic unionization and the interests of the rank and file, something we lost when Andy Stern severed our relationship, making SEIU an independent entity.
We have now become a political lobbying organization for Andy Stern's political ties with businesses he would like to unionize. If you look closely at all of this and do some Google searches and reading on the analysis of what has occurred, you will see that we have completely lost our voice and our vote within this new union, still called SEIU, and it has nothing to do with the fact that we are in trusteeship or the mergers that are occurring. This is how it is going to be from now on.
Stern has openly stated that SEIU is going to operate under a corporate model and collaborate with business leaders. SEIU internal structure and power is now functioning from the top down, not from the vote of the rank and file up. We are no longer a grass-roots organization designed to lift members up and give them a voice and a vote in their own union. We are a tool to create Andy Stern's dream of a new labor party in the U.S., and running himself as president.
The union will tell you that we are undergoing upheaval due to mergers and trusteeships. The real reason is something totally different. Our power has shifted to the agenda of the internal paid leadership at SEIU International, and it's never going to return to the majority rule of the rank and file. If members were really going to be empowered, we would have seen general membership meetings at 521, in all counties, when members requested them last Fall.
Catherine D. Alexander, Adult Services Librarian and SEIU 521 Chief Steward
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