Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

UHW seeks contributions for anti-Stern union democracy fight

January 26, 2009

breaking news – if you can afford to give, please do


What You Can Do To Help UHW Members Resist SEIU’s
Current Take-Over Attempt

January 23, 2009

Dear Friend of Labor:

As you may have read in The New York Times last Sunday,
January 18, the dispute between SEIU-UHW is nearing a

As we write, SEIU international staff and board members
are setting up “war rooms” in the Oakland and in Los
Angeles. Several hundred staff recruits from pro-Stern
SEIU locals around the country are being sent in to
help seize control of UHW and evict its own elected
leaders, longtime reps, and organizers. SEIU is also
employing private security guards (apparently off duty
police officers) who last weekend placed UHW
headquarters in Oakland under surveillance.

At the same time, SEIU has released partial findings of
the UHW trusteeship hearing it convened last September,
with predictable results. The text of Ray Marshall’s
decision and his actual recommendations have yet to be
disclosed, however.

On January 9, the SEIU executive board (with a
surprising number of dissenting votes and abstentions)
gave President Andy Stern its backing for the removal
of 65,000 members from UHW. These nursing home and home
care workers are now being reassigned without their
consent to a massive new 240,000-member California
“local.” This entity has yet to be created but will
soon be run by international union staffers appointed
by Stern with no elected officers for as long as three
years. . We are writing to urge you–and all who have
expressed concern about this unwarranted trusteeship in
the past–to contact SEIU leaders in your area
immediately, particularly national executive board
members, and urge them to speak out against Stern’s
senseless organizational assault before it is too late.

Already, the leading Congressional backer of the
Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), U.S. Rep George Miller
(D-CA.), has been quoted in The Washington Post (on
Jan. 9) warning of the damage that UHW dismemberment
and trusteeship will do to labor’s already very
difficult campaign for EFCA.

As you can see from the UHW flyer below, the union
rank-and- file will be vigorously resisting the
destruction of their dynamic and democratic local.

We urge you to join us in supporting UHW members during
this difficult time by sending them a financial
contribution ASAP to the following address:

The Fund For Union Democracy
465 California Street, Ste. 1600
San Francisco, California 94104

This fund has been set up by labor and community
supporters of UHW to aid its members in their
continuing fight for union democracy and reform within

For more information, you can also continue to check:

Yours in Solidarity,

Cal Winslow, Steve Early, Suzanne Gordon


Text of UHW flyer calling for rank and file resistance





Alert! Andy Stern has flown in hundreds of SEIU staff from the East Coast to California using hundreds of thousands of our dues dollars to takeover our UHW through a phony trusteeship. Stern has done this before receiving the Hearing Officer’s report and before the International Executive Board has even voted on the Trusteeship—just another top-down decision without regard to member democracy.

Stern’s Goal: Destroy UHW. Stern wants to take over our bargaining and cut sweetheart deals, oust our elected leaders, and run a smear campaign on our Union, with the goal of destroying the power of our Union.

Stern’s Thugs Will Be Coming to Our Facilities. SEIU’s plan which we recently received shows that in the first day of Trusteeship, which is very imminent, they will have their East Coast thugs leaflet at the change of shifts, come to patient floors and attempt to meet workers in lunch rooms saying, “They are here to help.” This is not true. They will be here not to help us but to destroy our Union all because we stood up to them to protect our Union, our contracts, our democratic Union.

They are calling and recruiting stewards to set up facility meetings. Stern has been notifying management that he is the one that they must deal with in the future, not our stewards, not our leaders, not our UHW-just Stern.

Throw Them Out. When they come into our facilities—and they will, throw them out!  Tell them to go back from where they came. Tell Stern’s henchmen that we will never bow to his dictatorship.

Leaders/Activists/Stewards. Come to our meeting on Saturday.
We WILL win!


Back after long break

January 25, 2009

I started this blog last month, and then my home internet went down for a week, I was traveling for the holidays, and I’ve been extremely busy with work since I got back. So that’s why posting abruptly halted. I am going to try to get back into the routine of blogging, so bear with me.

Rather than try to be a news and analysis type of blog, I may take a more conversational approach, and just post current thoughts and musings. Hopefully this may be of interest to some folks. If not, then its just another random blog out of millions on the internet, which is fine with me. The next Billmon I’m not. (And I wish Billmon would go back to regular blogging, especially about the economy. That guy is sharp! Steve Gilliard was my 2nd favorite blogger and he’s gone now. The internet is just not as fun without them.)

So in no particular order – here’s some thoughts.

Good riddance to George Bush! Not an original thought, of course. In fact, it seems to be the mainstream concensus these days. Now we can finally have some progressive discourse in the national debate, since conservatism is completely discredited. Which comes at the cost of a worldwide economic meltdown. Hey maybe that Karl Marx guy was right about some things – like capitalism is inherently unstable, and the more free reign we give the bloodsuckers, the wilder, crazier and stupider it gets. FDR saved capitalism – George W Bush almost did it in. Now Obama is no socialist. He’s clearly a centrist who leans just a little to the left, as left is defined in America. I think his economic recovery package needs to be doubled at least – and liberal economist Paul Krugmann says the same thing. But at least its a start and far more than what McCain would have done. McCain would have let the economy drown while he bombed Iran. That guy clearly cares nothing about the average American and gets his hard-ons from war.

But lets move on. Hopefully the economic recovery package will be just the first deposit on what we need, which is a lot more public sector in our economy. If it was up to me, I’d say nationalize all the banks (they are busted and on the federal tit already, why not own them collectively), nationalize the auto companies, and take a look at public ownership of energy sectors on top of that.

The big test of Obama will be on the Employee Free Choice Act. Nothing drives American capitalists crazier than the idea of having to let workers have any kind of voice at work – they are already fighting this tooth and nail. Will Obama cave in? Stay tuned. If Obama sticks to his guns, and they ram it through the Congress and sign it, there may be some hope for American liberalism after all. EFCA won’t solve all the unions’ problems. We also need to repeal Taft-Hartley, repeal “right-to-work-for-less”, ban permanent striker replacement (scabbing), and engage in a little thing called class struggle. But EFCA’s a good start.

Speaking of class struggle vs. class snuggle, folks should pay attention to the latest news from the purple plague – SEIU. It’s long been clear to any decent trade unionist that SEIU Pres. Andy Stern is the sleaziest lying hypocrite the American labor movement has ever produced. His “21st century” “we-love-our-bosses” approach to unionism, which means secret back room sweetheart deals with employers is the opposite of real unionism. More and more SEIU members are sick of his bullsh*t, and are in full rebellion against his dictatorial rule of SEIU. The seiu-sh*t is now hitting the fan, and Stern is attempting to put the 150,000 member United Healthcare Workers West in California under trusteeship – sending in hundreds of kool-aid drinking staffer-scabs to take the over the rebel union and do occupation duty. UHW rank and file leaders are saying they will throw the scabs out of the workplaces when they see them. Let’s hope this becomes Andy Stern’s Vietnam and the end of his personality cult for once and for all. Sternism is basically modeled on stalinism without the ideology. To see him disappear would be a good thing. And take his kool-aid drinking corrupt cronies and hacks with him.

And lastly, what about Iowa?

Well, we have a couple of issues. The budget crisis threatens to severely hurt public services that people need and laying off public employees is not going to help the economy. We need to start taxing the rich and closing corporate loopholes to fix the budget shortfall. Culver’s bonding plan is a good thing – borrowing money when interest rates are almost zero is smart. Culver screwed up badly last year when he vetoed open-scope collective bargaining. He’s got a chance this year to redeem himself by helping with fair share agency shop (where everyone who’s in a union workplace helps pay for bargaining and representation, greatly strengthening the power of workers and their ability to engage in collective action by making free-riding a non-option). Will Culver wimp out again? The GOP tried to run against “big labor” in last falls elections and they got nowhere. That dog just doesn’t hunt. It time to tell the Republicans to shove their free market crap where it belongs, and tell them that its a new day in Iowa and the nation. F*ck bipartisanship.

And that’s the word from the frontlines of the class war in Iowa.

Hopefully I’ll be back next week with another rant.

Happy class struggle everyone!


P.S. – Iowa blogs I recommend are

Bleeding Heartland

Iowa Independent

Iowa Politics


The Des Moines Register is pretty clueless, and seems to be laying off so many reporters that they are becoming a 3rd rate rag. Dead tree journalism is in pretty deep sh*t these days and thats a shame.