Student Researcher: April Pearce
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern is facing growing internal criticism that he is seeking to consolidate unions to increase size and leadership power at the expense of rank-and-file members. Most recently, the SEIU’s executive board has taken over one of its largest locals, California’s 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers West (UHW-W), despite overwhelming opposition from local members. The local’s leader Sal Rosselli, who has vocally criticized Stern’s practices as top-down, was removed from power in the takeover. Stern is accused by members of establishing top-down sweetheart deals with industry that sacrifice workers’ rights, including the right to strike and, in the case of California healthcare workers, the right to advocate for their patients.
The questioning of the SEIU’s principles is significant because the SEIU, while eliminating the voice and power of union members, is leading the “reform” movement within organized labor that may reshape unions into a very “corporate friendly” workforce.
“SEIU Removes Leadership at Dissident California Local” Democracy Now!, January 20, 2009
“Battle Within SEIU Comes to a Head with Executive Board Vote on Future of one of its Largest Locals” Democracy Now!, January 8, 2009
“Juan Gonzalez on Peurto Rico’s Overlooked Primary and a Bitter Divide Within the SEIU” Democracy Now!, June 3, 2008
“Backroom deals by US service unions strip workers of rights” Shannon Jones, World Socialist Web Site, May 19, 2008