NUHW In The News
SF Weekly: Ousted labor leader Rosselli forms own union, targets SEIU workers—and doesn’t expect SEIU to play nice
This summer, the Service Employees International Union plans to spend some $50 million to ensure passage of a labor-friendly law that would allow any workforce to join a union if more than half of its employees sign a petition. Currently, workers approve whether a union should represent them in elections which, labor leaders say, can be easily manipulated by employers.
Renegade labor leader Sal Rosselli today said the SEIU, America’s largest union, has an opportunity in California to achieve the goals of the Employee Free Choice Act without spending a cent. How?
“Just step out of the way,” said Rosselli, during a Monday conference call with reporters.
At a time when workers nationwide stand to make big gains under the Obama administration, the newly formed National Union of Healthcare Workers is seeking alliances with rivals of the powerful SEIU.
By Paul Pringle
Reporting from Oakland — Late into the night, the last of the holdouts stood pressed against the locked glass door, peering into the murky streets of downtown Oakland, waiting to be routed from their building by fellow unionists.
A long standoff between the giant Service Employees International Union and its second-largest California local was nearing an end. But their respective leaders were preparing for what some say could become a war of attrition for the right to represent tens of thousands of healthcare workers — and perhaps a boon for employers eager to see a sector of organized labor divided.
This mob, thirty, maybe forty strong, mostly very nicely dressed white men for this side of struggling Oakland, was led by a young female lawyer – there were a couple of nasty ex-cops in tow, just in case. They used bolt-cutters to get through the parking-lot gates in back; they smashed their way through a second floor window, then pushed their way to the front, where they opened the doors, let in the rest of the mob in and then ended the occupation – evicting the (former) members of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) from their union hall, their house.
At least 64 separate petitions were filed Monday with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of 9,000 workers calling for work site elections to decertify Service Employees International Union and bring in a new union formed last week.
The Service Employees’ internal battle broke wide open late Tuesday when International President Andy Stern put the dissident United Healthcare Workers-West into emergency trusteeship.
Financial assets for the 150,000-member local were immediately seized, the executive board was dissolved, and full-time officers were removed from payroll. Reports circulated among workplace leaders that SEIU also dismissed UHW stewards, and that employers are holding captive-audience meetings to introduce new SEIU-appointed staff representatives.