“We see unionized health care workers are the last line of defense against employers making decisions based on profit as opposed to adequate care because unionized health care workers have a union to stand behind them when they blow the whistle on an employer,” Rosselli said.
Stern’s SEIU can’t be trusted with the workers’ welfare, he said. The SEIU has made sweetheart deals with national health care chains, getting their permission to launch organizing campaigns in some hospitals in return for agreeing not to strike and or advocate for patients.
Daniel Ray, a volunteer organizer for the National Union of Healthcare Workers said, “We need resources so we can send our young activists to Michigan so they can become the future leaders of this movement. They have been threatened with their job, their health care, and in some cases in Fresno, their citizenship. The opportunity of learning at Labor Notes will give these workers the tools necessary in empowering their lives and allow them to pass on their knowledge to their fellow brothers and sisters, not to mention a chance to build solidarity with other rank-and-file activists who share the same experiences.”
Labor unions have had some tremendous successes in recent weeks, but you would never know this from the mainstream media. The Teamsters won bargaining rights for 7600 workers at Continental Airlines, which only rated a small non-bylined story in the Business Section of the New York Times and was ignored by other national media. UNITE HERE Local 11 is waging an inventive contract campaign against Disney that included several workers on a week long fast, a tent camp out, and candlelight vigil outside Disneyland — all providing good photo ops — yet media outside Southern California ignored these efforts.
Even worse, the February 15 New York Times ran a story on Disney’s promotion at the Epcot Center in Florida of a “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” charitable project. The contrasting Disney coverage is but one example of how the media has shifted its approach to labor activism so that such stories are treated as strictly local news. Yet news about corporations, as well as local shootings, fires or climate events, get national coverage.
International Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern may have an open invitation to the White House, visiting there 22 times in the first six months of the Obama Administration, more than anyone else, according to visitor logs.
But health care workers are increasingly telling the SEIU to take a hike.
In Sonoma County, when 675 technicians and other workers at Memorial Hospital finally got the opportunity to vote on union representation, just 13 votes — that is not a typo — went to the SEIU.
In Los Angeles late last month, a rival union to the SEIU won overwhelmingly in three elections impacting 2,300 Kaiser Permanente workers.