SEIU’s hypocritical call for democratic reform

Eye on SEIUDecember 21, 2016

When it comes to hypocrisy, Donald Trump may have finally met his match in SEIU — a labor union that fancies itself as his nemesis but actually shares his authoritarian tendencies.

In a recent letter to the four candidates for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry suggested that union members are “frustrated with an economy and democracy that are not working for so many of us,” according to a report in The Hill.

That should come as a surprise to many SEIU members who know that the International has little use for democracy.

Under Kay’s leadership, SEIU didn’t let its members vote before endorsing Hillary Clinton last year just months after her final six-figure speech to an audience of investment bankers.

Not only did SEIU members never get a chance to vote on the endorsement, they weren’t allowed to disagree with it. Just ask Christine Boardman, the former president of SEIU Local 73, which represents public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Last August, SEIU seized control of the local, and ousted Boardman, whose most recent tiff with union leaders concerned her refusal to support Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. “That was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for them,” she wrote to a blogger chronicling SEIU’s hostile takeover of the local.

At NUHW, 72 percent of our elected stewards voted during our annual leadership conference to endorse Sanders, so that’s what we did. It was only after he conceded, and Clinton began committing to his agenda for real economic change, that our members voted to endorse her.

As progressives prepare to do battle with the Trump Administration, it’s important for us to practice what we preach. We can’t fight authoritarianism with more authoritarianism. We need a bottom-up movement that truly represents the interests of American workers.