Written by Warner Todd Huston - TheRealityCheck.org
There's not much that union supporters and I can agree upon. But here is one incident where I can wholeheartedly support the aggrieved members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who have found themselves victims of their own union.
The SEIU wanted to renegotiate a contract with officials of Sonoma County, California for its in-home healthcare workers supported by county funds. SEIU representatives met with and crafted a new contract with the assistance of County officials. This was all done behind closed doors without the general knowledge of or the assistance of the workers themselves.
But that isn't the main problem here. It's how the contract was approved that shows how little the SEIU cares for democracy, member's rights, and the American way.
First of all, the SEIU tried to prevent the members from voting and having a say in the contract. Unions officials changed the voting rules in an effort to drive down participation by members. The SEIU went so far as to hire thuggish "security guards" to prevent members from entering the county facilities where the vote was taking place. Then, the SEIU carefully instructed those that were "allowed" into the facilities on how they must vote. This vote was entirely rigged by the SEIU with the tacit approval of Sonoma County officials. Additionally, the SEIU never provided the actual contract ahead of the vote so members could see what was in it and steadfastly refused to provide any information about the contract to members.
The fact is, the SEIU orchestrated a sham vote on the contract, squelched its member's voice and stomped on nearly every American right in the process.
In an email to me on this issue it was asked, "I wonder how SEIU's Andy Stern can possibly square SEIU's supposed advocacy for 'employee free choice' with SEIU's vote rigging and voter intimidation practiced against his own members. Would you trust SEIU to run your city council or municipal elections? Not me." I have to agree with this question, of course, and have asked the same questions myself many times.
Now, doesn't this all sound like Obama's Washington, Pelosi's House of Representatives and Harry Reid's Senate? Doesn't this sound like the same sort of un-American style perpetrated by the Obama administration - its "Chicago way" if you will?
But the essential anti-American, anti-democratic actions of the Obama administration should not surprise anyone when looked at through the prism of the actions of the SEIU under President Andy Stern. After all, Stern is the single most frequent visitor of the White House as the recent release of the White House visitor records have shown. With Stern's 22 visits to the White House, one cannot help but recall that old adage "birds of a feather flock together."
A new healthcare worker's union that split from the SEIU, The NUHW, is hosting an interesting video featuring some of the SEIU members that were so ill treated by their own union leaders. The video also shows that County officials were taken aback by the SEIU's actions.
The NUHW also has a webpage filled with interesting violations of common decency perpetrated by the SEIU.
Now I do not support these members in the details of their complaint against the contract, to be sure. They are, of course, complaining about cuts in their benefits. That I have no problem with. In fact, I'd likely support deeper cuts in their over generous California benefits. The simple fact of the matter is that California cannot afford luxurious benefits to be given to in-home healthcare workers. As a matter of fact, I don't support a state giving any benefits at all to in-home healthcare workers.
But that is not why I am supporting these workers. These workers have every right to expect their union to negotiate their new contract with the full participation of the members. They have every right to expect that the union will provide them with all relevant information as to what will be in the very contract upon which they will be called to vote. And, above all, they should expect their union to allow them unfettered access to the ballot box so that they can vote their conscience on that new contract.
The SEIU's actions are un-American in the extreme and these union members have been sorely mistreated by the Service Employees International Union.