The epic clash between UNITE HERE and the SEIU continued late Friday when John Wilhelm, the leader of the UNITE HERE faction that isn’t seceding, wrote a blistering response to the SEIU’s Andy Stern, whose union has been attempting to absorb the UNITE HERE dissidents.
In the response, Wilhelm said Stern’s offer “to end some of SEIU’s interfereence in UNITE HERE’s internal affairs is disingenuous at best.” Wilhelm takes issue with Stern’s intent to continue to campaign in “disputed” areas, stating that “you [Stern] will continue to try to hijack UNITE HERE members, even where members have clearly voted to stay in UNITE HERE, and even where SEIU has engaged in demonstrable fraud and voter suppression in so-called ‘votes.'”
Wilhelm goes onto accuse Stern of attempting to hijack UNITE HERE’s financial resources because of the SEIU’s own “accelerating financial problems.” And if that wasn’t enough, Wilhelm calls Stern’s arbitration proposal “disingenuous.” Wilhelm makes a noteworthy statement towards the end of his letter: “No International Union has ever submitted its very future – its membership, its organizing jurisdiction, and its financial resources – to arbitration.”
Apparently arbitration is abhorrent for unions, but perfectly acceptable and necessary for businesses under EFCA.
Judging by the tone of Wilhelm’s response, it’s pretty safe to say that this fight will not be over anytime soon.