I noted that the UNITE HERE convention would provide a good picture of what to expect from the UNITE HERE-SEIU conflict. It appears, based on Randy Shaw’s reporting, that the rest of the labor movement is coalescing around UNITE HERE in its fight against the SEIU.
Day One featured a who’s who of labor bosses denouncing the SEIU:
In a dramatic blow to SEIU’s efforts to raid UNITE HERE members and jurisdictions, 15 of the nation’s leading unions pledged Monday to provide UNITE HERE with “material and moral” support. Before a wildly cheering and upbeat crowd of 700, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee denounced SEIU for the “poaching” of UNITE HERE, and for engaging in “piracy on the high seas of organized labor.” Laborers President Terrence O’Sullivan described SEIU’s conduct as “deplorable,” and said “we didn’t join Change to Win to raid and hijack another union’s members.” Change to Win leaders James Hoffa of the Teamsters and Joe Hansen of the United Food and Commercial Workers also pledged support, while Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers (one of the only two international presidents that SEIU claimed back its position) now supports UNITE HERE.
You know a gathering of labor bosses would provide some colorful moments. They did not disappoint:
Terrence O’Sullivan gave the impression that he was willing to enlist in defensive actions against SEIU right after leaving the podium, while Gerald McEntee led a chant describing SEIU’s behavior as “Bullshit!”
Based on the heated words hurled at the convention, it appears that the UNITE HERE-SEIU conflict has turned into most of labor versus the SEIU. What this actually means remains to be seen. If labor bosses are to be taken at their word, expect to see far worse things than what we’ve already seen between the two unions.
Oh, and for good measure, Laborers President Terrence O’Sullivan had this to say in response to the SEIU’s call for binding arbitration:
“There is no goddamm way I’d ever agree to binding arbitration when it comes to the future of my core jurisdiction”
I couldn’t agree more. And I’m sure most of America’s workers and businesses would say the same.