Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

  1. Will Local 11 Condemn Its Ally’s Anti-Semitic Candidate?

    A key ally of Unite Here Local 11, the Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles (DSA-LA) recently endorsed a radical school board candidate who praised an anti-Semitic book and liked a speech that called Jews “satanic.”

    Kahllid Al-Alim, a candidate for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board and an SEIU 721 member, claimed in an Oct. 18, 2022, X post that the anti-Semitic book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews should be “MANDATORY Reading in Community Schools.”

    The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews falsely posits that Jews played a disproportionate role in the slave trade. The book was once called the “bible of the new anti-Semitism” in the pages of the New York Times.  In 2018, Al-Alim also liked an X post of a Louis Farrakhan speech in which he calls Jews “satanic.”

    The DSA-LA previously posted a message highlighting its parent organizations support for Palestine, a post that came just one-day after the Hamas terrorist attack.

    Unite Here Local 11 has several ties to the DSA that go back years, this has included a close relationship throughout the hotel strikes in 2023 and the union’s  support for DSA-LA candidates – most notably Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez. 

    DSA-LA started a strike fund for Local 11.

    A Unite Here Local 11 spokesperson touted the arrests of DSA members as a show of “solidarity.”

    Local 11 even allowed the DSA’s Phoenix based operation to use its headquarters for a 2024 rally promoting a speaker that posted “All Out For Palestine” just days after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

    Hotel workers deserve to know where Unite Here Local 11 stands on the fight against anti-Semitism and the union should issue an immediate condemnation of its ally’s endorsement of an anti-Semitic candidate. 

    Categories: SEIU
  2. Are Workers Really Better Off Under the “New” UAW?

    This month, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) launched the latest phase in its ongoing national education campaign focused on the United Auto Workers (UAW).

    The campaign initially aimed to shed light on a pattern of corruption within the UAW. Now, it has expanded to scrutinize the union’s new leadership (including president Shawn Fain), controversial stances on hot-button issues, and failure to fulfill promises made to members.

    To kick off the launch, CUF released a candid video featuring Ford worker and former UAW member Terry Bowman. A proud hourly automaker in Michigan, Terry says the UAW doesn’t represent his values and doesn’t keep its promises.

    CUF placed a series of billboards next to non-unionized auto plants to spread the word about this new campaign. A mobile billboard (view creative here) also drove around the UAW headquarters in Detroit.

    The ads direct audiences to a new website, UAWUncovered.com, to provide comprehensive information on Shawn Fain and other high-ranking UAW officials.

    Content highlights include insights into the UAW’s anti-Israel stance, as well as a closer look at how the UAW’s final contracts with Detroit’s Big Three automakers failed to deliver on the union’s promises.

    Categories: UAW
  3. SEIU Ceasefire Call Doesn’t Reflect Sentiments of Hundreds of Anti-Israel Union Officers, Staff

    After months of anti-Israel rhetoric from SEIU officers, employees, and affiliates, the union released a carefully worded statement condemning violence on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict and called for a ceasefire. 

    This recent statement is a far-cry from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry’s initial social media post that failed to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack. This more recent statement may strike a more even tone, but it doesn’t seem to reflect the true sentiments of hundreds of SEIU leaders across the country.

    Controversy around the terrorist attack first arose at the SEIU when the union’s former Connecticut executive director – Kooper Caraway – was forced to resign after claiming “our enemies are not in Gaza, our comrades are in Gaza” just days after the murders of over 1,200 Israelis. 

    The incident with Caraway took place just as SEIU’s affiliate union – Starbucks Workers United– began to draw heat for celebrating the attacks on social media. 

    As the war continued, anti-Israel sentiment at the SEIU kept building. A month following the terrorist attack, more than 500 officers and employees of the SEIU came together under a petition titled “Purple Up 4 Palestine” to demand the union call for President Joe Biden to stop arming Israel and to begin supporting the anti-semitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS). 

    One of the most notable names to show up on the list is Larry Alcoff, the SEIU’s lead negotiator. Alcoff appeared at a Palestinian rally in New York on Oct. 28, 2023, with his wife and son (Larry’s son, Joseph, is a known communist and Antifa leader). His wife was wearing a sticker that read, “Zionist donors and trustees, hands off our universities.”

    Unfortunately, the anti-Israel attitude of SEIU officials is not just relegated to the East Coast.

    In California, John Beynon — who is listed as an officer of SEIU Local 1983 on the petition — retweeted accounts accusing Israel of genocide and has even re-posted a BDS account that called Hamas terrorists the “armed resistance.”

    Jonah Paul — a self-described officer of the SEIU 1000 out of California — also defended the Palestinian cause in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack. Paul vocally critiqued an X Post for calling out Hamas terrorism and claimed that he is an advocate of a “free Palestine” and not just when “it is convenient.”

    Purple up 4 Palestine also has an official Instagram account where slogans like “Stand Against Genocide” and “Hands off Yemen” are routinely used. The account is followed by the official Instagram pages for the SEIU Local 140 (SEIU 503, Portland), SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, Nurse Alliance of SEIU California, and SEIU Local 121RN (Southern California). 

     

    Despite the national union’s recent call for peace, the mounting evidence showing the SEIU has routinely sided against Israel since the early days of the terrorist attacks is damning.  

    Categories: SEIU
  4. New Report Exposes Fourth Circuit Nominee’s Anti-Worker Activism and Union Ties

    Today, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) released a new report exposing the union ties of Nicole Berner, whom Biden nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The long-time Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lawyer is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday regarding her nomination.

    You can read the full report here

    The report highlights Berner’s long history of backing the union’s harmful policies and pushing policies that could force employees into union representation. This track record suggests she will use the position to promote the SEIU’s agenda—potentially at the expense of both employees and business owners throughout the country.

    The report is part of an ongoing national campaign to educate the public on the SEIU’s controversial track record – one Berner could soon be advancing from behind the bench. You can learn more about the campaign and view additional research at SEIUExposed.com. 

    Key report findings include:

    • In 2019, Berner declined to launch a sexual harassment investigation against top union leaders—including President Dave Regan—of the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). Berner instead left the allegations to be investigated by the SEIU-UHW, the same union whose leadership the alleged victim had accused of sexual misconduct.

    • Berner supported sectoral bargaining in the United States. In 2019, Berner co-authored an editorial in which she supported a “national fast-food industry bargaining table.” Berner stated in the same editorial that the old model of unionizing by company/employer needed to be thrown out and that it needs to be possible to unionize by the “millions.”

    • Berner echoes the SEIU’s radical call for “unions for all” which seeks to organize workers throughout the country by almost any means necessary—with little regard to the individual choices and freedoms of these workers. Berner has noted that “right to work” advocates are “anti-workers extremists,” and has said the U.S. economy is “rigged.”

    • Berner stood against freelancers in California. Independent contractors across the state opposed Berner’s position on Proposition 22 – which allowed workers at certain gig companies to remain classified as independent contractors instead of employees.

    Big Labor’s agenda has no place behind the bench. Berner’s close ties to the union and her support for its misguided platform should be a glaring red flag against her nomination.

    Categories: SEIU
  5. Why Won’t the UAW Stand Against Israel’s Attackers?

    Last week, UAW President Shawn Fain announced he was “proud” of the union’s decision to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza, despite the terrorist group Hamas still being in power. He implied that the state of Israel was akin to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. The UAW went on to call for a “divestment working group” to study the “union’s economic ties to the conflict.” This position led former Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel to publicly call out Fain for excusing the barbarism of Hamas. 

    That’s a strong criticism coming from Mishel, who has been a longtime supporter of the UAW.  The Economic Policy Institute has even hosted Fain as a speaker in the past, including on October 6 – just a day before Hamas launched its terrorist attack that killed about 1,200 people. 

    The official UAW call echoes a number of statements made by various UAW locals. 

    NYU graduate employees in UAW local 2110 released a statement blaming Israel for the terrorist attack it suffered. Student Workers of Columbia, affiliated with UAW local 2710, accused Israel of participating in a genocide and demanded that Columbia University divest from Israel. UAW members at Make the Road New York and The Bronx Defenders – affiliated with UAW locals 2320 and 2325 respectively – also accused Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. 

    Unfortunately, this latest ceasefire call is the capstone to a troubling number of connections between Shawn Fain’s United Auto Workers union and anti-Israel radicalism. 

    Chris Brooks, Fain’s strategist, is a former member of the national caucus of Marxist organizers (Bread and Roses DSA), which made a statement in support of “resisting military occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing” the same day as the Hamas terrorist attack. 

    The UAW’s legal counsel Benjamin Dictor has been accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing since October, and has even suggested that Israel is attempting a “literal holocaust.”

    Both Brooks and Dictor were brought on by Fain and are now part of UAW leadership.

    It’s been two months since Israel suffered one of the most devastating attacks in its history, and instead of condemning terrorism, the UAW seems to be doing everything it can to stand against Israel. 

    Categories: UAW
  6. Member Discontent Grows at SEIU and Workers United

    Enmeshed in a legal battle with Starbucks, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its affiliate Workers United have not been without controversy. That seems unlikely to change now that information has come to light showing discontent among its membership.

    A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request recently released by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reveals that over one-hundred decertification efforts have been made against the SEIU and Workers United since 2020.

    Apparently, Starbucks Workers United – the division of Workers United organizing baristas across the country – is also not immune from the discontent spreading at the union as workers petition to decertify.

    Workers at over a dozen Starbucks locations across the country have filed decertification petitions since the beginning of 2023.  

    Even the home of the organize Starbucks movement – Buffalo, NY– had a store file a petition to decertify Workers United. Other states with Starbucks locations attempting to decertify include; California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia.

    The SEIU has also run up a spate of decertification efforts going back to 2020. The total amount of decertification petitions filed totals just over one-hundred. Sixty of these petitions were put to a vote and over twenty-five of them were successful in their attempt to decertify. 

    The largest successful decertification effort took place at Research Medical Center facilities in Kansas City, MO. Nearly 400 employees voted on the measure and the majority rejected the SEIU’s representation. One employee stated, “For years, promises the SEIU has made have not been kept, and they continue to take our hard-earned money with no value in return.”

    Research Medical Center also reported that non-members of the SEIU would get raises much quicker than members of the union. Another employee expressed discontent with the union stating, “The SEIU has not represented us fairly, nor provided us the value they claim. This process, which was our choice and our voice to remove the SEIU from Research Medical Center, started in March. Today, we can finally realize our efforts.”

    The woes at the SEIU and Workers United will likely continue as more members try to free themselves of the union’s representation.

     

    Categories: SEIUWorkers United
  7. Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment, and Intimidation Plague LA-Based SEIU Locals

    The Center for Union Facts has released a new report outlining a series of lawsuits that allege workplace harassment, discrimination,racism, and retaliation among leadership at LA-based SEIU Locals. The report is the latest in an ongoing national campaign to educate the public on the many controversies surrounding the SEIU.

    Some of the shocking cases include allegations of preferential treatment for male employees, humiliation and intimidation of female employees by male colleagues and superiors, and a culture of intimidation and humiliation.

    The report outlines seven lawsuits involving Local 121RN, Local 721, Local 1000, Local 2015, and Local 99.  Highlights include: 

    • The wife of a former SEIU Local 121RN employee claimed the union “orchestrated a campaign of instilling fear and terror within all employees.” Her husband “apparently succumbed to his disabilities and suffered a heart attack on the job due to the work-related stress and hostile work environment.”
    • An employee at SEIU Local 2015 claimed her supervisor gave “preferential treatment to male employees.” After she reported this disparate treatment, she claimed her treatment worsened. She even alleged other female employees were kicked out of meetings. She was eventually terminated. 
    • A SEIU Local 721 employee tried to warn the legal department about a backlog of member grievance cases and believed he was retaliated against for being a whistleblower. He claimed he was fired shortly after asking for a report on cases that he believed the union was closing without appropriate investigations. This case went to a jury trial, and it was determined that the union engaged in whistleblower and disability retaliation. The union had to pay over $6 million in damages. 

    The SEIU claims to protect workers’ rights, but employees at these LA-based locals have a very different take on the union’s reputation. It’s time for the SEIU to be held accountable.

    Categories: SEIU
  8. Member Backlash and Broken Promises at the UAW?

    After a six week strike, UAW members are now voting on a tentative contract deal between the union and the Big Three. But it looks like some members think the deal falls short of President Fain’s many promises.

    52% of UAW members at GM’s Flint Michigan Engine facility voted down the tentative agreement with the company. They aren’t alone. 51% of UAW members at Romulus Propulsion Systems did the same. 

    Discontent with the deal seems to be alive and well even at the UAW’s large assembly plants. GM’s Flint Assembly plant and Ford’s Kentucky Truck Assembly Plant, with thousands of employees between them, voted against the contract. 

    Even Shawn Fain’s previously praised update livestreams aren’t safe. Irate commenters took to his most recent update to voice their displeasure with the agreement.  

    What’s driving this backlash? 

    UAW President Shawn Fain set expectations high going into this year’s contract negotiations, touting his willingness to take on auto makers. 

    But in the end, the UAW backed off from many of its initial demands. The union will not have a four day work week, nor will traditional pensions be reestablished. In short, Fain was far from able to live up to his rhetoric. 

    Consider Fain’s promise to fight wage tiers. Ending wage tiers featured heavily in signs and graphics that dotted picket lines and the union’s promotional content. Fain referred to them as a “toxic divide” and said that “It’s wrong to make any worker a second class worker. We can’t allow it any longer in the UAW.”

    But a closer reading of the proposed contracts tells a different story. The tentative agreements with Stellantis and GM show that new employees at the companies’ electric vehicle joint ventures will be paid at just 75% of the UAW’s contract standard rate. In other words, the contract created a new wage tier. 

    The pattern is the same around many other key issues of the strike. Fain promised a return to traditional pensions, but settled for an increase to employer 401k contributions. He also called for a 46% pay raise, but settled for a 25% increase – not much different from the original offers prior to the start of the strike.

    Fain may have won a contract, but it’s a far cry from the expectations he set. And it looks like workers know it. 

    Categories: UAW