Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

SEIU Slapped in Palm Beach

This morning’s must-read article comes from Florida, where Palm Beach Post editorial writer Joel Engelhardt takes the Service Employees International Union officials to task for their hypocritical campaign to improve improve health care. Engelhardt picks up on the story of SEIU’s deal in California, first reported by SF Weekly and covered here, in which union officials made an underhanded agreement with health care facilities to allow the union to pick up members but to not rock the boat for the employer.

Engelhardt uses the episode to cast light on SEIU’s current campaign against private-equity firm Carlyle, which is buying a health care chain. Engelhardt’s bottom line:

So, if your mother is not being turned every day, and the bed sores are literally killing her, and the workers know this is happening but can’t do anything about it because on some shifts there are only two caregivers for 47 patients, the workers, through their union, have pledged to say nothing. To no one.

Ah, what price silence? I’d love to support the SEIU’s efforts to force closer scrutiny of Carlyle’s buyout. But it’s hard to trust an organization that would promote the California deal, and a similar one now being pushed in Washington state.

If the SEIU can make life miserable enough on Carlyle – already Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature have agreed to hold hearings – it must believe that it can force Carlyle to the negotiating table. If that happens, expect the ad campaign against Carlyle’s buyout to halt. If a union sellout is the price of labor peace, it’s too costly.

Categories: SEIU