Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Strong words for SEIU’s national leadership

Labor historian Cal Winslow and former CWA national staffer Steve Early have strong words for the Service Employee’s national leaders in an article on Counterpunch:

How did a national union culture, long touted as one of labor’s most dynamic and progressive, engender such a mess? How did it produce a Tyrone Freeman and the kind of press coverage he’s been getting lately (which hurts all unions, not just SEIU)? In Pringle’s Los Angeles Times reporting, this “rising star in local labor circles” is depicted, accurately, by all accounts (except his own), as a free-spending 21st century SEIU version of Jackie Presser, the biggest Teamster boodler of the 1970s and 80s. As other observers have noted, there’s a steady drift, in too many SEIU’ locals, toward Presser’s brand of plain old “business unionism.” First, SEIU operatives at the Labor Notes conference last Spring resort to the same kind of thuggish behavior once common in the Teamsters during the Presser era. Now, like purple shades of Jackie, SEIU leaders collect inflated salaries, tolerate executive board double-dipping, and ignore casual looting of local treasuries, until membership or media whistle-blowing forces them to announce a “clean-up.”

Categories: Center for Union FactsCrime & CorruptionSEIU