Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

The UHW/SEIU fight heats up

A few weeks ago, I linked to a video of  UHW members blasting Andy Stern and SEIU.  I went through the video and picked out some of the choice quotes. While a lot these quotes have to do with democracy, they are not particularly in reference to the Employee Free Choice Act. Though, it’s almost impossible to listen to these quotes without thinking about EFCA’s negative effects on union democracy.

2:02 “Fundamental to this union is the belief that member democracy must be a part of our everyday life and that’s why so many people are involved in this union and why we’ve achieved all these great things.”-Sal Roselli

4:37 “The collective bargaining relationship with your employer should be controlled by all of you. Is there anything revolutionary about that? [crowd] “no!!!”

6:42 “The key issue is to have a democratic voice. We want to keep our democratic voice. The members really want to be able to choose their own leaders, their own leadership, and what local that they want to belong to. And the process needs to be fair; it needs to be democratic and the members want to make sure that happens.”

8:12 “It is a fundamental right not just as members but as humans to have the right to vote on decisions that will affect us as members and as and for that will affect our family also and the patients.”-Ruby Guzman, Nursing Assistant in San Pablo

9:28 “I cannot allow this. It’s gonna affect me, my family, and the patients and this is my family. These are my brothers and sisters and I will not be separated from them just because of one person trying to abuse his power of authority and take things that he thinks belongs to him. He has no right to do that.” -Ruby Guzman, Nursing Assistant in San Pablo

10:53 “We believe in Democracy. We believe in a vote. We believe that the people have the last words.”

13:17 A protest sign says “I ‘heart’ Union Democracy!” (Maybe, we should make the same signs for Employee Free Choice Act protests.)

13:31 “The Trusteeship is something that I think Andy Stern has paid for with our dollars by buying these people such as -what is the guy’s name -Congressman Miller and all the other whoever puppets he have where he can spend money -our money on to make things happen his way.”

14:30 “This is his [Stern’s] tactic. You know his tactic is to do whatever it is so he can keep stepping on people who have built the democracy that we have and put him in the seat that he is in so he can stay there.  But, he don’t know that he’s woke up a sleeping giant.”

15:04 “George Miller is someone Andy Stern appointed to. So George Miller is accountable to Andy Stern. Ok.

Those are some harsh words to say the least. We wish UHW the best of luck choosing their union through a democratic process, and we’ll keep an eye on this story as more emerges.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret BallotsSEIU