The clash between factions of UNITE HERE at the national level has spilled over to the local chapters. The Minnesota Independent details UNITE HERE Local 17’s troubles with its rank and file.
UNITE HERE’s divisions started in January when a top UNITE HERE official in Michigan was ousted. The two factions, led by former HERE leader John Wilhelm and former UNITE leader Bruce Raynor, escalated the dispute. Raynor filed a federal lawsuit accusing Wilhelm’s faction of violating the union’s constitution and seeking to control the union’s finances. Wilhelm and his cohorts counter-sued. This culminated with several regional boards voting to disaffiliate from UNITE HERE completely.
To make matters even more interesting, the SEIU has stepped into the middle of the conflict in an effort to raid UNITE HERE for union members. UNITE HERE Local 17 officials decried SEIU’s efforts in a letter, stating that “[T]he SEIU, by forcing a split in UNITE HERE, is undertaking one of the largest inter-union raids in American labor history. SEIU’s raid is unprecedented in both its tone and scale.”
A press release from UNITE HERE Local 11 accused the SEIU of a “campaign of intimidation and harassment” that included a “barrage of phone calls” to members, “mud-slinging mailers” and “SEIU staff invading UNITE HERE workplaces and pressuring workers.”
This resulted in UNITE HERE union members protesting the SEIU at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Keep in mind that these tactics and actions are just amongst unions. Imagine how unions would operate under EFCA.