Service Employees International Union

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The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a socialist, politically powerful labor union with 2 million members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and the largest union of property service workers in the United States. The SEIU says they are "dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society". It is closely affiliated with the Democratic Party and is tightly controlled by labor boss Andy Stern, the president since 1996. At a time when most unions are shrinking, SEIU has grown rapidly; only the National Education Association is larger.

About 40% of the membership comprises public employees, whose employers are federal, state, and local governments. The employers answer to voters not shareholders, and politically powerful unions like SEIU have a strong voice at the polls. Government agencies do not have to fear that strikes will give an advantage to their competition--they have little local competition and no fears of international competitors--so strikes are not common. But the voting power of SEIU means local and state politicians--especially Democrats--often willingly agree to union recognition and enter into long-term collective bargaining contracts with votes as an implicit side payment. A large portion of the SEIU membership comprises women, minorities, and immigrants--groups that historically were hard to organize.

The SEIU operates with a well-paid skilled staff and has a presence in virtually every major American city.

Contents

Components

The SEIU represents four service industry divisions:

  • Hospital Systems – SEIU is the largest union of health care workers in the US. The hospital systems division represents caregivers and hospital employees, including nurses and doctors in public, private, and non-profit medical institutions.
  • Long-Term Care – SEIU is the largest union of long-term care workers in the US. These are home care and nursing home workers who provide services in both facility and private home settings for seniors and the disabled.
  • Public Services – SEIU is the second largest union of public service employees composed of local and state government workers, public school employees, bus drivers, and child care providers.
  • Security Services – SEIU is the largest security union, representing Securitas Security Services USA, which employs 1,800 security officers at Kaiser medical facilities in five states.[1][2] The motto for the SEIU security union is, "Stand for Security," accompanied with their very own SEIU security logo.[3]

Political Agenda

At the outset, Stern told members that he expected "every leader at every level of this union -- from the international President to the rank-and-file member -- to devote five working days this year to political action." In effect, this became the mandate for the union leaders to work in support of the Democratic Party. Stern sits on the Executive Committee of America Coming Together funded by George Soros. SEIU is a major component of the "Shadow Democratic Party," a network of more than five-dozen unions, nonprofit activist groups, and think tanks with the agendas of the left and which campaigns for Democrat candidates and causes. Because they are a "527 organization", SEIU is not registered as a "political organization" with the Federal Election Commission, and collects "soft money" with no limits on how much it may receive. This money, in turn, is given to Democratic candidates, political action committees, and other "527" groups promoting the same agendas.[4]

Change to Win

In the last two decades a great deal of consolidation happened in the union movement. The garment workers union[5] and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union), merged in 2004 to create a new union UNITE HERE, with 450,000 members. Then UNITE HERE formed a coalition with the Teamsters, SEIU, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Laborers, and the United Farm Workers (UFW) to form Change to Win in 2005. It sought to displace the well-established AFL-CIO. Stern became the spokesman for Change to Win and he challenged AFL-CIO president John Sweeney for national attention.

Recently Stern's SEIU has been raiding members from UNITE HERE, thus creating a deep division in the Change to Win coalition. In 2008 Bruce Raynor of UNITE, the co-president of UNITE HERE declare the UNITE HERE merger a failure, and tried to take UNITE (and its bank) into SEIU. The other co-president John Wilhelm of HERE protested loudly, and the internecine battle was on. Stern He financed and, with Raynor, created a new hotel-restaurant-casino union called 'Workers United" that is part of SEIU and is now openly trying to sign up HERE members. Raynor resigned from UNITE HERE, becoming president of Workers United and executive vice president of SEIU.

Meanwhile the turmoil has given conservatives in Congress another good reason to fight EFCA (a card-check device that would replace secret union elections), because it would be used in factional fights.

ACORN Connections

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now's largest union backer is the SEIU. ACORN gave more than $4 million to the SEIU and its shadow party affiliates in 2006-07, according to Dept. of Labor filings. One SEIU union, the Illinois Homecare Workers and Home Childcare Providers, sprouted from ACORN's organizing efforts and pays rent to ACORN.[6]

SEIU locals 100 and 880 are run out of the same address, on 1024 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans, as ACORN. Financial disclosures also show that SEIU paid $500,000 in two installments to the “Wal-Mart Organizing Project.” The checks were sent to ACORN’s headquarters in Louisiana. Local 880’s Department of Labor financial filings, in 2005, shows loans and payments to ACORN-run organizations.[7]

On February 18, 2010, the Oversight on Government Reform committee released a report on ACORN and SEIU funding; it was revealed that ACORN activities – despite contentions they are intended to help the poor – fulfill a self-serving and political purpose.[8] The groups, ACORN and the SEIU, were found to achieve political ends through a pattern of threatening banks and state officials' offices with litigation.[9] The report includes the following information on the SEIU's connections with ACORN.

  • “Muscle for the Money” – Muscle for the Money involves using non-profit corporations for electioneering activities and an SEIU strategy to threaten corporations and banks into brokering deals for ACORN’s financial benefit. SEIU and Project Vote used litigation to force demands from government officials. ACORN, through Project Vote, threatened State Secretary of State offices with lawsuits, thus forcing political compromises at the expense of taxpayers.
  • SEIU and ACORN are substantially intertwined – SEIU and ACORN jointly manage SEIU Local 100; SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana; SEIU Local 21A; SEIU Local 32BJ; SEIU Local 52BJ; SEIU Local 880; and SEIU Local 1199. SEIU aided and encouraged ACORN to put pressure on banks, to use its federally-funded affiliates to target political candidates, and to threaten public officials with litigation. ACORN took the lead in these activities and SEIU was the willing accomplice.
  • ACORN profited from the misery of the financial collapse – ACORN Housing (AHC) financially profited from efforts to intimidate banks into lowering down payment and mortgage lending standards – a trend that contributed to the financial crisis. ACORN used provisions in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 to challenge bank mergers and acquisitions. These challenges successfully forced banks to make lending agreements with ACORN Housing. ACORN is one of the few entities that actually profited from the misery created by the collapse of the housing bubble.
  • ACORN is not a charity – ACORN filed corporate income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and failed to file a Form 990, a requirement for non-profit status in several states where ACORN does business. In some states, ACORN fraudulently informed state Secretary of States that it was tax-exempt in order to avoid state corporate taxes.
  • Accounting irregularities involving ACORN affiliated charities – ACORN received large amounts of money from its nonprofit affiliates while giving significantly less back in return, suggesting wide-spread subversive accounting practices. Based upon ACORN affiliates’ tax-exempt disclosures, there are substantial discrepancies between ACORN’s own audits and what has been officially reported to the IRS. Nearly 40% of the disbursements from three of ACORN’s 501(c)(3) affiliates to ACORN’s national organization come in the form of gifts and grants for which no real reason is given for the transfer of funds.

Terrorism

In a clear case of economic terrorism, audio recordings revealed on March 22, 2011, captured disturbing evidence of radical leftists plotting to deliberately wage war on American capitalism in order to redistribute the nation’s wealth. Leading the group of leftist organizers is SEIU director of financial reform efforts and international executive board member, Steven Lerner.[10] Steven Lerner was recorded laying out a plan to attack JP Morgan Chase and outlining a plan to collapse the American economy.[11] Steven Lerner described in detail how the SEIU was going to help take down a major U.S. bank beginning in May, 2011, and how they were going to collapse the stock market and bring on a second economic collapse.[12] Lerner also said that leftist leaders must convince their followers that the country is not broke, but that the wealth is all in the hands of the rich.

Thuggery

On August 7th 2009 three SEIU members were seen attacking a black conservative protester outside a Saint Louis Townhall meeting.[13] The forum on aging called by Rep. Russ Carnahan, Democrat, drew an overflow crowd in a school gym in south St. Louis County, Missouri. Dozens of people, some with signs about the health care debate, were kept out. Kenneth Gladney, 38, a conservative activist, was attacked as he handed out yellow flags with "Don’t tread on me" on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him. Mr. Gladney was attacked by people wearing dark blue SEIU t-shirts as the video that surfaced shows. [14]

Crime

In a press release issued March 17, 2011, Sodexo USA announced that the company has filed a civil lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act., accusing the union of engaging in an "illegal campaign of extortion."[15] Other crime related activity includes, according to papers filed with the King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington, criminal charges filed against a member of Service Employees International Union, Local 775 NW for submitting allegedly forged signatures in support of Initiative 1098, a measure to allow income taxes in the state of Washington.[16] The SEIU is allegedly in connection to a case of voter fraud in Harris County Texas, according to a Fox News report.[17][18] "The integrity of the voting rolls in Harris County, Texas, appears to be under an organized and systematic attack by the group operating under the name Houston Votes," the Harris voter registrar, Leo Vasquez, charged as he passed on the documentation to the district attorney.

Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Steve [Sean] Caddle, who also works for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.[19]

At a Progressive Summit, the SEIU's Stephen Lerner told community organizers and students they need to escalate protests, break laws, occupy abandoned houses, and spread crisis across the United States.[20]

I remember the first time I was arrested, it was terrifying. But I think if we really believe that we have to create a crisis for the other side, then we have to be serious. [...] So what do we need to do? What would change their behavior? We have to create a crisis for them! [...] We will change their behavior; we will force them to negotiate if we create a crisis.

Barack Obama's Aide

Patrick Gaspard, who served as the political director for the Service Employees International Union local 1199 and is Barack Obama's current political director, received $37,071.46 in “carried over leave and vacation” from the union in 2009, but he did not disclose the agreement to receive the payment on his financial disclosure forms filed with the White House.[21] In a section on his financial disclosure where agreements or arrangements for payment by a former employer must be disclosed, Gaspard checked a box indicating that he had nothing to report. Such financial disclosures are governed by federal law. Gaspard spent nine years at 1199 SEIU, a major labor union in New York. Gaspard also worked for Obama’s campaign, and later worked for the transition team, where he earned $11,500, according to the financial disclosure form he filed this year. He was pulling a salary from SEIU until Jan. 16, 2009, shortly before Obama was inaugurated.

Civilian Army

Barack Obama has pledged to give the SEIU more power and strength, as well as the power to eventually "Paint the nation purple." Obama's hope for giving the SEIU more power as a civilian army, in his words, is because "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."[22] Obama and the SEIU's most recent move to control more power as a national security force was seen on February 11, 2010, following an incident in Seattle's Transit Tunnel after security personnel watched a 15 year old girl get beaten and mugged. The SEIU quickly jumped on the opportunity to try and take advantage of a poor 'security' policy by taking over security in general.[23] The Seattle Times reported, "The Service Employees International Union Local 6 issued a statement Wednesday framing the attack as a reason SEIU should represent the Olympic guards. It already represents Securitas."[24] SEIU researcher Emily Sokolski made the following statement.

Security guards this week have mentioned their frustration at standing back. [Metro guards] don't have the tools to intervene, at this point. They don't have self-defense training in how to intervene in a physical altercation. They would not only be in danger, but they would be in danger of losing their jobs.[23]

SEIU is strongest in California, where its United Healthcare Workers-West is one of California's largest unions at 150,000 members. The head is Sal Rosselli, who is locked in a bitter battle with Stern and the national headquarters.

Further reading

  • Fink, Leon, and Brian Greenberg. Upheaval in the Quiet Zone: 1199/SEIU and the Politics of Healthcare Unionism (2nd ed. 2009)
  • Fletcher, Bill, and Fernando Gapasin. Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice (2009)
  • Plumer, Bradford. "Labor's Love Lost," New Republic, April 23, 2008, Vol. 238, Issue 7 online in Academic Search Premier, focus on clflict between Stern and Rosselli

External Links

References

  1. Ratified Security Contract (PDF), December 8, 2008.
  2. Union Leaders Misrepresent Facts in Contract Talks for Security Guards, Sys-Con Media, 2008.
  3. Stand for Security, SEIU logo and motto.
  4. Service Employees International Union (SEIU), DiscoverTheNetworks.org.
  5. The successor to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Its membership is shrinking but it has a large treasury.
  6. Wade Rathke. NPR exposes ACORN-SEIU $$ connection, October 17, 2008.
  7. SEIU, ACORN, and the White House, 73Wire.com, May 16, 2009.
  8. Darrell Issa (CA-49), Ranking Member. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, February 18, 2010. <http://republicans.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Reports/20100218followthemoneyacornseiuandtheirpoliticalallies.pdf>
  9. Issa Releases Report – Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU and their Political Allies, Committee on Oversight and Government reform.
  10. Meredith Jessup. Uncovered: Did the Leftist Encouraging Economic Terrorism Have Access to Obama’s White House?, The Blaze, March 23, 2011.
  11. Glenn Beck. Beck: “Clear case of economic terrorism”, GlennBeck.com, March 22, 2011.
  12. Jonathon M. Seidl. Blaze Exclusive: Congressman Presses Holder to Investigate ‘Terrorist Plans’ in Bank Plot, The Blaze, March 23, 2011.
  13. Eyewitness Account of Union Thugs Beating Tea Party Attendee in St. Louis, The TCOT Report, August 7, 2009.
  14. SEIU Thugs Beat Up Town Hall Protester, Sweetness & Light, August 07, 2009.
  15. Liberty Chick. SEIU Hit With RICO Lawsuit, "[SEIU] Blames Hunton and Williams and…Koch Brothers," biggovernment.com, March 20, 2011.
  16. Scott "The Piper" St. Clair. Criminal charges filed against SEIU member for submitting bogus I-1098 signatures, The Official Blog of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, September 16, 2010.
  17. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/23/voter-fraud-houston-tea-party-truethevote-texas/
  18. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/guess-who-might-be-behind-voter-fraud-in-harris-county-texas/
  19. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/23/voter-fraud-houston-tea-party-truethevote-texas/?test=latestnews
  20. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/we-are-heroes-who-need-to-create-a-crisis-seiu-stephen-lerner-at-progressive-summit-tells-unions-community-organizers-and-students-they-need-to-escalate-protests-break-laws-occupy-abandon-houses/
  21. Jake Sherman. White House aide failed to disclose $40K payout, Politico, June 28, 2010.
  22. Glenn Beck. Barack Obama's Civilian Army, Fox News, August 27, 2009.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Derek Erwin. Obama's SEIU Shock Troops on Patrol, A 1-In-100 Blogger, February 11, 2010.
  24. Mike Lindblom. After tunnel beating, Metro wants guards to do more, The Seattle Times, February 10, 2010.
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