How the SEIU Won in California
Big Money, the Big Lie and Fear
CAL WINSLOW | CounterPunch
Last Friday, the National Labor Relations Board counted the mail-in ballots of Kaiser Permanente workers who were choosing between remaining with the SEIU-UHW or switching to rival union NUHW. The SEIU won the election. The following is a portion of Cal Winslow’s analysis in CounterPunch:
Now the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has won the latest round in its ongoing, three-year campaign to crush dissident California health and hospital workers – its own members, incidentally, and at their expense. By year’s end SEIU will have spent as much as $50 million on this campaign alone.
This latest lavish SEIU spending spree helped lead to its victory in the Kaiser Permanente campaign, where Friday, October 8, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced SEIU defeated the new union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in the electoral contest to see which would represent 43,500 workers in the huge Kaiser chain of California hospitals and healthcare facilities.
The vote, 18,290 for SEIU, 13,640 for NUHW, was expected to have been closer. SEIU’s massive use of thousands of imported staff, multiple glossy mailers, robo calls and home visits apparently paid off. So did collusion with Kaiser and the NLRB. NUHW, quite rightly, will appeal the results.
The cost – for SEIU – of the Kaiser election (SEIU refuses requests to itemize its expenditures) will rank as one of the highest (per voter) in US history. Observers estimate the total thus far at $20 to $40 million. Randy Shaw, writing in BeyondChron (September 7, 2010), argues that even if SEIU has spent only $20 million – “it will exceed Whitman’s: the former EBay CEO spent 100 million in the primary to reach 17 million voters, SEIU spent 20-40 per cent of that to reach 44,000 Kaiser workers – or 2 per cent of the size. That means that SEIU spent between $495-$910 per vote, the equivalent of Whitman spending between $7.7 and $15.4 billion to become California’s next Governor.”
Money, we know, is sometimes not enough. So SEIU threw in intimidation, a campaign of smears, lies and fear. Consider this one example: SEIU consistently (in the hundreds of mailings it sent to members) accused NUHW leaders as having “stolen” members money, and, moreover, having been found guilty in court. Kaiser workers were treated with flyers featuring fake mug shots of NUHW leaders under the headline, “Guilty.” The truth – no NUHW leader (in stark contrast to SEIU’s scandal-ridden California operations) has been found guilty of stealing a penny, let alone charged with this in a court. Then fear – get this: the now departed Andy Stern, the one-time commander in chief of this California invasion, likened NUHW to terrorists! (Times, May 20, 2010) You can never, he reassured us, spend too much to fight terrorism. Don’t we know it?
Read the rest @ CounterPunch