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Property is theft

By Owen Paine on Saturday October 9, 2010 11:36 PM


"America's Union", SEIU won a big representation fight at health services giant Kaiser-Permanente: 18,290 votes for SEIU (61 percent) to 11,364 for the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) (38 percent).

Bad news for progressive unionism? Most reports from the left say so, but we'll need to see what happens next.

The loser, feisty independent NUHW, took a near two-to-one beating. Was this microscopic outfit of former SEIU cadre simply outgunned? Probably. But at least in part, the problem lay elsewhere.

Despite many enemies among the college of labor organizations, thanks to both the success and ruthlessness of ex-SEIU purple duce Jimminy Stern, it seems SEIU leverage managed to cut off both major sources of funds and human resources for bootstrap op NUHW. The nurses' union and after them, the the hotel workers, both dove into this fight against SEIU, but then both, as part of comprehensive national settlements of outstanding jurisdiction disputes, agreed to get out and stay out of SEIU's fight with NUHW.

Not a very encouraging start to any new era of broadly-based contested representation. The ruling paradigm remains exclusive franchising, enforced collectively by the ad hoc invisible confederacy of business unions.

The union chieftains appear to still dream of reconstituting the George Meany era, even as this squalid collaborative paradigm, after 30-plus years of total war by their limited liability counterparts, finds former "big" unionism with nothing but pathetic scraps of membership, bankrupt treasuries and contemptuous laughter from the boardrooms of corporate America.

If I were the NUHW crowd, I'd use the present base inside Kaiser to push for multi-union "company" recognition under other provisions of the National Labor Relations act in the upcoming contract negotiations. Exclusive rep contracts are not the only legal form of collective rep contract. Even with the checkered history of right-to-work laws to the contrary, the legal reality has always left other options open.

The stark motivation behind striving for an exclusive rep pattern is simple and sensible enough: involuntary dues collection from all members of a bargaining unit. That explains the exclusive pursuit by all "real" unions of exclusivity.

I hardly need add: much needs to be discussed here....

Comments (4)



"With any luck, the National Labor Relations Board could soon issue a rule that would require employers to bargain with members-only unions—that is, unions that have not demonstrated their majority status through a representation election.

Recent surveys have shown a majority of workers want to belong to a union. If just 40 percent were willing to stick their necks out at a workplace and this rule was in place, these workers could not only belong to a union but bargain with their employer. Building workers’ power at the job would take a giant step forward."


"Historically, the NLRA did not require that majority support for the union be proven before an employer had to engage in collective bargaining. Consider how the UAW’s 1937 sit-down strike at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan, was settled:

"The Corporation hereby recognizes the Union as the Collective Bargaining agency for those employees of the Corporation who are members of the Union."

Like the majority of agreements reached in the early years of the NLRA, the employer recognized the union as the bargaining agent for its members only. The majority of Flint workers were not UAW members at that point. "


my common la son in law
informs me
the UFW took only about half its barg units back
from a raiding teamster effort


this raid/usurpation
was backed by the growers
and in the lawless wide open
context of no NLRB type regulation
and yet his point:

despite lots of rank and file support
a black hat raider can still win
its "fair" share of straight up election contests

the ufw v teamster scrap of the late 60's and early 70's
was a worthwhile template for these struggles


by this "win"
SEIU retained control
$ 40 million
per annum
in barg unit dues

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