In the Someone Left The Irony On Department, the SEIU has a new problem besides Democratic defectors on Card Check. A planned layoff has a union local filing a complaint with the NRLB over unfair labor practices and accuses the employer of bypassing union requirements by relying on temp and contract workers. Normally, the SEIU lives for these kinds of battles … but not when they’re the employer:
As it helps push for legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the country’s fastest-growing union is engaged in its own labor dispute with employees it is seeking to lay off.
The Service Employees International Union, considered the most influential union in the nation, has notified the union that represents about 220 of its national field staff and organizers that 75 of them are being laid off. In return, the workers’ union, which goes by the somewhat postmodern name of the Union of Union Representatives, has filed unfair labor practices charges against SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board. The staff union’s leaders say that SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use — laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temp firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers.
“It’s completely hypocritical,” said staff union President Malcolm Harris. “This is the union that’s been at the forefront of progressive issues, around ensuring that working people and working families are taken care of, but when it comes to the people that work for SEIU, they haven’t set the same standards.”
Gee … would Card Check help here? I don’t see how, since the workplace has already been organized. In fact, the union accuses the SEIU’s national office of outsourcing its advocacy work for Card Check to contract workers, a deliciously ironic pièce de resistance:
SEIU’s national office has been contracting out more and more work to a staffing agency, Harris said, including advocacy for card check. To his union, it looks as though SEIU is trying to phase it out of existence. “I would want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the direction they seem to be moving in is union-busting,” Harris said.
What does the SEIU have to say in response? “That would be the cynical way of looking at it,” SEIU spokesperson Michelle Ringuette said. Well, if this was any other organization dealing with an employee union, the SEIU would take the most cynical tack possible in fighting them.
The national office says they intend to take care of the people that have gotten the axe, but so far only six people have been offered jobs at local chapters. The organizing efforts will go back to the locals while Andy Stern and his national office rub elbows with the one-party power structure in Washington DC. Unionized employees won’t do as good of a job at that than consultants and contract lobbyists, so Stern wants to do what businesses do under those circumstances: downsize.