SEIU International goons attack Labor Notes Conference

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Hieronymous
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Apr 13 2008 18:18
SEIU International goons attack Labor Notes Conference

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2008
Contact Chris Kutalik 313-378-2588 or Mischa Gaus 773-627-3205

SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION ATTACKS LABOR GATHERING
CONFERENCE-GOERS ASSAULTED
Dearborn, MI—The Service Employees International Union turned their
dispute with the California Nurses Association violent by attacking a
labor conference April 12, injuring several and sending an American Axle
striker to the hospital.

A recently retired member of United Auto Workers Local 235, Dianne Feeley,
suffered a head wound after being knocked to the ground by SEIU
International staff and local members. Other conference-goers—members of
the Teamsters, UAW, UNITE HERE, International Longshoremen’s Association,
and SEIU itself—were punched, kicked, shoved, and pushed to the floor.
Dearborn police responded and evicted the three bus loads of SEIU
International staff and members of local and regional health care unions.
No arrests were made.

The assault took place at the Labor Notes conference, a biennial gathering
of 1,100 union members and leaders who met to discuss strategies to
rebuild the labor movement.

David Cohen, an international representative of the United Electrical
Workers, asked protesters why they came. He said one responded, “they told
us just to get on the bus.”
The protesters included several members with young children, who had to be
ushered away when SEIU tried to force their way into the conference
banquet hall. Protesters were targeting Rose Ann DeMoro, executive
director of the AFL-CIO-affiliated CNA. DeMoro was scheduled to speak but
declined to appear after threats were made against her union’s leadership.

Despite being welcomed to the conference earlier in the day—and given
space to debate supporters of the CNA and the National Nurses Organizing
Committee about neutrality organizing agreements—SEIU international and
regional staff shouted down speakers at workshops and panels throughout
the event.

“Labor Notes has always been a space for open debate, but when a union
decides to engage in violence against their brothers and sisters, we draw
a line,” said Mark Brenner, director of Labor Notes. “Violence within the
labor movement is unacceptable and we call on the national leadership of
SEIU, including President Andy Stern, to repudiate it.”

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Apr 13 2008 19:50

SEIU Members Stand Up for the Future of the Labor Movement and the Interests of All Workers

DEARBORN, Mich., April 12, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Hundreds of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members from across the country joined in protest tonight, renouncing recent actions by the California Nurses Association (CNA: 25.67, -0.87, -3.27%) to interfere in other unions' organizing efforts. SEIU members made their voices heard during the Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, Michigan, where CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro was scheduled to speak but cancelled at the last minute, anticipating the scrutiny her actions were expected to receive. Below is a statement from SEIU Executive Vice President Mary Kay Henry:

"Tonight, SEIU members stood up for the future of the labor movement and called on the California Nurses Association to stop fighting with other unions and start helping us build a stronger labor movement to help all workers reclaim the American Dream.

"At a time when the economy is in a downward spiral, when income inequality and economic uncertainty are at record levels and when only 12.1 percent of the U.S. workforce has union representation, we simply can not abide by union-busting and member poaching between unions. Unions must stand united for the interests of working people.

"The more than 800 SEIU members who traveled to Dearborn from all parts of the country tonight would much rather be at home: holding their local state and national representatives accountable; going door to door to elect pro-worker candidates; and helping security officers, janitors, healthcare workers, and other service workers unite to attain a voice on the job. But CNA's recent actions threaten the future of the labor movement for all workers -- and we cannot remain silent.

"Open debate serves an important role as we work to strengthen our movement. The Labor Notes Conference is the right time and place to discuss our differences. Emergency room hallways and days before contentious union elections are not.

"Our ability as workers, progressives, and labor leaders to ensure that unions play a role in mending the economic woes of our nation depends on our ability to grow and our ability to work together. Tonight we call on CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro and the entire labor movement to take a deep breath, to realize what is at stake, and to put the interests of working people ahead of union differences."

THIS POST IS A CUT AND PASTED PRESS RELEASE AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINION OF THE POSTER

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Apr 13 2008 19:58

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/04/battle-of-the-n.html
http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2008/04/seiu_stalking_h.html
http://www.camajorityreport.com/index.php?module=articles&func=display&aid=2998&ptid=9

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mediajackal
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Apr 13 2008 22:48

It did happen. I am in Detroit and drove a friend to the Labor Notes conference. The CNA has posted a release. There will be video from cameras on hand.

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Apr 14 2008 01:54

I know, still bad form to post a trotskyist press release as news.

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Apr 14 2008 03:01
MJ wrote:
I know, still bad form to post a trotskyist press release as news.

How is it trotskyist? Most of Solidarity would be categorized as left-social democrats. And Labor Notes isn't a sock puppet. you might as well bring up references to the mikado. tongue

pghwob
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Apr 14 2008 03:45

I hope its not becoming en vogue in the anarchist-commuist movement to drink purple kool-aid.

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Apr 14 2008 04:33

Nope. I hope it's not becoming en vogue in the IWW to support craft unions, or follow whichever faction of bureaucrats wins at populist buzzword bingo.

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pghwob
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Apr 14 2008 10:36

No, I support the right of workers to discuss what union model works best for them in their particular situation and industry. I don't think the fact the SEIU has former Maoists or beats up on unionists or whatever makes it militant. I don't support beating-up union reformers, even though I may disagree with them. I do disagree with the CNA's approach to organizing nurses. I do not think it will help build industrial power in the long term, but neither do I think your SEIU sweetheart deals will either.

onthemarch
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Apr 14 2008 15:23

Jeeeezus..... Nobody "beat up" anybody. Even the ridiculous press releases from the CNA union-busters and their Trotskyite advocates at Labor Notes fall short of such a claim. Apparently someone was knocked over and bumped their head during the altercation and was taken to the hospital. That's a fair bit short of being beaten up.

If anyone was injured, that is certainly unfortunate. However, when folks bust unions or when so-called reformers make the union-busters keynote speakers at their events, it's going to provoke a reaction.

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Apr 14 2008 16:10
onthemarch wrote:
Jeeeezus..... Nobody "beat up" anybody. Even the ridiculous press releases from the CNA union-busters and their Trotskyite advocates at Labor Notes fall short of such a claim. Apparently someone was knocked over and bumped their head during the altercation and was taken to the hospital. That's a fair bit short of being beaten up.

Folks I know at the conference tell me that the SEIU was punching Labor Notes folks in order to break through to the conference.

I find it telling that you use the Stalinist "troskyite" when describing Labor Notes. As I've asked MJ above, please prove that Labor Notes is "trotskyite", or in the pay of the mikado, or whatever.

I'm in basic agreement with pgh.

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Apr 14 2008 16:35

Okay. Not everyone in the leadership at Labor Notes is in Solidarity, and not everyone in Solidarity is a Trotskyist.

The fact that Labor Notes was having Rosselli and DeMoro as keynote speakers at their conference shows that they are willing to get in bed with the worst kind of bureaucrats, if it means furthering their agenda, which right now looks an awful lot like picking whatever remaining union is actually big, or actually growing, and acting like they're the worst union in the country. LN's longstanding hatred of the SEIU has caused them to pick a side in a nasty, fratricidal, factional dispute that right now involves a campaign of raiding and deliberately disrupting organizing drives. The CNA is a craft union trying to gain power in California politics by raiding and straight-up sabotaging an industrial union nationally. I have no particular love for the SEIU -- fuck you pghwob for saying their sweetheart deals are somehow "my" sweetheart deals -- but I have to sit back and laugh at LN for bringing this war into their house and then acting all shocked and dismayed when it actually showed up. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

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booeyschewy
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Apr 14 2008 16:40

I talked to people in detroit. SEIU staff registered under fake names to unlock the doors from the inside, and then the staff and volunteers came in swinging. It was definately a violent situation. Personally I side with pgh on this one. I have disagreements with the way CNA organizes, and don't like the way they handled intervening in SEIU's organizing, but the way SEIU is handling it has crossed some lines.

booeyschewy
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Apr 14 2008 16:40

I talked to people in detroit. SEIU staff registered under fake names to unlock the doors from the inside, and then the staff and volunteers came in swinging. It was definately a violent situation. Personally I side with pgh on this one. I have disagreements with the way CNA organizes, and don't like the way they handled intervening in SEIU's organizing, but the way SEIU is handling it has crossed some lines.

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Apr 14 2008 16:55

MJ - I think Labor Notes has made some serious errors in it's support of CNA, etc. but that's no justification for what SEIU did. SEIU could have asked for a debate, etc. That's expanding free speech, discussion and knowledge in the working class. To send in 800 people to disrupt/bust up a conference isn't ok.

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Apr 14 2008 17:07

Where did I say it was OK? Where did I "justify" what SEIUers did?

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pghwob
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Apr 14 2008 17:52

Ok, so are you going to condemn it, MJ? Or are you just going to keep posting SEIU's warped press releases without comment?

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Apr 14 2008 18:02

I posted their press release without comment because the original post of this thread was a press release without comment.

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Apr 14 2008 18:15
MJ wrote:
Okay. Not everyone in the leadership at Labor Notes is in Solidarity, and not everyone in Solidarity is a Trotskyist.

I'm pretty sure solidarity is the US section of the Fourth International (USFI).

pghwob
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Apr 14 2008 18:38

Solidarity is not a US Section of the Fourth International, though they did have a caucus within the organization which had some generalized relations.

MJ, you still have not condemned the conduct, have you? Let's do it this way...assuming the allegations of union thuggery are true *as described* by numerous individuals, would you then condemn the conduct?

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Apr 14 2008 18:52

Why is it important to you whether or not I "condemn the conduct"? I had nothing to do with it. We don't need to pick a side in this. Get off your high horse.

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pghwob
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Apr 14 2008 19:16

I'm not picking a side with the SEIU-CNA dispute in Ohio or anywhere else. However, one need not agree with the CNA to condemn physical assaults by SEIU staffers and others on conference-goers. Either drink the kool aid or spit it out. Don't gargle with it.

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Apr 14 2008 19:31
georgestapleton wrote:
MJ wrote:
Okay. Not everyone in the leadership at Labor Notes is in Solidarity, and not everyone in Solidarity is a Trotskyist.

I'm pretty sure solidarity is the US section of the Fourth International (USFI).

Solidarity is multi-tendency, but basically left-social-democratic. One of the tendencies, perhaps 20% of the organization, is "sympethetic" with the USFI. There is also a anarchist/direct action tendency.

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Apr 14 2008 19:34
MJ wrote:
Where did I say it was OK? Where did I "justify" what SEIUers did?

I would classify saying they deserved it is an endorsement:

MJ wrote:
but I have to sit back and laugh at LN for bringing this war into their house and then acting all shocked and dismayed when it actually showed up. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
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Apr 14 2008 20:05

"Deserved" isn't the same as "should have expected". "Deserved" makes a value statement that I'm not making here. Come on, Labor Notes is getting tons of mileage out of this scuffle; their provocation might not have paid off in the way they had hoped or expected, but it's certainly paying off and I'm sure we will see them continue to harp on it long after the fact and long after anyone else cares.

I'm not going to "support" or "condemn" this action. I would support workers attacking and disrupting a conference of leftists cozying up with bureaucrats who sabotaged their union drive for political gain. By the same token, I would condemn bureaucrats sending workers and staffers to attack a conference on union democracy and worker control. What happened is obviously somewhere between those two scenarios. By "supporting" or "condemning" the action I would be picking a side in a factional fight that isn't mine, and shouldn't be ours.

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Apr 14 2008 21:19

Oh and I hope that Dianne Feeley is OK and wish her a speedy recovery.

BTW, Feeley was a member of the Socialist Workers' Party (US) beginning in 1967. She ran for governor of New York in 1978. She was in the Fourth International Tendency, and served on the SWP-US's National Committee up to the time of her expulsion in 1983. She and her associate Paul LeBlanc wrote a pamphlet "In Defense of Revolutionary Continuity" in this era, and were both founding members of Socialist Action in 1983. With Tom Twiss the two wrote "Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party". Many FIT members then split from Socialist Action to form Socialist Unity in 1985, which then merged with the IS and Workers Power to form Solidarity in 1986. She was in the Fourth International Caucus of Solidarity. She remains a very active member of Solidarity.

I condemn the individual who knocked her down.

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YSR
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Apr 14 2008 21:35

A fellow worker of mine was there, came in as the fight was winding down. His comment:

"I'm glad to see that someone is standing up to Andy Stern's purple menace;
but it would be a mistake to think that the CNA has or would deviate
substantially from a business union model. I'll be much happier when we can
convince pockets of trade unionists to adopt solidarity unionism. "

Solid words. CNA seems to have a fucked up organizing strategy, but SEIU's seems to be "hit people."

Another release I got from a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union said this about the makeup of the team of SEIUers:

"It was led by officials, but many behind them were rank and file members who
had been "mobilized." A friend talked to some of them and found out
they didn't know that they were brought to invade a national (and
international) labor event. One said they were told it was a meeting
of union busters. A few had children with them, so they were hardly
prepared for a confrontation. Minus the children, this was generally
the BLAST composition: the well-organized union staff up front, and
behind were rank and filers who may or may not know who or why they
were attacking."

(Apparently BLAST was a goon squad that the Teamsters politicos used to use in the 80's, for those like me who didn't know.)

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Apr 14 2008 22:09

They seem really interested in developing these New Directions and TDU analogies. Is there an actual "rank and file" movement, or not?

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H
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Apr 14 2008 23:43
booeyschewy wrote:
I talked to people in detroit. SEIU staff registered under fake names to unlock the doors from the inside, and then the staff and volunteers came in swinging. It was definately a violent situation. Personally I side with pgh on this one. I have disagreements with the way CNA organizes, and don't like the way they handled intervening in SEIU's organizing, but the way SEIU is handling it has crossed some lines.

Is this, or is not, what a militant wing inside a union should/would look like?

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Apr 15 2008 00:58
MJ wrote:
BTW, Feeley was a member of the Socialist Workers' Party (US) beginning in 1967. She ran for governor of New York in 1978. She was in the Fourth International Tendency, and served on the SWP-US's National Committee up to the time of her expulsion in 1983. She and her associate Paul LeBlanc wrote a pamphlet "In Defense of Revolutionary Continuity" in this era, and were both founding members of Socialist Action in 1983. With Tom Twiss the two wrote "Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party". Many FIT members then split from Socialist Action to form Socialist Unity in 1985, which then merged with the IS and Workers Power to form Solidarity in 1986. She was in the Fourth International Caucus of Solidarity. She remains a very active member of Solidarity.

What's your point?

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Apr 15 2008 02:27
fnbrill wrote:
MJ wrote:
BTW, Feeley was a member of the Socialist Workers' Party (US) beginning in 1967. She ran for governor of New York in 1978. She was in the Fourth International Tendency, and served on the SWP-US's National Committee up to the time of her expulsion in 1983. She and her associate Paul LeBlanc wrote a pamphlet "In Defense of Revolutionary Continuity" in this era, and were both founding members of Socialist Action in 1983. With Tom Twiss the two wrote "Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party". Many FIT members then split from Socialist Action to form Socialist Unity in 1985, which then merged with the IS and Workers Power to form Solidarity in 1986. She was in the Fourth International Caucus of Solidarity. She remains a very active member of Solidarity.

What's your point?

What's your point?

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