The American left continues to form a circular firing squad, and now a divisive personal fight has broken out in the labor union on which Democrats have pinned so many hopes for future growth and funding, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), headed by Andrew Stern. It promises to get as ugly as the fight between Hillary and Barack.
Stern is retaliating against his most prominent critic in the union by leveling ethics charges and seeking to have him removed. This is highly appropriate given that the union head in question, California's Sal Rosselli, head of Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers West, has accused Stern of top-down, undemocratic, strongarm tactics. Stern is arguably the most important labor leader in the country, and a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Party, thanks to the vast sums of money and substantial manpower he sends the Democrats' way.
SEIU has been called the vanguard of the new labor movement and now they are unraveling before our eyes. This is just plain fun to watch.
Zachary Coile of the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Rosselli and other leaders of the union - which has 150,000 members, many of them in the Bay Area - said the allegations appear to be a prelude to a trusteeship, under which Stern would replace the union's elected leaders with his own appointees.
The battle between Stern and Rosselli is being closely watched by all of SEIU's 600,000 California members and could have long-term effects on how the labor movement organizes, elects its leaders and negotiates contracts nationwide. It also could have a seismic impact in the health care industry, where Rosselli's union remains a potent political and economic force. [....]
Last month, Rosselli resigned from SEIU's executive committee after accusing Stern of consolidating power in the hands of his allies while marginalizing other elected leaders. He also alleges that Stern has cut deals with corporate leaders to grow SEIU's rolls at the expense of current members' contracts.
"It's retaliatory because we are speaking out against his ideology, his direction," Rosselli said. "The simplest way I can say it is, it's top-down versus bottom-up, corporate unionism versus social unionism."
SEIU denies retaliation
SEIU officials denied any effort to retaliate against Rosselli for his views. They also insist that Rosselli's allegations against Stern are false and suggest he represents a minority view within the 1.9 million-member union.