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June 2, 2009
Political hit out on SEIU's Stern
When the government is giving money to unions hand over fist, it makes sense that there will be serious power plays and infighting among Big Labor to see who controls all that taxpayer financed bribery.
Via Pat Hynes, Ben Smith of Politico has a blockbuster inside story of a underhanded campaign to discredit and destroy Service Employees International Union chief Andrew Stern - an early and strong Obama ally who has made enemies in high places at SEIU:
Two memos from labor movement enemies of SEIU President Andrew Stern offer unusual insight into a concerted, ad hominem campaign against one of the country's highest-profile labor leaders.And the war isn't one sided:
The campaign seeks to "plant" stories in the press on the theme that "Stern is behind it all" and to "engender SEIU internal dissent," according to one memo.
The two internal memos were drafted by aides to hotel and casino workers' leader John Wilhelm, who heads UNITE HERE. The garment workers' side of that union has sought to secede and, as "Workers United," affliliate with Stern's SEIU, prompting a bitter turf battle between Stern, Wilhelm, and their respective allies.
They're a mark of the bitterness of this labor civil war, and and the vast resources being expended on it: One memo says that 20 UNITE HERE researchers are spending most of their time targeting SEIU, while another lays out a set of targets for organizers and other union staffers.
Stern's allies in the garment workers' faction also mailed a series of ad hominem attacks on local hotel workers' leaders, and the sides are skirmishing over the control locals. A spokeswoman for the hotel and casino workers' side, Pilar Weiss, said her side was only responding in kind.
These are defensive memos," she said in an email. "If one is being raided and smeared by SEIU, you react to their actions."
To give you an idea of how serious these thugs are, one memo was titled "How do we best engender SEIU internal dissent?"
This is a battle being waged nationwide, from Massachusetts to Nevada, pitting garment workers against health care workers. And it doesn't appear that it is going to end until either Stern or Wilhelm is vanquished.