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Topsy-turvy: Union Employees Picket Their Own Union Bosses

By Sandy Sand     Mar 28, 2009 in Business
Proving that unions aren‘t immune from union problems, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, D.C., gave their bosses a dose of “on the other sided of the picket line” medicine by picketing them.
Dozens of SEIU employees, upset over layoffs of 75 people, marched on the union’s national office in D.C., voicing their protests at what they consider unfair treatment.
Using bullhorns to make sure they were heard and passing out fliers, raucous shouts of:
"Justice for all, not just some,"
could be heard echoing through the streets.
The UUR (Union of Union Representatives), which represents 210 SEIU organizers and field staff around the country, president Malcolm Harris, has in the past filed unfair labor practice charges of age and race discrimination against corporations for “shedding workers,” and called the union bosses “hypocrites” for doing the same thing to its own workers. He said:
"This union is supposed to be at the forefront of the progressive movement, but it can't seem to follow its own ideology."
Defending the union, SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette, called the complaints “meritless,” and said:
…layoffs are needed because the union is shifting organizing work away from its national office to local unions.
"We're in the middle of realignment. This is how we implement the democratic decisions arrived at our convention."
Harris countered Ringuette’s claims with:
SEIU's treatment of employees could undermine the union's effort to pass federal legislation that would make it easier to organize unions.
He further explained that the tactics of the politically powerful union bosses were nothing more than:
…borrowing unsavory management tactics, such as dismissing workers without proper notice and refusing to meet with employees before their collective bargaining agreement expires next week.
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