Friday, March 27, 2009

Andy Stern is Still (Power) Hungry

The caption that was posted along with this picture is too funny to not pass along, "Where's me bank?" (On the left is John Wilhelm, former president of the union HERE and current Hospitality Division president of UNITE HERE; on the right is Bruce Raynor, former president of UNITE and current president of UNITE HERE; and on Raynor's shoulder is a leprechaun version of Andy Stern, president of SEIU.)

For those of you who might not know the context of this picture and why I find it hilarious, let me try to give the short version of the ongoing saga at UNITE HERE. Basically the short version, UNITE — the former union of textile workers — and HERE — the former union of hotel and foodservice employees — merged to form a single union, UNITE HERE. The merger was precipitated by the fact that HERE had been very successful at organizing members but was burning through cash while UNITE's membership had been declining but was flush with money because the union is the owner of Amalgamated Bank. All was good while the two presidents, Bruce Raynor (UNITE) and John Wilhelm (HERE)were getting along. Then, they stopped agreeing, supposedly Wilhem wasn't allowing Raynor to head the union alone but Raynor was outvoted since at least 60% of UNITE HERE members were from former HERE locals. Anyway, Raynor started talking about a "divorce" (no, literally, with all of the normative assumptions that go along with it) and the two have been trash-talking each other in the press (for the longer version see here).

Well, it turns out that in the divorce there was really a lover in the wings. Andy Stern, the obnoxious president of SEIU wants both unions to join SEIU thereby increasing his own personal power, which it seems, is all that Andy Stern is interested in. Over the past month, the former UNITE locals resigned from the UNITE HERE, and this past weekend formed a new union, Workers United. The nascent union lasted all of a day before they affiliated with Stern's SEIU with a new agreement that essentially lets SEIU raid the sectors remaining under the former HERE's jurisdiction.

It seems like Andy Stern's sole goal in life is to gain more power for himself, make his organization bigger, and be seen hobnobbing with important people (for example). He sees himself as a modern-day John L. Lewis, but in reality he is a corporate-style thug who can't even be bothered to cover the corporate double-speak when busting the union of SEIU employees.[1]

[1] Please note that this post is solely my (Mike's) opinion by observing events in the labor movement for the past three years. Given his style, it would make complete sense why he wants to get his grubby hands on the only union-owned bank in the country.


wobblie said...

Oh, I don't think it's solely your opinion...

Mike3550 said...

It's good to know that I have company. I just didn't want to assume any company =)

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable how one man's ego and ambitions can cause so much harm to the rest of the labor movement. I've been watching Stern for some time and am truly disgusted by his behavior. When will honest people inside SEIU give him the boot? When will other labor leaders across the country confront him? Why do they sit on their hands and say nothing?

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