News Release

Unions in Crisis

The Wall Street Journal is reporting: “Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, is moving to further consolidate bargaining and organizing efforts across industry lines, a move that could limit the power of local unions but give the union greater leverage with big employers.” SEIU is currently holding its convention in Puerto Rico.

BILL FLETCHER
Available for a limited number of interviews, Fletcher is author of the new book Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. He said today: “The struggle that’s going on now within SEIU in many ways is the struggle that should have happened in 2004 — dealing with what is the purpose of a union and how can it grow under very harsh conditions.” Fletcher is also executive editor of The Black Commentator.

MARK BRENNER
Brenner is writing about the SEIU convention for Labor Notes, an independent publication covering unions and labor.

Brenner noted that SEIU was unable to help Obama win Puerto Rico. He also noted that SEIU has a number of rivals including “the Puerto Rican teachers union, known by its Spanish acronym FMPR. The island’s largest union, FMPR is protesting SEIU’s attempt to raid over 40,000 teachers it represented. According to the independent union, SEIU brokered a backroom deal last year with the Puerto Rican governor that paved the way for SEIU to oust the FMPR. The deal is one of several recent secret deals that have been criticized for prioritizing relationships with employers and power brokers over working people. …

“Stern and his supporters also face hefty internal opposition over their plans to centralize more resources and control in the union’s D.C. headquarters.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167