In California, thousands of health care employees will finally have a chance to make a selection between SEIU and their West Coast rival, the NUHW. The NLRB dismissed charges the SEIU had filed attempting to block the elections.
The SEIU will likely be given the opportunity to withdraw the charges, offering them a way to save face. It is likely they will do so, as they have plenty of negative PR to deal with at the moment.
Evaluating the SEIU under Stern’s leadership provides a telling look at what unions are really about. By the time of Stern’s departure, the union was spending less per member on representational costs than at any time since 2002. Being deeply in debt, the union spent much of Stern’s last year cutting back on expenditures, and the deepest cuts were made to these representational expenses.
Revealing the true nature of how labor unions have evolved, University of California (Santa Barbara) labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein put his finger on the problem stating, “unions today are essentially political organizations which succeed by mobilizing their membership and animating their allies. Numbers are less important than élan.”
Listen to almost any of our interviews with former union organizers – they found out the hard way that unions are political organizations front and center, and care very little about “representing” their members.