SMART's Open Letter Against the Trusteeship of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
In February, SMART sent an open letter against the trusteeship of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West to SEIU president Andy Stern, the SEIU International Executive Board, US president Barack Obama, and then-designate for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
The full letter including the cover page that was sent is available online, but the text of the statement itself reads below:
The economic collapse in California and nationally is the largest in our generation and a dangerous threat to our union, society, and lives. The need for a democratic labor movement is greater than ever.
This is why we will not accept any attempts to place the 160,000-member California-based local SEIU-UHW under trusteeship by SEIU's top leadership. UHW should not be punished for voicing the opinion that union democracy and rank-and-file member participation are essential to a strong labor movement.
We call on all SEIU members and locals throughout the country to call for a halt to this attempted take-over of a historic local—one which has led the way for SEIU members in California. UHW is a local that stands at the forefront of the struggle for union democracy, that maintains high contract standards for its workers, and that has been the fastest growing local within SEIU.
The destruction of UHW will be a severe detriment to SEIU. It will be used by anti-labor forces and management to attack the labor movement as a whole. It will be used to give unions a black eye by unscrupulous forces that would rather not see pro-labor legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act pass. This attempted trusteeship will only benefit labor's enemies.
In light of these reasons we call on all SEIU members to stand up and be counted in opposition to these tactics and call on SEIU and its president Andy Stern to draw back and accept democratic local control of SEIU-UHW.