SEIU Union Fight Gets Ugly

-By Warner Todd Huston

Uh, oh. Looks like SEIU Chief Andy Stern isn’t taking this insurgency in stride. He’s breaking out the long knives for this one.

We’ve mentioned before how the SEIU president is under internal pressure over his growth model. Stern’s internal union opponents are claiming that he gives away too much power to employers solely to get new membership. Because a certain faction of the SEIU thinks Stern is weakening the union, they have risen up from within and challenged his position as the union chief.

Well, ol’ Andy isn’t taking this lying down. He’s fighting back like a good union thug does by making allegations and trying to have his opponent thrown out of the union. Yes, in typical undemocratic union style, Stern is ignoring the real issues and trying to strong-arm his opponent into oblivion!

We get the tale from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The president of one of the nation’s largest labor unions moved this week toward ousting the leaders of its West Coast affiliate, in a power struggle that could affect hundreds of thousands of California workers and the state’s strained health care industry.

Ooopsie, trouble in the worker’s paradise.

Andy Stern, president of the Washington-headquartered Service Employees International Union, sent a letter on Monday – obtained by The Chronicle – that alleges misconduct by Sal Rosselli, president of the Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers West, who has been Stern’s most vocal critic.

I guess we shouldn’t expect Stern to delineate his strategy, bring it to the membership, and run on the strength of his ideas, huh? No, like a true union thug, Stern has to try and use strong-arm tactics to eliminate the opposition.

Stern’s opponent, Sal Rosselli is a bit taken aback, too.

Rosselli insists Stern is seeking to oust him for his outspoken views. Last month, Rosselli resigned from SEIU’s executive committee after accusing Stern of consolidating power in the hands of his allies while marginalizing other elected leaders. He also alleges that Stern has cut deals with corporate leaders to grow SEIU’s rolls at the expense of current members’ contracts.

“It’s retaliatory because we are speaking out against his ideology, his direction,” Rosselli said. “The simplest way I can say it is, it’s top-down versus bottom-up, corporate unionism versus social unionism.”

Now, forgive me if I am wrong, but don’t unions always claim that they are all about “democracy” and that the people should be allowed to decide? Yet, here we have union chief Andy Stern trying to kill off his opposition instead of trusting to the membership to decide who is right.

Ah, the hypocrisy is thick, isn’t it?


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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