The SEIU Convention ‘Ends With a Whimper’

-By Warner Todd Huston

The last order of business for the Service Employee International Union ended with the election of the next slate of SEIU leaders. Andy Stern did not expect any “democracy” to take place in this election, though. You see, no ballots were prepared for the membership to vote upon.

It seems that the ballots prepared ahead of time only had Andy Stern’s nominees on them. Yet, when the floor was opened for nominations from the actual membership, 13 other members were nominated to run for one position or another. 13 members that Andy Stern did not have in his back pocket.

And, then everything bogged down to a crawl as Stern’s minions ran about trying to figure out how to print ballots with the nominees that Stern didn’t approve of printed thereupon. It is even reported by Maya Morris that Stern’s toadies were heard to say that they “weren’t prepared to print ballots” showing that Andy Stern didn’t expect to have any other members running for office. Obviously Stern imagined that he had his iron fist successfully beating down any other opinions. To heck with democracy.

As Maya said:

But when confronted with real democratic processes, Stern’s team was woefully unprepared. SEIU scheduled elections for its International Executive Board and its International Vice Presidents as the last agenda item on the last day of the convention. After five days of misinformation and disinformation, Stern’s management team apparently felt so confident that the Stern-approved slate of candidates would run unopposed that they did not even bother to plan a process to prepare ballots.

Nothing highlights the arrogance we’ve witnessed here at the convention more than this moment. Our message is that the union is about members; their message is that leadership rules. This election process proves our point.

Like I’ve said before, if Andy Stern is determined to eliminate democracy even among his own membership, what the heck do you think he’s going to try with the rest of us and with his influence in our government? This is a man that despises the American way of democratic participation. He believes solidly in autocratic, tyrannical rule of the elite over the rabble… and, in case you missed it, Stern thinks you and I represent the rabble.

Stern wants to do to us what he has done to his own people. Beat them down, ruin their relations with others, and destroy their reputations so that he can get his despotic will enforced.

This is the lesson of the SEIU convention. My fellow Americans, I urge you to understand that now that Andy Stern has eliminated his internal dissension inside his union, you and I are his next targets.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001