Sunday, May 22, 2016

The 2016 SEIU Convention

Many readers and supporters of this blog are also members and staff from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503, a leader in Oregon's labor movement. The SEIU convention is kicking off in Detroit and we're getting lots of great photos and news from there. Hilary Clinton is scheduled to address the convention tomorrow, Bernie Sanders having been shut out earlier by a premature and undemocratic move by top union leaders. Detroit is home to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and a center for SEIU's support for the Clinton campaign. We hope to get some commentary on Clinton's remarks and on the convention's decisions which we can share.

The good folks over at Stern Burger with Fries have already begun posting on the convention and some other recent news from SEIU affiliates. Here is part of their pre-convention post:

SEIU Prepares Confetti Canons for International Convention

On Sunday, SEIU will begin a three-day convention in Detroit, Michigan where union leaders will select SEIU’s officers and vote on a union-wide “program” for the next four years.

As usual, the convention will feature heavy doses of purple swagger and hoaky gimmicks like exploding confetti cannons.

Take, for example, the title for SEIU’s union-wide program for the next four years: the “Unstoppable Program to Win for Working People” (UPWWP). 

No joke.

Among other giant steps forward for the working class, the UPWWP will boldly establish an “SEIU Innovation Center” and a “21st Century Blueprint Committee.”

In case you’re wondering, it’s apparently no longer necessary for workers to focus on things like building rank-and-file organization, solidarity, and industry-wide power to take on ever-more-powerful corporations.

Instead, “21st century innovation” is the key to workers’ power.

SEIU’s “Innovation Center” -- which sounds a lot like “The Workers Lab,” the Silicon Valley-styled “business incubator” recently set up by David Rolf and other SEIU officials -- will “develop, manage and drive experiments to create the next form of organization for working people,” according to a conference resolution to be presented next week.

SEIU officials are actively scouring the business practices of Apple, Google, and the tech sector...
An image from the SEIU Convention floor
where Rolf believes SEIU will find “the next form of organization for working people.” 

On Sunday, SEIU officials will distribute conference materials describing their efforts to harness the power of smartphones and new technologies… and to “reverse engineer all campaigns across the union to ensure that we get the best strategic thinking possible.”

Along with 21st century innovation, convention-goers may be treated to some old-school infighting among SEIU’s top officials. 

Tasty hears that an anti-Mary Kay Henry faction headed by Gerry Hudson and Dave Regan has been sharpening its knives in the run-up to the convention.

Prior to SEIU’s convention in 2012, sources said Hudson contemplated an effort to unseat Henry after she reportedly stripped him of many responsibilities and also considered removing Hudson from her slate of candidates. Hudson serves as one of six “Executive Vice Presidents,” the union’s highest officers after its president and secretary-treasurer.

SEIU signage with "SEIU Unstoppable" logos
Hudson is a former top official at SEIU 1199 New York, where he retains the support of 1199NY President George Gresham. In recent months, Gresham also has lent support to Regan in his battles with Mary Kay Henry.

Could Hudson and Regan mount a successful challenge to Henry?


Henry enjoys support from a majority of SEIU locals. Furthermore, her transfer of 60,000 long-term care workers out of Regan’s local and into SEIU Local 2015, which is run by Henry’s ally Laphonza Butler, has strengthened Henry’s hand on the convention floor.

Stay tuned for more news about confetti cannons and other 21st century innovations from the SEIU convention.  

1 comment:

  1. Hudson was elected by acclimation to the Secretary-Treasurer.