Wednesday, 13 August 2008

‘Labour movement needs open debate’

The course of the influential American services union SEIU affects society as a whole. Therefore, “it’s not only fair that workers and labour activists in general discuss the questions highlighted by the internal conflict in SEIU, since they are affected by them, but their input may help find answers”, argue journalists David Bacon and and Warren Mar.
The SEIU may well be the most successful union in the world if it regards organising new groups of workers. Also, the union has invested heavily in building international collaboration. Across the world, it helps unions organise cleaners and security staff. Recently, it also launched an international campaign against private equity firms.
However, critics say that the SEIU is making ‘sweetheart deals’ with corporations, sacrificing internal democracy and worker empowerment. The SEIU, on its part, says that some of its critics are pursuing their own short-term interests at the expense of workers who are not yet part of a union.
In July, the Monthly Review published a balanced report on the conflict, as well as responses from Stephen Lerner, a leading SEIU strategist, as well as John Borsos, administrative vice-president of United Healthcare Workers-West, one of the critics of SEIU’s course.
Thank you Peter Waterman for bringing the article to our attention

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