A less perfect union - Page 6

At a time when organized labor is slipping, SEIU's national leaders are wasting their resources trying to discredit Sal Rosselli
Sal Rosselli
Photo by Charles Russo

It called on the election committee to remove Davis-Howard "from the elected Delegate list" and to bar Salsa Team members from attending the convention in June.

The issue also has landed in federal court, where UHW was expected to file against Stern and other SEIU officials, alleging interference in delegate elections.

More cynical sources both inside and outside SEIU told us they believe the Rosselli-Stern feud boils down to one thing: power — either holding onto or expanding it. But labor scholar and former Local 790 member Paul Johnston had a more nuanced perspective.

Johnston, who taught at Yale and, until recently, worked for the Monterey Bay Labor Council, told us he admired both leaders and the work each has done on behalf of the larger union. Calling the current strife "a huge can of worms," he added, "These are questions of principle and there are good ideas on both sides."

Stern's push to increase the union's bargaining and political clout through more consolidation, Johnston went on, "has some very positive aspects to it.... In the old days, many of these kind of mergers were done for purely political power. The mergers being conducted today [at Stern's direction] are primarily strategic, though. But there are some power issues that inevitably arise." On the other hand, he said, Rosselli's UHW, "is a dynamic organizing union that has [its] own issues."

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