Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Quiet Dirty Little War

Have you noticed the ads lately? I first noticed the California Nurse's Association advertisement over a week ago at Pandagon, and this morning, TLC started featuring the SEIU's counter ad.

The links - SEIU & CNA

Now the management of both weblogs probably shouldn't be viewed as aligned with one side or the other unless they make a posting on the topic. So don't go harrassin' nobody. But that there's a fight is troubling thing. The Service Employees International Union has been portrayed as the upstart new labor organization, and the only one to show consistent growth in the post-modern, post-manufacturing era. Andy Stern is ambitious, has a vision, and isn't afraid of the other labor powers.

The California Nurse's Association (and it's partner National Nurses Organizing Committee) went toe-to-toe with Gov. Schwarzenegger and won their battle to increase patient-to-nurse ratios after the Governor suspended a law at the behest of the health care industry. They made Ahhhhnold not only back down, but look like a bullying slimebag in the process, and causing his public opinion to go in the toilet.

Both camps are accusing the other with being in bed with employers. SEIU claims that CNA leader Rose Ann Demaro is a union-buster; the CNA claims that the SEIU membership is stalking and harassing CNA members at work and at home.

If anyone remembers their labor history, the AFL and CIO and even the IWW at one time were kicking each other's shins as much or more then their employers. It seems these two unions are at a similar point.


iamcoyote said...

I was wondering about those ads! Thanks for the explanation.

snark said...

People get on edge and lash out at whoever is conveniently available for lashing when things suck.

I think it's safe to say thing pretty well suck right now.

And we've certainly had plenty of evidence of lashing out in the left blogosphere lately. So the fact that different union factions are at each other isn't so surprising.

idiosynchronic said...

I don't think its Teh Suck. I think it's simply competing factions with certainly different goals. You can even go as far as saying a reason that CNA and SEIU are at odds are because SEIU is heavily invested in Obama; CNA hasn't made an endorsement yet while being critical of both Clinton and Obama for not pushing for single-payer. CNA may even be currently favoring *gasp* Nader!

Do things suck? Yep. But not the root issue.

Anonymous said...

The root cause of the dispute is not about presidential politics alone, it comes downto a fundamental philosophical difference of how to build power and to whom does the power lie with. CNA can call SEIU a "sell-out" union because they have had the convenience of organizing workers who are in the highest demand and make up a larger % of hospital workers than any other group. SEIU is in a much more difficult area because they are organizing the most vulnerable of workers and it is easier for employers to bust them. You could compare the CNA more to the "craft" unions of the AFL and SEIU to the CIO, but Andy Stern is doing things that would be along the lines of business unionism.