Thursday, August 23, 2007

ULP Filed against SEIU Local 721

Hello www, SEIU's bullying of its staff continues to be met with resistance. Local 721's attempt to force an unfair contract including a demand to waive legally protected rights has so far been resisted with the staff voting down their contract proposal by a wide margin days after filing an Unfair Labor Practice Charge against the employer. Apparently it is a violation of labor law to demand a waiver of legally protected rights as a precondition of settling a contract.

The 721 staff union, UURLA, had a long standing contract with legacy local 660, one of the more highly regarded and successful SEIU locals in California yet 721 management doesn't seem to believe that their staff are deserving of anything remotely similar to the 660 contract. We do not yet know where this fight will go but its clear that there's plenty of dirty laundry yet to be aired out.

Keep your ears out for this one, apparently UURLA's brothers and sisters to the North at Local 521 have filed Fair Labor Standards Act violation claims for not being compensated for their long and irregular hours of work. It's unfortunate that a stubborn management beant on forcing unfair contracts on its staff forces these kinds of actions.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Labor Movement: The folks who brought you the weekend until SEIU took it away.

I can't believe SEIU 721 management is asking us staffers to waive our rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act! That's like telling people of color to waive or agree that they're exempt from the Civil Rights Act! What's next, is Andy Stern, John Tanner, or Annelle Grajeda now going to tell African American staffers to waive their right to vote because its getting in the way of the movement?!?! You know, SEIU management is starting to smell like a White Male dominated pile of Corporate bullshit and that's not in any way an exaggeration. Just last month, the Nation ran an article detailing Andy Stern's front-door deals with Wal-Mart but that is just the tip of the iceberg cuz the shit runs deeper in the locals.

SEIU 721 management wants us to work weekends without compensation, without limits to how many weekends we work, or where we work. I guess John Tanner misses cracking whips over people's back. SEIU management treats us like we don't have families, like we don't deserve time to rest and enjoy our lives. They hire highly qualified, highly experienced people to work in SEIU but they turn around and want us to submit like a bunch of ignorant dogs. They expect us to sacrifice our lives in the name of a movement - SEIU management's movement without any backing from SEIU members. Then they turn around and claim to be heroes for working families. HA!

SEIU is supposed to be the biggest, baddest labor union in America with over 1.8 million members, but in reality, it's busy trying to break labor laws just to win power over its staff. That's fucked up and SEIU management needs to check itself. We know about all the dirty, illegal shit that management makes us do. Like, making staff do political work under the guise of volunteering, not counting staffs' weekend work in financial reports, silencing vocal, democratic SEIU members, using member dues in questionable ways, blah blah blah the list goes on.

SEIU management needs to stick to principles of labor rights, human rights and civil rights or find itself alone with no member backing, no staff support, and just a bunch of arm chairs to rest their heads on thinking about how next to exploit people.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Unions Should be Model Employers

Unions like SEIU should be model employers, leading the way in protecting basic workers' rights and respecting workers' quality of life. By attacking workers' voices on the job, proposing a two-tiered system for retiree healthcare like Safeway did in '04, denying workers adequate reimbursement for their commute to worksites, and mandating weekend work, SEIU sounds more and more like a profit-oriented, heartless corporation rather than a labor union. Hypocritical? Or typical of any hierarchical business or organization? How can SEIU Local 721 pride itself on improving the lives of 85,000 city, county, and non-profit workers throughout California when it can't protect the work conditions and benefits of its own employees? Well, luckily for the "labor industry" staff unions like Union Professionals United (formerly UURLA) are stepping up to hold the big purple monster accountable to its own values. Who knows, maybe if UPU manages to succeed in helping SEIU management acknowledge its own contradictions, they may thank us for the therapy. Then we can start charging a fee.

Check out photos from UPU's Friday Info picket

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Voice for All Working People

We, the UURLA-represented staff of SEIU Local 721, are dedicated trade unionists. We are passionately committed to helping working people unite for improved working conditions, better wages and benefits to support themselves and their families, and a voice at work.

As working people in Southern California, we share much in common with the members of SEIU Local 721. We live in the same communities and share many of the same goals and dreams. We also face similar challenges: Many of us worry about retirement and struggle to afford the cost of living in one of the nation’s most expensive areas.

We are fighting for our contract because we cannot truly achieve our mission of improving the lives of Local 721 members and other working people of Southern California if we ourselves do not have a voice at work.

We have reached a crucial point in our negotiations with SEIU Local 721 management. Management is attempting to eliminate many of our fundamental rights on the job, including our rights to meet and confer and to negotiate changes to our working conditions. Specifically, management claims the right to:

- prohibit negotiations on any working conditions that are not spelled out in the contract;
- assign weekend work to staff without discussion or additional compensation;
- deny staff members the right to organize concerted actions;
- assign staff to work out of town with no meet and confer and with insufficient notice.

We are extremely disturbed by management’s decision to put these four proposals on the table, as each of them contradicts the values of the labor movement. The management of SEIU Local 721 would never accept these proposals on behalf of the members of SEIU Local 721, and as the professional staff of SEIU Local 721, we likewise reject these proposals.