For immediate release
July 20, 2009
Pilar Weiss, [email protected]
Labor Historians and Other Faculty across Disciplines Stand in Solidarity with UNITE HERE
Scholars from academic institutions across the United States and Canada have released an open letter to SEIU Executive Board members calling on SEIU to end its interference with UNITE HERE and refocus its energies on securing tangible gains for healthcare workers and janitors who don’t yet have the benefit of a union job.
Almost 200 scholars have signed on to the letter which urges SEIU "to stop your interference in UNITE HERE, refocus SEIU’s energy on organizing the millions of unorganized workers, and engage collaboratively with other progressive unions and community supporters so that together we can effectively challenge the vast inequalities and hardships which face our nation’s working families."
The letter comes in reaction to SEIU’s attempted raid of UNITE HERE locals and jurisdictions. It also comes at a time when 26 national labor leaders have pledged their solidarity with UNITE HERE against such raiding.
Nancy MacLean, a professor of History and African American Studies at Northwestern University, noted that, "We share a set of progressive ideals, and many of us have marched with janitors, security officers, nursing home workers, as well as hotel workers, food service workers and others to support those ideals. Yet SEIU’s concerted efforts to undermine UNITE HERE belie the progressive ideals SEIU has upheld for decades and ignore its own past and rightful insistence that unions need to organize the unorganized, not engage in destructive raiding of existing unions. We are concerned that these actions are undermining the principle of union democracy and dividing the progressive movement at a critical moment in history."
To view the scholars’ letter and a list of signatories, go to www.seiuchangecourse.org