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April 10, 2013 / Paul Levy

Uncivil behavior within the SEIU?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 5:17am

A few weeks ago, I wrote of issues surrounding morality, power, and union organizing with respect to the SEIU. Now comes this fascinating article entitled SEIU’s Civil War by Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Nelson Lichtenstein on a website called In These Times.

I know nothing about the authors or the website, although the site portrays itself as committed to social justice issues. One paragraph of the story struck home and seemed consistent with my post:

Although some SEIU locals have had histories of varying degrees of internal democracy and transformational politics, the SEIU has looked askance at such localist examples of democratic participation—not because the leadership of SEIU is hostile to mobilization or democracy in any formal ideological sense, but because it has had other agendas that all too often seemed to conflict with a decentralized and democratic structure. Efforts to democratize and transform the union controlled and led by rank and file members have been largely absent.

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