Proposed Constitutional Amendments Would Ensure Union Democracy
OAKLAND, Calif., April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers leading a movement to restore democracy to the nation's largest union have unveiled their proposed amendments to SEIU's constitution, which will be considered at the union's upcoming convention in June.
The amendments were proposed by members of United Healthcare Workers-West, SEIU's fastest-growing local union, in an effort to counter the increasingly autocratic, top-down, leadership style of SEIU President Andy Stern and his Washington, D.C.-based administration.
"This common-sense package of amendments will ensure that all SEIU members enjoy the full rights afforded by a truly democratic union," said Eloise Reese-Burns, a UHW member and nursing assistant at Cottonwood Healthcare Center. "How can leaders say they support democracy and still oppose them? SEIU is trying to limit worker involvement. Our amendments will make SEIU officers in D.C. accountable to union members, so that we have a real voice in all decisions."
UHW's eight amendments are intended to enshrine members' rights to participate in and lead bargaining and organizing efforts. They call for direct election of SEIU's officers and propose a structure to coordinate efforts among locals representing workers in the same industry.
Earlier this year, UHW's elected executive board, which includes over 70 rank-and-file members, adopted a "Platform for Change," outlining key principles that must be the foundation of any strong union. The amendments translate the Platform's principles into constitutionally guaranteed rights for all SEIU members. The Platform and amendments can be found at www.seiuvoice.org.
Although the convention is less than two months away, SEIU's officers have not released any detailed information about their proposed changes to the constitution, other than vague highlights. What little information they have released reveals the potential for further consolidation of power in SEIU headquarters and away from members.
"With these amendments, we're trying to make SEIU more democratic and transparent, and we welcome open debate on them," said Sal Rosselli, president of UHW. "We call on SEIU to release their proposals now, so that member delegates to the convention can make informed decisions about the direction of their union."
The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest, fastest-growing hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.
CONTACT: Kim Curtis of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, +1-510-206-8248
SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West