Sunday, February 19, 2006

Stop fucking around Andy

Q&A: Leader of breakaway labor movement sees global change ahead
Brian Tumulty
The Statesman Journal

Whether you call it credit or blame, Andrew Stern is the one person most often mentioned as the key player in the decision by several labor unions to break away from the AFL-CIO last summer.

Stern is president of the fast growing Service Employees International Union, which has 1.8 million members ranging from janitors to nurses to security guards.

Despite his own union’s success, Stern said in a recent interview that he doesn’t expect a significant turnaround in the decline of the American labor movement until the end of the decade.

But his union and six others involved in the new Change to Win Federation that will hold their organizing convention March 19-22 in Las Vegas have big plans for this year and the future.

Question: What have been the benefits of creating the Change to Win Federation?
Answer: I think we’ll brand Change to Win as an organization for the 50 million service workers whose jobs aren’t going to leave this country, to raise the question about what are we going to do to make sure that the service jobs today are like the manufacturing jobs of yesterday where you could own a home, raise a family and live the American dream.

Q: On the topic of organizing, the big news last year was home day-care workers?
A: Child-care workers in Illinois, Oregon and Washington. And workers in the South. We won a victory in Houston. I was down in Miami on Martin Luther King’s birthday and the entire religious community came out in support of living wages. I think a lot of what we are seeing now in our union is an attempt to take our success in the North and bring it where the population and where workers need it the most in the South.

Q: How much did your union grow last year?
A: We have 200,000 new potential members. Now we have to bargain contracts in some of the right-to-work states. But we gained recognition for 200,000 gross. We’re at 1.8 million now. We should go over 2 million in the next couple of years.

Q: Are you working with the United Food and Commercial Workers in trying to organize Wal-Mart workers?
A: We are trying to change Wal-Mart’s business model. We founded an organization called Wal-Mart Watch, which has been active exposing their reliance on Medicaid. The Wal-Mart business model is exactly what’s wrong with America. Everybody goes to work. People work hard. And five members of the family have a hundred billion dollars together. And everybody else is going to state government asking for your and my tax dollars to pay for the Wal-Mart workers’ health care.

Q: What are you doing on the international scene?
A: First of all — which I never thought I would say — we have staff now stationed in London, Geneva, Paris, Australia and South America. We have been in discussions for a long time with a company called Securitas, which is the largest security company in the world that owns Burns, Wells Fargo and Pinkerton in our country, about a global relationship.

Continued...

1 comment:

duke's bear suit said...

Well, he is quoting Marx, that's a step anyway.