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Wrong Allies and Wrong Leadership

by Brad Wiedmaier
SEIU UHW president Dave Regan without a democratic vote or discussion with the union's executive board has given free office space in San Francisco to the corporate driven "Alliance for Jobs And Sustainable Growth" which is backed by the major union busters in San Francisco. SEIU UHW executive board member challenges this action and questions why Dave Regan is in bed with these union busting corporations
Wrong Allies and Wrong Leadership
by SEIU UHW Executive Board Member
Brad Wiedmaier

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has moved the "Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth" (AJSG) into the San Francisco UHW Hall and Office. This was done without consulting one single member of the union leadership or rank and file. This follows repeated request for a review of the participation by the Union in the Alliance which has no organizational sanction. The Alliance is being granted space without rent. This act raises two serious questions. First, this shows that Dave Regan and the political department have chosen to sneak the Alliance into the building without any membership consultation or endorsement. This act reflects on the undemocratic functioning of UHW. Second, this cripples our union by joining in a coalition with a group like the Alliance, that holds positions which are mostly at odds with the interests of the membership.

Two key players in the Alliance are the father and son, Vince Courtney Sr and Vince Courtney Jr. Senior is the executive director of the Alliance (AJSG). Junior is involved as the Political Director of the Laborer's Local 261 and the Vice-Chair of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission appointed by former Mayor Newsom. Junior is also on the board of directors of the statewide "Alliance for Jobs". And Junior is also an officer on the San Francisco Labor Council. He voted against the recent Council resolution that urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to take up the question of the civil rights of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of Zimmerman as a issue under federal jurisdiction.

But this is not the only questionable act of Courtney or the Alliance. Courtney Jr. used his seat on the Public Utilities Commission on behalf of PG&E to unconstitutionally veto the San Francisco Board of Supervisors backing of Clean Power. Even the "SF Examiner" has strongly condemned this attack on the legal functioning of the City/County Government (see 8-15-13 editorial). The Board of Supervisors had passed the Clean Power plan by a veto proof margin, PG&E chose to illegally utilize the Public Utilities Commission to block the vote of the SF Board of Supervisors, which is the only legislature of the city.

Examining the forces in this Alliance (AJSG) and who they are endorsing shows a politics at odds with our union's ranks. The Alliance prominently features the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) which fought the Healthy San Francisco county health plan (which our Home-Care members rely on). The GGRA fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and fortunately for our members the GGRA lost. Another lead group in the Alliance is the Building Owners & Managers Association which works tirelessly against rent control. Our members rely on rent control to reside in San Francisco. And the BOMA is dedicated to the eradication of rent control. Also, the Alliance has endorsed Carmen Chu for SF Assessor in the November 2013 election. Chu refused to vote against, increasing home-care health premiums, when she held a seat on the SF Board of Supervisor. Now the Alliance will be supporting her out of our own union hall.

The participation of the union in the Alliance (AJSG) illustrates Dave Regan's non-dedication to the interests of the members of SEIU-UHW. This political coalition shows that to Regan, union members come second to back room political deal-making. There has never been a COPE (Committee on Political Education) under Regan at SEIU-UHW. Instead of taking care of what members need, Regan is all about selling the power of our union to interests which are at odds with our membership. It's all about being a big player beyond the need to stand up for the membership. Sneaking the Alliance into the San Francisco SEIU-UHW Hall was a necessity for Regan to continue to cut the membership out of any political say in their own organization. This coalition of UHW with the Alliance shows that the Regan team is an imposed alien clique that must hide its political moves from the rank and file. Now is the time to begin to look for an alternative allies and leadership for SEIU-UHW. Now is the time to begin to build a united members' opposition for the UHW 2014 general election.

Bradley Wiedmaier, UHW, Executive Board, Home-Care Division
Member Directions 2014 Caucus
(415) 694-3605
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