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WorkWeek On LA SEIU 399 Organzing Struggles, Democracy & Business Unionism

by WorkWeek
The struggle in Los Angeles SEIU 399 was central to the Justice For Janitors campaign. The workers however who led this struggle faced a struggle to continue the fight for the membership when they won control of the Local through the Multi-Racial Alliance. Prior to the AFL-CIO convention in LA they had a sit-in at their offices. The International sent in SEIU president's aid Bill Fletcher to end the sit-in. He promised that they would get control of the local but as soon as the sit-in ended they sold the building and merged the local into SEIU 1877.
seiu_399_banner.jpg
Los Angeles SEIU 399 was the powerful union that organized janitors by mass action. The Justice for Janitors was based on the victory of this struggle in 1990. This program interviews members and leaders of this struggle and what happened after their victory. The workers were fighting to enforce the contract against a president who would not back the membership.

The rank and file Multi-Racial Alliance won the election for the local yet there actions were thwarted. They had a sit in at the union office prior to the AFL-CIO convention and John Sweeney who was president of the SEIU sent in his representative Bill Fletcher who according to SEIU 399 members tried to bribe the workers to call off the sit-in in return of jobs. After ending the sit-in, the International took over the local in a trusteeship, sold their building and merged the local into Local 1877. Also according to the workers they collaborated with the bosses too purge the real organizers of the union from their jobs and the union.

This interview was done in 3/20/21.

Additional media:
Los Angeles Janitors and the Infamous Battle of Century City - Fighting for Justice 1990
Https://Www.youtube.com/Watch?V=F_kTc1c6F8g&T=4s
LA SEIU 399 Janitors Cleaning Workers To Go On Strike: October 19, 1990
https://memorywork.irle.ucla.edu/archives/546
Justice for Janitors: A Comprehensive National Campaign
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1111/j.0066-4812.2006.00600.x
LA SEIU 399 Janitors Cleaning Workers To Go On Strike: October 19, 1990
https://memorywork.irle.ucla.edu/archives/546
Justice for Janitors: A Comprehensive National Campaign
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1111/j.0066-4812.2006.00600.x

WorkWeek
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio
Labor Video Project
#laborradionetwork #LaborRadioPod #1u #UnionStrong
WorkWeek
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio
Labor Video Project
#laborradionetwork #LaborRadioPod #1u #UnionStrong
§LA Police Attacked Striking SEIU 399 Janitors
by WorkWeek
sm_seiu_399_justice_for_janitors_atttak_6-15-22.jpeg
The Los Angeles led a vicious attack on striking SEIU 399 janitors in order to break the strike. They were unsuccessful.
§Police Attack A SEIU 399 Janitor
by WorkWeek
seiu_399_la_battle_of_century_city_june_1999.jpg
The militant janitors faced an assault from the LA police department who have a record of union busting.
sweeney-john-image.jpg
SEIU president John Sweeney sent in his aid Bill Fletcher and others to end the sit-in by Executive Board members at the union hall. After promising them jobs, they ended the sit-in and the International sold their building and merged the Local into SEIU 1877.
§Bill Fletcher, John Sweeney's Aid Helped End The Sit-in
by WorkWeek
fletcher_bill.jpg
Bill Fletcher who was an aid to SEIU president John Sweeney was sent to Los Angeles SEIU 399 to end the sit-in at the local by Executive Board members who were leaders of the Multi-Racial Alliance slate. He promised that they would get control of the Local in order to get them to end the sit-in. After it ended the International sold their building and merged the local into SEIU 1877.
§Sweeney at SEIU 1984 Convention
by WorkWeek
sweeny_john_seiu_1984_convention.jpg
SEIU president John Sweeney at the 1984 SEIU convention played a central role in destroying SEIU Local 399 where a militant leadership was engaged in a sit-in. After his aid Bill Fletcher ended the sit-in Sweeney dissolved the local, sold the building and merged it into SEIU 1877.
§Justice For Janitors On The March In Los Angeles
by WorkWeek
sm_seiu_399_justice_for_janitors_sweeney_zellers_kirkland_seiu_399.jpeg
Justice For Janitors mobilized tremendous support for their strike and won it. After the strike the SEIU International wanted to go back too business unionism and making deals with the bosses.
sm_seiu_399_police_attack_janitor_6-15-22.jpeg
The Los Angeles vicious police attack on SEIU 399 janitors on the streets of Los Angeles backfired when hundreds of thousands of other workers supported their struggle and changed the face of labor.
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