Following Andy Stern’s surprising announcement that he would step down as President of SEIU, his protege, Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger and California-based labor leader, Mary Kay Henry seek to succeed him. This weekend, in a memorandum to the union’s International Executive Board, Ms. Burger laid out her vision for the priorities she would have the union pursue. Listed within the first:
Use smart strategies to push the labor‐friendly majority on the NLRB to level the playing field and make it easier to organize through regulation and reconciliation to make quick elections and first contract arbitration the law of the land.
And finally we must face up to the challenge of rebuilding our ability to win traditional NLRB organizing campaigns, as well as exploring new models for organizing the private/private sector where millions of workers, not dependent on shrinking public dollars live on poverty wages in SEIU strongholds.
The second point is perhaps more interesting. A few years ago, when EFCA, card-check/neutrality and corporate campaigns seemed ascendant, the rejection of traditional organizing methods was a primary pillar in the SEIU’s break from the AFL-CIO and formation of Change to Win. This endorsement of a renewed commitment to NLRB processes by the SEIU’s probable future leader — obviously now that there is a former SEIU attorney sitting on the Board — is notable indeed.