Tuesday, 19 July 2011

SEIU Intimidation Manual Undermines Employers

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The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest labor unions in the country, is reported to have released a 70-page manual, the "Contract Campaign Manual" on "Pressuring the Employer," which encourages union members to use coercion and scare tactics to intimidate managers and corporate authority figures in the private sector.

According to Vincent Vernuccio of the Washington Times, the manual explains how "outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds." Further, the manual blatantly encourages members to engage in unlawful activities, as it suggests, "Union members sometimes [should] act in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohatma Gandhi and disobey laws which are used to enforce injustice against working people."

The manual was discovered in the process of a lawsuit filed by the food service company Sodexo. In an effort to unionize more than 80,000 employees, the SEIU launched a massive campaign to defame the company’s reputation and harass and threaten tens of thousands of Sodexo employees  and the intimidation tactics union members evoked are an illustration of the sinister methods documented in the manual.

Corporate threats and bullying are nothing new from big labor, as they comprise a vindictive mentality that union leaders hold against the private sector. In March, The Blaze exposed prominent SEIU leader Stephen Lerner, who attempted to collapse financial giant JP Morgan Chase. Lerner planned a strike on the mortgage industry with the intent to "destabilize" the U.S. economy and, with government assistance, restructure the financial system into a unionized empire. In Lerner’s own words: "There are extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement."

Back in the summer of 2009, a video was released showing SEIU members Elston McCowan and Perry Molens brutally assaulting Kenneth Gladney (in wheelchair, photo above), a man selling "Don't Tread on Me" buttons and flags outside a town hall event in St. Louis, MO. The two union members were charged, but acquitted last week by a St. Louis County jury. Disheartened with the verdict, Gladney lamented, "I couldn't beat them; I didn't have the resources they had. They had all the money in the world and the backing ... I'm just an average man."

On the first day of the trial, union supporters let loose to intimidate Gladney. The defense argued that McCowan and Molens acted out of self-defense, even though the videotape clearly revealed otherwise. With the perpetrators each over six feet tall and weighing over 200 pounds, while Gladney, a cancer survivor, about 5' 6" and weighing only 130 pounds, the idea that Gladney instigated the fight is unfounded.

Many leftist organizations and media outlets condone union violence and other means to promote "social justice" in the workplace. One organization in particular is Media Matters. In defense of the not guilty verdict, Eric Boehlert posted the following on the organization's blog last week:

... because this particular clash was captured on tape, and because Tea Party members went bonkers hyping it, and because right-wing media carnival barkers like Dana Loesch and Andrew Breitbart operate with no moral compass, the Gladney story blew up overnight and became a (demented) cause celebre among hardcore conservatives who hatched a weird fantasy about run-away union violence in America, not withstanding what was captured on the Gladney tape.

It's difficult to capture just how madly the right-wing media overreacted to this story, doing its best to blow it up into a seismic, Rodney King-type of event. Fox News aired at least 20 segments mentioning Gladney, according to Nexis. Glenn Beck obsessed over the story. Breitbart penned a "I Am Kenneth Gladney" column in solidarity for the Washington Times. And CNN's Lou Dobbs played dumb on a massive scale while hosting Gladney.

Leftist organizations such as Media Matters are not the only culprits that encourage the bullying nature of union members. Key players in the Obama administration — including the President himself  are passionate supporters of the SEIU, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is proven to be a powerful ally to big labor.

Corporate attack campaigns such as the Sodexo fiasco were a subject of a May 26 hearing by the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee on health, employment, labor, and pensions, when Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn) asserted that the NLRB has taken "steps to expand the arsenal of tactics available for a corporate campaign." According to Vernuccio, such tactics included "moving to uphold union elections tainted by intimidation because the board said the intimidation was originated by 'nonparties,' and removing restrictions on boycotts of neutral employers." Big labor opponents claim that collective efforts from unions, government, and private entities have placed a heavy burden on businesses and have hindered job growth in the private sector.

These events — the Sodex lawsuit, the Kenneth Gladney case, and other incidences of aggressive union activity  are a direct result of the ideology preached in the SEIU’s manual, as unlawful actions are not only ignored but encouraged. And though union leaders may be concerned with their withering presence in the private sector, critics suggest that the approval of union violence and intimidation is only harming their cause. At least, for the sake of the private sector, many would hope so.

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