SEIU Will Run Primaries as Part of "Accountability Project"

SEIU bringing their considerable resources to bear on behalf of progressives in Democratic primaries could dramatically improve our party. Nate

Ned Lamont.  Donna Edwards.  Jon Tester.

Some of the most important moments in our emerging progressive movement have come during primary election campaigns.  It's in large part where we have the most leverage to shape the face of the Democratic Party.

That's why SEIU is set to endorse a "Justice for All" platform during our June Convention -- a plan that includes $150 million and a 1/4 of our organizing staff budgeted to win health care, restore the middle class, work towards ending the war, and hold politicians accountable AFTER the election.

This also includes SEIU running and RECRUITING primary challenges in some cases.  We consider our support of Donna Edwards to be a dramatic preview of the "Accountability Project."

Learn more about the central issues in the campaign, and how this works.

You should also know that in addition to Donna Edwards,  SEIU sponsored a group of relatively unknown pro-worker candidates who ousted seven incumbent Chicago Alderman allied with the Chicago Mayor Daley political machine.

We really hope to foster a partnership with you in this project.  SEIU is already a founding member of "They work for us," and we see this as a financial and organizational extension of that commitment.

I'll be around to answer any questions you might have about the program.

~Michelle Ringuette, speaking for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Tags: 2008, Accountability, Elections, Labor, SEIU, Unions (all tags)



Re: SEIU Will Run Primaries

Sounds like a good project.  Keep folks informed.  

We need to reclaim the Democratic Party for working people.

John Edwards said it well when he suspended his campaign:

And we do this -- we do this for each other in America. We don't turn away from a neighbor in their time of need. Because every one of us knows that what -- but for the grace of God, there goes us. The American people have never stopped doing this, even when their government walked away, and walked away it has from hardworking people, and, yes, from the poor, those who live in poverty in this country.

For decades, we stopped focusing on those struggles. They didn't register in political polls, they didn't get us votes and so we stopped talking about it. I don't know how it started. I don't know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people, from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their clothes and in coats because they couldn't afford to pay for heat.

We know that our brothers and sisters have been bullied into believing that they can't organize and can't put a union in the workplace. Well, in this campaign, we didn't turn our heads. We looked them square in the eye and we said, "We see you, we hear you, and we are with you. And we will never forget you." And I have a feeling that if the leaders of our great Democratic Party continue to hear the voices of working people, a proud progressive will occupy the White House.

No more will we let the Democratic Party walk away from the cause fo working people.

I'm glad SEIU is doing this.

by TomP 2008-05-08 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU Will Run Primaries

I thought one reason SEIU bolted from AFL-CIO because supposedly AFL put too much emphasis on politics. That was a big lie, eh? SEIU just wants to spend the money it saves by not being in AFL to buy its own politicians.

by bently2 2008-05-08 11:34PM | 0 recs
Holding politicians accountable

I guess I see it differently.  Our jobs are to get out there and make life better for all the people who get up in the morning and go to work.  

This country has some real challenges right now - we can debate whether or not it's technically a recession, but the reality is that in a period of record profits, wages remained flat.  Gas prices are up, food costs are up, personal debt is up, and people are losing their homes.  The gap between the rich and the poor in this country has never been wider, and each year (this year being an exception for the first time in as long as most of us can remember), the number of people who are represented by a union has shrinking.

If we want to make sure that working people get a fair deal, if we want to make sure we deliver health care to every man, woman and child in this country, then we need to make sure that we are organizing them and helping make sure that they have elected representatives who not only claim to be pro-worker, but who walk the talk.  That's what our accountability project is all about.

by mringuette 2008-05-09 06:32PM | 0 recs
Y'all Do Good Work!

Thank you.  Thank you for strengthening the union movement AND progressive movement.

by cottonmouthblog 2008-05-08 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU Will Run Primaries

This is great. The grassroots revolution in the Democratic Party is snowballing thanks to efforts like this.

by Kobi 2008-05-08 02:27PM | 0 recs
I am confused?

Doesn't this site run anti-SEIU ads?

by JustJennifer 2008-05-08 02:32PM | 0 recs
Yes you are.

The site takes ads from about anybody.  I'm sure if McCain bought an ad, they'd be happy to take his money too.

The site doesn't chose the ads, the ad buyers choose the site.

by cottonmouthblog 2008-05-08 03:25PM | 0 recs
Besides Donna

which primary candidates are you supporting this year?

by bob fertik 2008-05-08 02:42PM | 0 recs
IEs, primaries and support

Using memory, I know we helped elect five candidates for Congress with a ground and air campaign.  We just did an IE for Andre Carson in Indiana:

We also did one for Don Cazayoux in Louisiana. Other candidates we supported recently are:

   * Rep. Niki Tsongas, MA 05
    * Donna Edwards, MD 04
    * Rep. Bill Foster, IL 14

We're supporting more than this, but I have to check with my colleagues.  


by mringuette 2008-05-09 06:22PM | 0 recs
SEIU's Support of Republicans in the NY Senate?

Hi Michelle,

Can you comment on SEIU's decision to back the Republican caucus in the New York Senate, and work to ensure Democrats do not win the chamber?  

Democrats are down just 30-32 in the chamber, and the Republicans are holding up a wide variety of progressive healthcare and labor legislation.

I realize SEIU is close with Republican Sen. Joseph Bruno, but it would seem important to give new Gov. David Patterson working majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

Most importantly...the Assembly has passed single-payer healthcare, while it is bottled up in the Senate.  This is the only way to truly solve the healthcare crisis.

by California Nurses Shum 2008-05-08 03:21PM | 0 recs
Good question, but you too are guilty of ills.

I'd like to see her answer that question, but I'd like you to answer why y'all oppose unionization of healthcare workers who aren't nurses.

by cottonmouthblog 2008-05-08 03:30PM | 0 recs
I don't think that's a fair characterization...

The 80,000 Registered Nurses of CNA/NNOC have come together to build--finally--a national nurses' movement dedicated to patient advocacy and single-payer healthcare.  

There are many major divides between CNA/NNOC and SEIU, which we can get into if you'd like.  Politically, the major divide is our focus on genuine/single-payer healthcare reform...which means we could never cut a deal with Republicans to keep them in power...their "market driven" healthcare plans are an imminent danger to our patients.

In Ohio, the main point is that an employer--the hospital--filed to hold a union election for its nurses.  That's company unionism, a historic threat to the labor movement, and CNA/NNOC nurses cannot and will not be silent whenever a boss pulls such shenanigans to arrange representation for its workers.

by California Nurses Shum 2008-05-08 03:46PM | 0 recs
About 10 seconds of the Google

I await your condemnation of your union ...


Union organizing sometimes isn't as spontaneous as it seems.

It turns out that sometimes unions decide where and when they'll recruit based on quiet deals made with the very companies they're organizing.

The California Nurses Association, which has made big news in Houston recently by becoming the only union to successfully organize nurses at a Texas hospital, has such a deal with Tenet Healthcare.

It specifies which eight hospitals the union can organize in Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia, according to a copy of the agreement provided to the National Labor Relations Board.

It also identifies the quarter and year in which union officials can launch their organizing campaigns.


by Tim Tagaris 2008-05-08 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Good question, but you too are guilty of ills.

Sorry I'm just getting in here now - first chance at computer.  I'm not as up on what many of our locals are doing as I want to be, so I'll try to find out.  Cheers.  

by mringuette 2008-05-09 06:13PM | 0 recs
How about endorsing Nadar OVER Gore in 2000?

Your endorsement may have had to do with your pure view of what healthcare should look like, but it had nothing to do with actually accomplishing that.

by cottonmouthblog 2008-05-08 04:15PM | 0 recs

Meant to reply to a comment right above this and not the actual post.

by cottonmouthblog 2008-05-08 04:16PM | 0 recs
SEIU failed to ensure accountability in Colorado

I know that SEIU not only failed to ensure accountability of politicians in Colorado, but actively attacked and obstructed other unions for trying to do so.

A year ago we had a Governor, a State Senate leadership and a State House leadership all committed to passing a full collective bargaining law for state employees. The Democrats controlled all three for the first time in decades. It was an historic opportunity to expand worker rights in the public sector here.

SEIU, as part of its effort to curry favor with the business community, urged the governor to scrap the planned legislation for collective bargaining, and instead institute a weak executive order (which inevitably be scrapped by the next GOP governor, as has happened previously in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky).

This executive order has no provisions for independent arbitration of the contract or arbitration of grievances. It explicitly states that there is no way to bargain for more economic benefits. It's basically what is called in the union movement "meet and confer" or "meet and beg." SEIU dresses it up as "21st century partnership" - typically SEIU will cover up a sell-out with lots of progressive-sounding buzzwords, that's their style.

Despite SEIU's backpeddling, the business community still reacted against even this weak order. So to further curry favor by undermining worker rights, SEIU supported a bill banning state employee strikes, amending an earlier statute guaranteeing the right to strike that was passed in the wake of the Ludlow massacre.

The Colorado Public Employee Alliance (affiliated with Communications Workers of America) has criticized these blatant sell-outs. See their web site:

CPEA-CWA attempted to amend the anti-strike bill to have it sunset with the executive order, but SEIU lobbyists opposed the CWA amendment. So SEIU gave up Colorado workers' right to strike for a temporary executive order that isn't even full collective bargaining. The strike ban will stay in the law when the executive order is revoked.

by aenglish 2008-05-09 12:28PM | 0 recs


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