Pink Sheeting One on Ones

wilhelmNew Orleans Obviously an article in the Times by Steven Greenhouse entitled, “Some Organizers Protest Their Union’s Tactics,” would catch my eye.  One reads it with some peril given the bricks still being thrown from one glass window or another between SEIU and UNITE HERE, but despite that caveat, it’s worth serious attention.  The article looks at the complaint from former UNITE HERE organizers about “pink sheeting,” which seem to have been a practice of recording highly personal information on pink sheets (they are now a different color) and allowing supervisory access to such information and using it to direct and drive organizers in a way that some find manipulative.  Now in one of the rare articles we have about internal union business we get to read about tawdry internal affairs and psycho-babble mind games:  kill me now!

The story gives way too much information about the internal conflicts lying in the back story of individual union organizers from broken families to weight issues to presumably everything else that they share with the life history of many in modern America.  John Wilhelm, the head of UNITE HERE, said many of these practices have been reformed, and I’m confident that this will be done at the human resources and personnel management level.

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Labor Chaos

hotel-worker New Orleans  Sensitive, internal memos and financial information are leaking like a sieve exposing vulnerabilities in some of our storied unions.  This hurts workers and all of us.  In labor we need some real leadership and something likea “Geneva convention” or “Marquis of Queensberry” rules for how to handle internal conflict within unions without eroding protections and rights for union members themselves.  We would need some kind of Geiger counter to find any evidence of principles and restrain in how the UNITE, HERE, and SEIU ménage de trios is now breaking out.

In the bitter court battle and divorce struggle within UNITE HERE as they try to unwind the merger of their organizations several years ago and reassemble various pieces into a new formation or in the former UNITE case to affiliate with SEIU, like the worst of Hollywood divorces both sides seem unrestrained in trying to destroy the other, no matter who and what is hurt at the hindmost.  Most recently when the HERE forces seized the building in New York City where the former UNITE forces had been operating, a flood of documents has been unleashed in internet way past acceptable boundaries.

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