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Statement by UHW on SEIU's Claims Regarding SEIU-Trusteeship Hearing Process Chaired by Ray Marshall
Date:1/22/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This is a sad day for the American labor movement and those who believe that social movements should be led from the bottom up, rather than the top down.

SEIU's press release and the cherry-picked quotes from the decision are predictable. It also is predictable that Hearing Officer Ray Marshall, former Secretary of Labor, who was hired by SEIU President Andy Stern to conduct the hearing would do the job he was paid to do -- render a decision that would make findings favored by Stern.

But despite this predictable outcome, the SEIU press release is noteworthy in that the Marshall report apparently does NOT recommend trusteeship. Never in the history of SEIU has an SEIU President initiated a trusteeship process that did not recommend trusteeship -- until now. The facts in support of UHW's case are so overwhelming that even SEIU's biased process could not produce the ultimate outcome sought by Stern. SEIU's case is without merit. Last year a federal judge also threw out an SEIU lawsuit making similar claims. More recent testimony from SEIU insiders and leaked documents revealed that Stern's real goal was to use the trusteeship process to chill dissent and silence reformers, what SEIU termed "implosion."

Of course, none of us can know for sure what the Marshall report contains, because Stern and SEIU have refused to release it, including to us.

SEIU's trusteeship hearing process contains serious structural flaws that biased its outcome toward SEIU's President. For example, Hearing Officer Ray Marshall was first asked to become hearing officer by the law firm that prosecuted the International Union's case. Moreover, Andy Stern personally approved Marshall's selection and then appointed SEIU's legal department to "assist" Marshall in conducting the hearing, analyzing the evidence and crafting his analysis.

UHW member Beverly Griffith, an environmental services aide at Sutter's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, stated, "A process like this would never be allowed in any union contract In my own contract, a hearing officer is a mutually selected neutral third party, who acts as an independent arbitrator. This is an injustice and a double standard."

The SEIU press statement, released even before the Marshall report has been made public, also is a sad commentary that SEIU, which has made fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act and a voice for non-union workers a top priority, denies its own members a voice and choice. Unions are supposed to stand for democracy in the workplace - and the union hall. This decision from an SEIU-dominated process only further demonstrates the need to end corruption and reform the International Union. In SEIU, "justice" means injustice for all those who disagree with Stern and his cronies.

With more than 150,000 members, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the fastest-growing healthcare union in the United States. We represent healthcare workers in all job classifications and all healthcare settings, including hospitals, homecare, nursing homes and clinics. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

Contact Sadie Crabtree, 323-365-2083


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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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