The Spectacle Blog

“We’ll Take It To The Streets”

By on 1.22.09 | 9:17AM

With a new government in Washington poised to enact the big labor agenda, an intra-union war has broken out within one of the nation's largest unions. The dispute pits the central Service Employees International Union (led by Obama-backer Andy Stern) and a local, Oakland branch of the United Health Care Workers-West. It centers around efforts by the national union to remove the head of the local union "for allegedly engaging in a pattern of financial malpractice, including improperly diverting $3 million to fund a campaign against the international union," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Yesterday, the local branch took out an ad in the Washington Post, featuring the photo of a nurse, and including the text, "Employee Free Choice? Not if You're a Member of the Service Employees International Union." In the video below -- found on its website -- a few dozen members of the local storm what they call a "secret SEIU office" in Alemeda, California alleging that it was established just to shut down their union.

"You guys are attacking members; you should be attacking bosses," one woman representing the local union hollers. "You want a fight? You'll get a fight! Take it to the streets? We'll take it to the streets!"

An SEIU spokeswoman told the WSJ that the angry members, "harassed and assaulted the staff, stole materials and damaged office equipment."

With a battle over "card check" looming on the horizon, conflicts like these make it a lot easier for conservatives to make the argument that being pro-big labor doesn't necessarily mean you're being pro-worker.

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