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Dispute between SEIU and AFL-CIO affiliate growing


May 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Dispute between SEIU and AFL-CIO affiliate growing


REGION, April 15th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Association (CNA/NNOC) are engaged in a dispute with each other over jurisdiction and legislative agenda issues.

The SEIU is not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation and is affiliated with the Change-to-Win (CtW) labor federation. The SEIU is the largest union in the nation with 1.9 million members.

The CNA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and has 80,000 members and has grown by more than 375 percent during the past ten years. The CNA represents mostly workers employed within the healthcare industry while the SEIU represents workers employed within social services, government and the healthcare industry.

In the Lehigh Valley, the SEIU represents workers employed in government and social services but does not represent employees in the healthcare industry.

The CNA did not represent any workers in Pennsylvania until March when the union announced the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union would join the CNA. The union does not have members in the Lehigh Valley, but does represent nurses in the Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton areas.

PASNAP was not affiliated with either the AFL-CIO or the CtW labor federations prior to merging with the California Nurses Association.

Recently, both the SEIU and the CNA have provided information to the newspaper explaining their position regarding the dispute between the two unions. Both unions requested the newspaper report on this story, normally internal matters of disagreement between members of the labor community are not published.

According to the SEIU, the CNA has interfered several times with their organizing efforts including recently in California, Nevada and Ohio. More than 800 SEIU members traveled to Dearborn Michigan, where CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro was scheduled to speak on April 11th, to protest the CNA. The SEIU stated Ms. DeMoro cancelled at the last minute because of their protest.

The CNA responded to the SEIU by condemning the union for targeting their leaders and members alleging they are being intimidated and stalked at home and work by the SEIU.

On March 24th SEIU President Andrew Stern sent a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who once served as President of the SEIU, calling for the labor federation leader to intervene and resolve the problem between the two unions. Mr. Stern in his letter provides several examples of AFL-CIO affiliated unions, including the CNA, alleging they have conducted anti-SEIU activities attempting to remove the union as the employees bargaining representative.

Despite the SEIU not being affiliated with the AFL-CIO, under a agreement between the CtW labor federation and the AFL-CIO, CtW unions can join local AFL-CIO labor federations through a “Solidarity Charter.” Under the program, any union receiving a Solidarity Charter would not be “raided” by a AFL-CIO affiliated union. According to the letter, provided by Mr. Stern’s Washington DC office, which was received by the newspaper without request, the SEIU alleges the AFL-CIO have not enforced the anti-raiding understanding in the Solidarity Charter agreement.

Mr. Stern ask President Sweeney in the March 24th letter, if the Solidarity Charters prohibit both AFL-CIO affiliates and SEIU affiliates who have received Solidarity Charters from raiding each other.

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