Rank and File Organize Massive Fight Back Against Ineffective Union Bosses

SEIU Member Activists for Reform Today – SMART

SEIU Member Activists for Reform Today (SMART) is an organization of rank-and-file members of SEIU who believe that members are the real source of strength for our Union and the people behind every victory. Members have fought for years in our work sites, in the streets, and in the halls of government to make SEIU the largest and strongest union in the country – now 1.9 million workers strong. Members also know that growth is critical to our success, and to rebuilding a fighting labor movement – but not growth at all costs, and not without full participation of the members.

For the sake of growth at all costs, some recent agreements orchestrated by SEIU’s leadership in D.C. have traded away high contract standards, limited members’ free speech and ability to protect the public we serve, and compromised our right to strike. All this has been done without real member involvement.

Many in SEIU have grave concerns that in recent years, SEIU’s leadership in D.C. has drifted away from our membership, forgetting that we are the ones who make our Union strong. Dozens of mergers have been imposed without any member involvement or truly democratic procedures, resulting in trusteeships that replace elected leaders with appointed ones. Constitutional changes have given the president and International Union’s Executive Board unprecedented powers to force coordinated bargaining, appoint our bargaining teams, and settle our contracts.

It’s time to remind our leaders that SEIU is a union of, by, and for the members!

* Member dues pay their salaries
* Members fight to win every day in the workplace
* Members are the political voice and power needed to win in government
* Members are the most effective organizers of new workers
* Members win the victories that generate SEIU’s growth.

SMART is building a membership reform movement that will:

* Prevent the recent abuses of power by our leaders
* Preserve democracy, member decision-making and involvement
* Focus on winning higher standards along with growth.

We are proposing a Reform Platform at SEIU’s Convention in Puerto Rico in June 2008, and we need your support. Be part of our movement! Join SMART Today!

We are SMART:

On an ongoing basis, we will be featuring the words and faces of those who want reform in SEIU. If you'd like to appear here, email a photo and a quote stating your reason for joining SMART to info@reformseiu.org.

Catherine Alexander, Chief Steward
Santa Clara Libraries
SEIU Local 521

"I support the SMART platform because I believe every SEIU member must have the right to vote on our contracts and elect our negotiating teams and International Union officers."

Oletha Hunt, C.N.A.
Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco
SEIU Local 1021

"SMART is for me because I believe that mergers must be done democratically and because members should run their local union, not some Stern loyalist from Washington, D.C."

Dan Mariscal, Steward
City of Los Angeles
SEIU Local 347

"I've joined SMART because there's just no substitute for real membership control."

Bebs Nonato, R.N.
Los Angeles Medical Center (Kaiser)
SEIU-UHW Executive Board Vice President

"I'm a SMART member because I believe that workers make the best organizers and because I never want to see another agreement that sacrifices workers' rights in exchange for more dues dollars."

Ted Gathright, Steward
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
SEIU Local 2007 Executive Council Member

"I have joined SMART because democratically bargained contracts that achieve high standards for workers solve problems for both the workers and the Union. A real national strike fund to support workers during their struggle to achieve these high standards makes a lot of sense and empowers the workers in their negotiations. Good contracts make organizing a lot easier as non-union workers see the difference and want the same benefits that the union workers have achieved. We need a Union which supports workers not workers who support a Union."

Our Jobs – Our Voice – Our Union

Sunday, February 17, 2008 | Posted by reformseiu at 10:11 PM