SEIU Up to Charges of Extortion
Washington Free Beacon
The union that launched the career of Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard is being accused of strong-arming a group of nursing homes to increase membership rolls.
HealthBridge and CareOne, two nursing home companies, are suing the New England Health Care Employees Union (SEIU Chapter 1199 New England), accusing the labor leaders of using political threats and dangerous workplace sabotage to force several non-union shops into their ranks.
The explosive charges stem from a July labor walkout in which identification badges were removed from elderly patients’ doors, including from some who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, and medical records were mixed up. The lawsuit alleges that such tactics constitute the same sort of intimidation that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) were designed to prevent.
“The cycle of extortion will continue indefinitely,” the complaint reads. “The most likely results of extended extortionate campaigns are poor patient care, unprofitable facilities that may be forced to close, layoffs of union and non-union employees, and monetary losses for the owners of the plaintiffs.”
SEIU did not return calls seeking comment.
“SEIU has a pattern of pushing the envelope in terms of intimidation, using political muscle against companies,” said Dr. Steven Allen of the Capital Research Center. “They have pioneered a new tactic … pickets have moved from company headquarters to executives’ homes and sabotage has moved from attacking machinery to potentially putting people in danger.”
The 1199 is one of the largest local labor union chapters in the country, with nearly 345,000 active and retired members and nearly $50 million in assets. The union is confronting a massive pension shortfall despite its size thanks to years of accounting gimmicks designed to show a well funded system.
The union has attempted to renegotiate pension contributions from HealthBridge and increase the number of dues-paying members.
The second effort stands at the center of the lawsuit.
The company alleges that the union attempted to negotiate a scheme behind the backs of workers through a “corporate campaign.” Rather than bringing union membership to a vote among employees, corporate campaigning tactics can force companies to unilaterally push workers into the union and automatically deduct dues from paychecks.
Labor leaders pursued this path to unionization, according to the suit, and turned “union organizing and contract negotiations...from being fair processes with uncertain outcomes to being old-fashioned, mafia-style shakedowns in which the employer has no choice but to surrender its money to the unions in return for a temporary end to an extortionate campaign.”
SEIU represents more than 2 million public and private sector workers. Former SEIU president Andy Stern perfected the art of corporate campaigning.
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Editor's Note: With wage and workplace laws, and the opportunity to engage federal arbitrators in contract disputes, please explain what workers need unions for anyway? Labor unions were once needed, but like the horse-drawn carriage as a primary method of transportation, labor unions are obsolete and should be retired. Imagine what union members could actually so with the dues they pay, seeing how unions don't really afford anything that isn't addressed by laws already on the books....
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