Saturday, September 20, 2008

More discussion on SEIU

Paul Levy referenced my recent post about the SEIU corporate campaign in his blog, Running a Hospital. Paul is the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Paul's posting elicited some lively follow-up comments, including one that seemed to compare picketing my house to put pressure on contract negotiations at a nursing home with the civil rights protests of the 1960's! Another comment on Paul's blog said, "The hubris is takes to compare any modern day civil rights staggering." After reading the comments on Paul's blog, I added my own:

Captains-of-industry imagery and class-stereotypes are powerful tools for motivating and for bullying, and the SEIU is masterful at using these tools. Employing the signs and symbols of civil protest, however, does not automatically confer legitimacy on one’s point-of-view or actions.

The SEIU is an organization, like any other. It has no special status as somehow “more moral” or “more politically legitimate.” Because it alleges something does not make it true.

In the days since the SEIU picketed at my home, numerous SEIU members have told me they disapproved of the activity. Some have apologized. They have usually done so after briefly looking over a shoulder so as not to be overhead.

One local labor leader called me last weekend to express personal support and to take issue with the SEIU’s tactics. Significantly, this leader said he was not comfortable expressing such an opinion publicly.

To read Paul's post and the comments it prompted, go to Corporate Campaign in Upstate New York. See also the comments on my initial post, as well.

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