Friday, November 20, 2015

Why, SEIU?

Okay, I know why.  But the decision to back Clinton over Sanders by any labor union, especially one that mostly represents poor people, is just weak.  First presidentail candidate in my life worth giving a dime to, and my own union chickens out.  Disgusting.

And a lot of people in SEIU feel the same as I do.  I got a lot of praise for the following simple comment on our local's staff email:

"I got the word from some (unhappy) members who saw Clinton's endorsement by SEIU in the news today.  Some of you may disagree, and I have to say I am not surprised by the decision, but I also have to say I am deeply disappointed in SEIU.  Not only has Clinton opposed a $15 national minimum wage, which Sanders supports, but she has repeatedly if inconsistently supported so-called 'free trade' agreements over the objections of organized labor, environmentalists, etc.  She voted for the disastrous Iraq War, which Sanders voted against, and as First Lady supported the bigoted Defense of Marriage Act and the disgusting "end of 60 years of support for the nation's poorest children."

That's on top of her record of working for Wall Street and sitting on the board of Walmart at a time when Bernie Sanders was fighting for the rights of working people.  I am sure her proposals for reforming the ACA will improve it, but why does she actually oppose single-payer health care (which Sanders supports), which would help working people much more?

But most importantly, we may have missed an opportunity to stand behind the best candidate for president in the last 40 or more years.  The decision, in which we join AFSCME, NEA, AFT, and others, will most likely signal any candidate for years to come who would have hoped to run on real working class issues not to bother because they are unlikely to get the support of very many labor unions.  I hope they do not listen but listen instead to NNU and the APWU, who are signaling readiness to fight for what working people need.

Presumably SEIU's decision was partly based on her supposed electability -- and we may find out how electable she is -- but, besides being skeptical of most polls (the overall popular vote doesn't count, so most polls mean next to nothing), I phone-banked SEIU members for her in New York when she ran for Senate (wow, they hated her!) and I don't find many fans of hers down here -- maybe you Chicago folks do?  And at least least some of those polls, which may or may not be accurate, show Sanders faring better against any Republican than Clinton would.  It's hard to say, I know.  I have no doubt SEIU will support the better candidate next November, not necessarily the more electable one.  I just wish we could do the same in the primaries."

I sent a similar message to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.  I doubt I'll get much praise for that.

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