The NY Times recently ran a story about internal union squabbles, which are hindering organized labor from achieving its political goals. The high profile dispute is between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).
The NUHW broke off from the SEIU and is now trying to take over several bargaining units formerly represented by the SEIU. The dispute is complex, but seems to boil down to a power struggle between the two leaders (Andrew Stern at the SEIU and Sal Roselli with NUHW). Hanging in the balance is over 2 million union members.
What does this mean for employers? If you’re non-union, this could be a good or a bad thing. It could be bad if you have to deal with a 3-way race, where your employees vote for the SEIU, NUHW or no union. If that’s the case, you can expect the campaign to be active and aggressive with plenty of unfair labor practice charges. On the other hand, employee-voters could get turned off by the two unions attacking each other and decide not to support either.
What does this mean for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA – the card check bill)? If key unions can’t work together, the labor movement may have difficulty getting an effective EFCA passed.