Re: Democracy and the SEIU (Response to Mel Pritchard's posting)

Marilyn Albert, RN, Ohio, Portside, September 18, 2004

Mel Pritchard says "there are no easy answers" to running large unions - that is certainly true. But this complexity is one of the reasons union officials use to bypass democratic practices - they are much more concerned with getting the result than with processes toward that result which might strengthen the union in the long run. Those who have commented critically on the proposals of the New Unity Partnership leaders agree with the goals of the NUP, but point to a history in the US labor movement of well-intended reforms from leaders who can only think in terms of top-down "changing to organize". Many of us think one of the changes on which building greater union power depends is changing members' view of their own unions from one of a "third party" (and often one that to the member is allied with the boss), to one of the member having a sense of ownership of her union. ... Response