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Some Information about Wade Rathke's "Real" Union

Commentary by "Joe Hill" written on April 20, 2001

Since ACORN management and it's supporters like to claim that the IWW isn't a real union, I thought it would be interesting to see Wade Rathke's record at SEIU Local 100. SEIU's webpage has an archive of their newsletter "Bold Action News" from 1997 to the present.

If you search through it, this is what you'll find for SEIU Local 100. In the past four years, in the three states that they cover, they have won 7 elections, 6 of which were actually new organizing.

Now, personally, I think SEIU should be proud of their efforts, even though they've only successfully organized half a dozen shops in the past few years, and even though most appear to be at non-profits that serve the young and poor or the old and sick. Should they be denounced for not having more succcess or for not going after bigger corporations or for organizing shop-by-shop? Hell no. Local 100 is doing good work and should be proud.

At the same time, the IWW should not be held up to higher standards than a larger organization with far more money.

I'm just amazed at the hypocrisy, though. How dare Wade claim and allow other ACORN management claim that workers at non-profits aren't really workers and that they don't deserve unions, when his very own union is organizing Head Start and nursing homes. And how dare they spout off lies that shop-by-shop organizing is illegal when that is the method his own union uses.

  • Jan 1997 won election to represent Head Start workers in Houston (133-8).
  • Feb 1998 coalition of SEIU, HERE and Operating Engineers won election to represent New Orleans Convention center workers (employees of Aramark) (237-75).
  • May 1998 won election to represent workers at Crestpark nursing home in Marianna, Arkansas (33-11).
  • June 1998 won election for friendly transfer of Teamsters bargaining unit, public employees of Baton Rouge, Lousiana (493-19).
  • Oct 1998 won election to represent workers at Lowen Central Services mortuary service chain (10-6).
  • Aug 1999 won two elections to represent nurses at nursing homes in Shreveport, Louisiana Harmony House (7-4), IHS of Shreveport (8-3).