Since the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a union, you might assume it holds that workers should be unionized.
Or, at the very least, that workers should have a right to unionize, if they so choose.
But you would be mistaken.
Similarly, many unions, most notably the SEIU, have been quite vocal in urging — demanding — that cities and states and the federal government require businesses to pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour. The “Fight for 15” is their fight, no?
Well, yes and no. It may be a fight they’ve picked, but unions such as the SEIU are on both sides of it. They’re fighting mighty hard to make other employers pay at least $15 an hour to employees, sure, but they’ve apparently not got an ounce of fight left to muster up the $15 an hour in pay for their own employees.
Last month, the pro-labor In These Times covered the struggle between the SEIU and those working for the SEIU’s “Fight for $15” campaign to form their own union as well as to receive an hourly wage of $15.
“We don’t have the right to join a union that we’re fighting for other workers to have,” one worker explained. “When we’re fighting for everyone to have $15 an hour, we should have it ourselves.”
“It is true that over the labor movement’s long history,” confirmed David Moberg, senior editor at In These Times, “many unions have fought with their staff over whether staff could or should organize.”
“Practice what you preach,” Moberg admonished the unions.
And if that’s so difficult for the SEIU, maybe what it preaches is the problem.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.