"Justice For All" and Accountability At Last

by: Tim Tagaris

Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 13:02

(Thanks to Matt for allowing me to post on the front page during SEIU's Convention -- Tim)

Friday February 1: $470,060
Saturday February 2: $126,000

All told, SEIU spent over $1 million dollars in an "unprecedented effort" to help elect Donna Edwards in Maryland's 4th Congressional District earlier this year.

And as part of the "Justice for All" platform at SEIU's Convention -- you'll be seeing more primaries like this fought in the coming months and years.  Here's SEIU's Political Director Jon Youngdahl explaining their "Accountability Project."

The goal is not simply to run primaries and win, but to elect representatives who will work and vote for universal health care, freedom to form a union without employer interference, economic fairness, an end to the war, and more.  You can learn more about "Justice for All" here, or choose to dive into the extended entry for more information, great videos and photos from SEIU's convention.

But before you do, SEIU President Andy Stern is scheduled to speak at around 1 PM.  You can watch it live from the convention in the extended entry (video plays)

Tim Tagaris :: "Justice For All" and Accountability At Last
SEIU President Andy Stern, Live from SEIU's Convention (Watch the recorded version here)

The "Accountability Project" includes:

* $10 million fund to take on elected officials who fail to live up to their promises.

* Calls for SEIU members to make at least 10 million phone calls to members of Congress after the election to hold them accountable.

* At least 50 percent of the union's organizing budget and 50 percent of its non-organizing staff at the national and local levels will be devoted to the effort

* A commitment to jump start a much broader, permanent grassroots movement of working people by actively involving at least one million SEIU members in the "justice for all" effort by 2012, and creating leadership roles for at least 200,000 (or about 10 percent of the union's membership).

Todd Beeton has more on it over at MyDD.

Races will be targeted using several criteria, perhaps most important of which will be what their members on the ground in certain districts are saying. Part of the reason the SEIU got into the MD-04 race was because there was wide-spread dis-satisfaction with Al Wynn from their members in his district. Luckily for our representatives, avoiding a primary challenge isn't terribly difficult: just follow through on your promises and reflect the values and the needs of your voters with your votes in Washington. Now, that's not so hard, is it?

Not so hard, but happens all-too-often ...

Another important piece, maybe the more important piece, of this program is the recruitment mechanism.  SEIU is going to recruit and train challengers where one's don't exist, and parter with many different organizations and communities (like the netroots) to make that happen.  So, we don't have to wait for a Ned Lamont to show up on the scene -- we can create one.

There's much more about the convention, and Justice for All platform over at www.seiu2008.org


Relevant Disclaimer: I am proud to be helping a great progressive ally, SEIU, grow their internet operation

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Tim ... (0.00 / 0)
were does SEIU stand on the Steve Cohen/Nikki Tinker primary?

Great news (0.00 / 0)
Any plans to do any more accountability in 08? For example the John Barrow vs Regina Thomas is a perfect example of a leader betraying promises. And there is already a strong candidate.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Stop drinking the purple kool-aid (0.00 / 0)
Electoral politics are all well and good, yet if Brother Stern gets his way, rank and file members will have no representation on the shop floor.  No, they can dial an 800 number.  Where exactly will these call centers be located?  India?

Again, Stern and company are relegating the need for strong representation on the shop floor to the garbage bin.  The call center idea is even more appalling when you look at the membership demographic--immigrants who are loathe to stand up to authority, folks, through no fault of their own, with limited education.  Labor law entitles workers who are about to be disciplined the right to an advocate.  The call center idea takes that right away.

It is a sad day when those who are unfamiliar with unions, as many Open Left readers are, cannot see the forest through the trees .  There are alternative ideas--not sure we will see them here.

Want another view?  uniondemocracy.com

I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November

[ Parent ]
I am well aware (0.00 / 0)
of both sides of the argument and I think both sides are going way overboard in their attacks.

Andy Stern is not the devil. He is also far from perfect.

Also. Saying "Stop drinking the purple kool-aid" and assuming that I know nothing about unions is a great way to not win me over to your side of the argument.

Calm down.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Re: "Justice For All" (0.00 / 0)
Expect to hear a lot of "gnashing of teeth", "pulling of hair", and, general bellyachin' in the coming months as the SEIU moves forward with its plan to hold elected officials accountable to keep their campaign promises.  

This major plank of the Union's 2008 convention platform is sure to rile up those who aren't accustomed to just plain ol' folks/workers daring to use such you fill in the blank
political tactics.  

Perhaps, we should expect more fear than indignation from opponents of unions in general.  I know in my case as a relatively new union member and "leader?" for the past 4 years, it was more than surprising to see the somewhat stunned looks on management and local politicos' faces when they saw me in my union gear and marching with my city co-workers.  

I've worked for in municipal government in San Antonio, Texas for over 30 years, so, I know a few people, and, they knew me largely on a professional level and not a union activist.  But most of them have gotten used to it by now.  

Look for a lot of the same as the SEIU moves forward, but, in the words of the San Antonio locals..."todo se vale!" which , translates loosely to "all's fair in love and war!" and "SEIU politics!"  


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