SEIU raiders swarm Stockton, CA

Organizers' strongarm tactics resisted

In a bid to overthrow the Stockton City Employees Association and to take over its membership, representatives of a competing union paid unannounced visits over the weekend to several Stockton employees' homes, employees said.

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 organizers lobbied employees in those visits to disband their association and to join SEIU, employees said. The city group represents about 475 civilian employees. SEIU represents more than 1.9 million members in North America, including many San Joaquin County government workers.

Joe Rose, an attorney for the city association, wrote on an association Web site Monday that SEIU organizers "spent their weekend swarming the homes of SCEA members in a hasty effort to overthrow" the association.

An SEIU official declined to comment on the organizing effort or to confirm that one existed.

Randy Lyman, an SEIU spokesman based in Oakland, said he was unfamiliar with the situation in Stockton but that home visits are common in organizing campaigns.

"Visiting people at their homes is kind of standard," he said.

It was unclear how the employees' addresses were obtained, though employees' names are public and addresses typically can be found in any number of public databases. The city does not release addresses, an official said.

Marilyn Akers, a Stockton revenue collector, said she was in her pajamas when two SEIU representatives came to her door. Akers said she told them she was busy and that, when pressed, "I ended up slamming the door in their face."

She said, "I'm still really upset that my personal information was given out." She said she would not elect to join SEIU.

The takeover bid - which would require a vote by the association's membership - comes during contract negotiations between the association and the city. The employees' current contract expires in December.

Once a contract is adopted, SEIU and any other union would be barred for three years by state law from attempting a takeover.

Bjo Day, an office assistant at Cesar Chavez Central Library, said SEIU is recruiting employees and that "we are exploring our options."

She said Stockton employees could benefit from a union with a "stronger arm," but that home visits are invasive and could alienate those SEIU hopes to win over.


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails