Friday, February 02, 2007

TAP Letter/Change to Win

Harold Meyerson published an excellent column in the online edition of The American Prospect on Andy Stern, titled "Organization Man." TAP published my letter in response today, on their website. I didn't really imagine that they would, so I can't say that I cleared it with our communications staff. I think it's pretty innocuous, though.

Doing Something

Harold Meyerson’s recent column on SEIU president Andy Stern ("Organization Man," 2/1/07) makes a compelling argument regarding Stern’s political effectiveness and his similarities to former UAW president Walter Reuther. But, to strengthen the comparison, Mr. Meyerson likens Reuther’s failed Alliance for Labor Action to the recently-formed Change to Win Federation, which -- according to Meyerson -- "can’t really be said to have done anything, either."

Quite the contrary. Since the formation of Change to Win, SEIU organized 5,300 janitors in the union-hostile environment of Houston, TX, the UFCW mounted an effective nationwide opposition to Wal-Mart, and UNITE HERE, in an unprecedented victory, won organizing agreements with two national hotel chains. In fact, a year ago Mr. Meyerson published a Washington Post column on the revolutionary nature of the UNITE HERE campaign, which he praised for "opening a whole new front" ("Taking on the Hotels," Washington Post, 1/18/06). These milestones, along with the record participation of labor unions in the 2006 election cycle, clearly demonstrate the commitment of Change to Win members to the new federation’s founding principle of strategic, industry-based organizing. Change to Win may have faults to match its successes, but it is, without a doubt, doing something.

Alek Felstiner, Organizer


Not a Flaneur, I Just Walk A lot said...

Tony Dugs will murder you in your sleep for this.

alek said...

By the way, this post was edited to reflect the correct number of janitors organized by SEIU in Houston: 5,300 (typo or subconscious padding? you be the judge). I sent a letter to TAP, but I doubt they'll change anything. My bad.