SEIU's Texas Roadshow: Will They 'Kill' Your Company?

Yesterday, Rep. Mark Kirk offered a great illustration of the relationship between ACORN and SEIU. A part of that chart is worthy of a further look: The relatively unknown story of how SEIU and ACORN took their act from Illinois Southward to mess with Texas and allegedly threatened to kill one man’s business because he wouldn’t toe the union line.

Most people know that unions haven’t done as well in the South as in industrialized (and economically troubled) Northern states such as Illinois and Michigan. So, in 2006 SEIU decided it would bring its brand of “justice for janitors” to Houston to set up a new foothold in the South.

First, SEIU set up a swank new office in a bank building and budgeted $1 million to organize Houston janitors. Then it took to the city streets, disrupting traffic and drawing the ire of Houstonians. A local judge even sentenced out-of-state SEIU protesters for their actions.

Eventually, they got several big janitorial companies to cave to a card check organizing campaign. But one man, Brent Southwell of Professional Janitorial Services, said it wasn’t his choice of whether his employees joined the union– it was his employees’ choice.

That’s when the union turned goonion. In addition to setting up the notorious inflatable union rat that unions love, SEIU took to contacting Southwell’s clients and protesting outside buildings. The Wall Street Journal reported:

Among other things, the union sent letters to Houston building owners, questioning whether Mr. Southwell’s workers were paid fairly and urging them to reconsider their business relationship with his company. A Labor Department investigation — the department wouldn’t comment on the reason for the probe — didn’t find any wage violations. Still, the letters and leafleting continued, and Mr. Southwell sued the union, saying its tactics amounted to defamation. Mark Jodon, a lawyer for Mr. Southwell, contends that his company will lose nearly $10 million from the loss of 14 existing and five prospective accounts with building owners.

But here’s what no one else has mentioned: The allegation contained a bombshell. The suit says a top SEIU organizer “has stated directly to PJS that SEIU wants ‘to kill’ PJS.”

Imagine a union threatening to come “kill” your company because it didn’t want you to have the choice to choose a secret ballot. No wonder they’re spending so much time and money trying to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which would effectively eliminate secret ballots altogether.

Mr. Southwell’s suit against SEIU continues.

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