SEIU's Shameless Abuse of Olympic Games Tragedy

In the wake of yesterday’s terrible tragedy outside of Vancouver at the Whistler Sliding Center, where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili sadly lost his life, safety is on the minds of many. Only hours before the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the 21-year old lost control of his sled at 88mph and was catapulted over the track wall into a steel support column. All throughout the week, coaches, commentators, and even other Olympians have questioned the safety of the track, as nearly a dozen other athletes have also crashed during practice runs, including a Romanian women’s slider who was knocked unconscious and defending Olympic luge champion Armin Zoeggeler of Italy.

The President of the World Luge Federation said the track is too fast and thinks it is a planning mistake, while Australian luger Hannah Campbell-Pegg questioned whether athletes were being treated as “crash test dummies“. The shocking footage of the accident was replayed all throughout the day and evening yesterday, leaving horrified viewers focused on discussion about the safety of the track.

But in all of this shock, horror and sadness over the tragic death of an athlete in his prime and the dangers of the track on which he lost his young life, what has the SEIU focused on?

Food safety. (Translated = unionizing)

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Reports of the horrible accident in Vancouver began surfacing in the press as early as 12:30 pm EST Friday. Yet, the SEIU still felt their unionization Food Safety concerns were so paramount that they went ahead and issued a press release anyway, after 5:00 pm EST:

PRESS RELEASE: Healthcare Union Raises Concerns Over Safety Of Food to be Served to Olympic Athletes at Vancouver Olympics

“Sodexo is providing catering services for athletes during this key moment in their sporting careers, and we’re concerned about the food they will be providing,” charged the SEIU in Friday’s press release.

It’s not as though the SEIU could not have known about the tragedy – the story had been broadcast all over the news for at least five hours before SEIU pushed out its attack. If they didn’t know, then they’re even more disconnected from reality than we thought they were.

As many are already aware, the SEIU has been incessantly battering Sodexo since 2007, in its desire to unionize some of its nearly 400,000 employees, many of them hotel and food service workers. Sodexo is one of the largest food services and facilities management companies in the world, and is the provider of choice for most schools, universities, companies, hotels, prisons and other facilities that outsource their cafeteria and food catering operations, and for those that outsource industrial cleaning services.

The other target though, since 2003, has actually been another union, UNITE HERE, the former combination of the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International union.

There has been a longstanding war amongst the three, where SEIU once partnered with UNITE to attack HERE, then eventually betrayed UNITE as well. The prize of course being hotel and casino workers, cleaners, garment workers, and potentially even bank tellers. The epic battle is not exactly secret, nor is it new, although there have been significant recent escalations in their ongoing war. It’s all like a soap opera, but that’s an article for another day.

Lately, with so much more now at stake, like every possible piece of the health care legislation to which the labor union can superficially associate itself, including food & wellness (yeah, remember the SEIU Lunchladies video I posted, where SEIU insists that kids are obese and unhealthy because non-union workers from outsourced companies like Sodexo are serving their food?), SEIU bosses have significantly amped up the Sodexo attacks in recent months. Perhaps you’ve recognized their usual tactics in action: the corporate smear campaign website, non-stop blog attacks on the company and on those who support them, frequent press releases, artificial “reports” and “statistics”, robocalls and mailers, and using partners like ACORN to plant dissatisfied workers in the media.

Oh, and don’t forget – their fellow unions are fighting back against Andy Stern and the SEIU corporate bosses. Even rank and file union workers want the nonsense to stop.

Which all brings me back to yesterday’s press release.

C’mon, SEIU. First, do you honestly think the American people are so ignorant that they don’t see through your fake intentions? Maybe the mainstream media is, as they blindly report on your press releases like robots. But not the rest of us. Food Safety? Really, SEIU? Really?

More importantly, where is your soul?

You claim to care about all of these rank and file workers you support, but then you betray them. Bad move. Then, on a tragic day when all eyes are focused on the death of a young athlete in Vancouver and on the safety of the track on which he died, you send out a press release hours after the accident about…not construction safety, not facility safety, not even worker or athlete safety…but about Food Safety. Really bad move.

In the end, it’s not even about Food Safety at all. It’s a shameless part of a typical corporate campaign against a company whose workers you are trying to unionize. And some of those Sodexo workers have been providing food and hospitality to these Olympic athletes all week. Give them a day to process what just happened before you start attacking.

Shame on you, SEIU bosses. Shame on you.

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