When SEIU Is The Devil At Your Doorstep

Remember Brent Southwell, the business owner who says SEIU threatened to “kill” his company? Sadly, his experience isn’t unique. While readers have become increasingly acquainted with the tactics of unions like SEIU (and their allies in ACORN) to demonize American employers, the practice remains unknown to millions of Americans. Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held an event in Washington to spotlight smear campaigns (known in the jargon as “corporate campaigns”).

David Bego, a business owner in Indianapolis whom my fellow BG bloggers have referenced, gave an often emotional keynote speech outlining in great detail the nightmare experience of SEIU attacking his company. After telling the union he would not sign away the secret-ballot rights of his employees, he says the union responded that it would begin its attack, warning: “We enjoy conversation, but we embrace confrontation.”

In his book, The Devil At My Doorstep (Amazon), Bego writes:

One minute, we were enjoying the fruits of our labors minding our own business, and the next attacks begin lambasting the company as a “rat contractor” that cleaned buildings dubbed “Houses of Horror” for janitors who were exploited, intimidated, threatened, and abused all in the name of corporate greed. For the first time in our history, multiple National Labor Relations Board filings, frivolous charges with questionable evidence, would be filed against us for employee rights violations and for firing union supporters as the EMS image was dragged through the mud.

Americans have to wake up to what’s going on on shopfloors and in boardrooms across the country. U.S. businesses are being attacked and forced to swallow bad contracts and sign away employees’ rights to remain union-free — sometimes they are even denied the right to vote on whether they want to be union-free.

For those aware of ACORN and SEIU’s philosophical roots, an analysis of corporate campaigns by George Washington University professor Jarol Manheim uncovered strikingly familiar tactics and language:

  • The corporate campaign was invented by the New Left in the 1970s, and by the 1990s was in widespread use by the labor movement. To date, unions have waged nearly 300 campaigns against employers, primarily, though not exclusively, to facilitate organizing.
  • Corporate campaigns employ “power structure analysis” to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in the critical stakeholder relationships on which all companies depend. This broad strategic approach is then implemented through tactics that range from highly sophisticated financial and governance initiatives to street theater and even psychological warfare.
  • Typically, the role of the corporate campaign today is to force management to accede to union demands for “card check and neutrality”–a process by which the union certification procedures administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are effectively circumvented. A recent innovation here is the substitution of non-NLRB elections for card check, which has been coupled with a widening attack on the NLRB itself.

(emphasis added)