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SEIU and Midwestern Politics

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Members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Wisconsin Healthcare were among more than 60,000 citizens, public workers, teachers and union members gathered during a Reclaim Wisconsin protest rally held outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis., on March 10, 2012. One year earlier, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature pushed through Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to strip unions and public workers of many collective bargaining rights. (Photo by Jeff Miller for SEIU)

As I have stated repeatedly, for all certain labor-leftists say that unions should “stop playing politics and organize!!,” engaging in such a strategy would be insane because unions cannot win meaningful gains in this nation without winning in the political realm. There simply is no historical evidence against my point. You’d think such a point would simply be universally held, but oh god no. So when SEIU announced that they were going to engage in a big campaign to influence local and state elections in the Midwest, there was a bunch of moaning on Facebook and Twitter that BIG PURPLE was going doing the wrong thing again. Well, not only do I think that SEIU is making the right move here, but I’m surprised they waited this long. Really, it’s an issue of survival at this point, especially with Friedrichs II in the pipeline, meaning that the Supreme Court will almost certainly eviscerate the public sector by 2019 through effectively creating right to work nationally for those workers. We do need a union-friendly president but we very much also need union-friendly state governments. I hope SEIU can help turn the tide in former union-friendly strongholds that have been eviscerated in the past 10 years.

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