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A Purple Uprising in Oakland

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-05-08 07:49 PM
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A Purple Uprising in Oakland

Apri1 2, 2008


As an infrequent visitor to the west coast, I've never experienced the earthquake tremors that are so familiar to millions of Californians.

But, in a union hall in downtown Oakland last Thursday (3/27), one didn't have to be a seismologist to see-and feel-the fault lines shifting in America's second-largest union.

Several hundred members and staffers of United Healthcare Workers (UHW) were jammed into their local headquarters for a raucous press conference and pep rally. Arriving by bus, the BART, on foot and by car, the crowd was chanting, clapping, whistling, and making an enormous racket with union-issued yellow plastic clackers.

Almost everyone wore the signature purple T-shirts and jackets of their national organization, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The event could have easily been mistaken for an SEIU strike vote, a contract ratification meeting, or an organizing rally involving some portion of the UHW's statewide membership of 150,000. Since a few workers even wheeled in the disabled people they care for in neighboring homes, it also looked like a union protest against state budget cuts,

The gathering of African-American, Asian, and Latino home care workers, nursing home aides, and hospital employees was convened for another purpose, however. Their call-and-response chants were not directed at any recalcitrant employer or tight-wad Republican governor. Instead, UHW members were venting against top officials of their own union.

FULL story at link.

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