THE SEIU'S CONSTITUTION A CONSTITUTION FIT FOR A (UNION) KING
Like most major national union, the Service International Employees Union has a union constitution that governs the entire union and its members.
Like other union constitutions, the SEIU's constitution gives its president, Andy Stern, huge powers over the union, local unions, as well as union members. In sum, it is a union constitution fit for a (union) king.
The SEIU's constitution enables the national union to take over local unions, as well as to place members (and officers) on trial.
Beyond the "feel good" statements of the union's mission statement and objects, a clearer picture of the SEIU's power emerges.
If you are or become an SEIU member, some of the things you should be aware of include:
The SEIU has the right to put you on trial if you...
Violate any specific provision of its constitution, or local union bylaws
Engage in gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member
Advocate or engage in "dual unionism" (supporting a different union) or "seccession"
Work as a "strikebreaker" (usually this means crossing a picket line during a union-called strike)
Violate wage or work standards established by the International Union or Local Union
Article III JURISDICTION AND MEMBERSHIP Section 1. The International Union shall be composed of and have jurisdiction over its affiliated bodies and all Local Unions composed of working men and women who are employed or engaged in any phase of private, nonprofit or public employment, including without limitation employees of colleges, schools or universities, public employers (including cities, counties, states, provinces, territories, commonwealths, governmental districts, federal agencies and multiple agencies or authorities and any subdivisions thereof), institutions or agencies, hospitals, nursing homes or other health facilities, and private and public utilities, department stores, industrial plants, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and all employees thereof including clericals, technicians, professionals, paraprofessionals and paramedicals, or those who are engaged in maintenance, sales, servicing, protection or operation of all types of institutions, buildings or structures, commercial, mercantile or other establishments, edifices and grounds, and their environs, whether private, public or nonprofit, and all categories of employees therein and thereabout, including places of assembly, amusement, recreation, entertainment and the presentation of sporting events.
The International President is empowered to construe the jurisdiction above defined to embrace all classifications of workers within any establishment anywhere in the world.
Section 2(a). The International Union shall have jurisdiction over the Local Unions and their members and over all affiliated bodies.
The SEIU stakes its wide net over nearly every type of worker in America (and the world).
Like an empire, the SEIU stakes its claim on workers anywhere in the world.
The SEIU International establishes that IT has jurisdiction over the local and members.
Article VIII INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT— DUTIES AND POWERS
Section 1(a). It shall be the duty of the International President to preside at the Convention of the International Union and at meetings of the International Executive Board, and conduct them in accordance with parliamentary rules and in conformity with this Constitution. The International President shall appoint all committees and boards and be a member ex officio of all committees and boards.
(b). The International President shall have the deciding vote in case of a tie on any question.
(c). The International President shall act to the best of his or her ability in furthering the purposes and objects of the organization and the interests of its members.
(d). The International President shall have general supervision and direction over the affairs of the International Union. The International President shall be authorized to call and make arrangements for such meetings, seminars and conferences as he or she may deem necessary; and shall direct all departments, functions and programs of the International Union.
(e). The International President shall have general supervision and direction of the organizing efforts of this International Union. The International President shall have power to appoint organizers, representatives, coordinators and organizing committees and to make such loans or grant such subsidies to Local Unions and affiliated bodies as he or she deems necessary.
(f). Consistent with the programs and policies adopted by the SEIU Convention delegates, the International President shall be empowered to negotiate and enter into national, regional, or areawide collective bargaining agreements, including companywide or multiemployer agreements, and to coordinate activities toward this end in consultation with the Local Unions involved, and is authorized to require and direct coordinated bargaining among Local Unions. An industry division of the International Union also may recommend to the International President situations in which coordinated bargaining is warranted or where a comprehensive unionwide strategy of employer relations is needed for key strategic global, national or regional employers. Accordingly, the industry divisions shall develop a process to identify such circumstances and in each case, the proposed structure for carrying out the decision-making (including membership authorization for strike action and membership voting on contract ratification), and the financing of the bargaining process itself. The division’s recommendation shall address whether there is a need for the delegation of bargaining authority to the International Union or to a national or regional bargaining committee, appointed by the International President. The affected locals shall pay for the expenses of their participation after their input into the elements of such financing.
(g). The International President shall be empowered to employ necessary staff and retain counsel, accountants and other professional personnel as he or she may require to assist in the duties of the office and to fix their compensation. He or she shall be empowered to fix the compensation of the International Executive Vice Presidents. With respect to the office of International Vice President and International Executive Board member, the International Executive Board has phased out salary entitlements and is authorized to adopt an alternative compensation policy that recognizes any financial hardship on locals by this change in policy, as well as additional responsibilities that may be assigned to particular individuals.
(h). The International President shall have authority to interpret this Constitution and Bylaws and decide on all points of law submitted to him or her by Local Unions or the membership thereof, or by affiliated bodies, subject to appeal to the International Executive Board, and the next Convention.
The Power of the President includes:
Presiding at SEIU Conventions...
Being a Tie-Breaker...
Supervising and directing the affairs...
To appoint union sales- people, reps and others, as well as to spend the union's money...
To negotiate contracts...
(does or does this NOT include the consent of the members?)...
To hire staff AND to set their salaries...
Interpreting the constitution and deciding all points of law...
Article XVII TRIALS AND APPEALS
PREAMBLE. In order to ensure members’ protection from the filing of frivolous charges, the following procedures shall apply:
Section 1. Local Unions, their officers or members, and officers of any affiliated body, and officers of the International Union, as the case may be, may be charged with:
(Whenever used in this Article, the term “Local Union” shall include any affiliated body or Local Union chartered by this International Union.)
(1) Violation of any specific provision of this Constitution or of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Local Union; (2) Violation of an oath of office; (3) Gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member; (4) If an officer, gross inefficiency which might hinder and impair the interests of the International Union or the Local Union; (5) Financial malpractice; (6) Engaging in corrupt or unethical practices or racketeering; (7) Advocating or engaging in dual unionism, including but not limited to aiding a rival labor organization, or secession in violation of Article XXV; (8) Violation of democratically and lawfully established rules, regulations, policies or practices of the International Union or of the Local Union, including democratically and lawfully established rules, regulations, policies and practices of the International Union’s Industry Divisions, subject to their approval by the International Executive Board. (9) The wrongful taking or retaining of any money, books, papers or any other property belonging to the International Union or Local Union; or the wrongful destruction, mutilation or erasure of any books, records, bills, receipts, vouchers, or other property of the International Union or the Local Union; (10) Working as a strikebreaker or violating wage or work standards established by the International Union or a Local Union; and (11) The bringing of false charges against a member or officer without good faith or with malicious intent.
WHAT YOU CAN BE PUT ON TRIAL FOR...
Violating ANY provision of the SEIU's constitution or local bylaws
Gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member
Advocating "dual unionism" or attempting to secede the union
Working as a strikebreaker (i.e., crossing a picket line)
Section 8. Subject to the provisions of applicable statutes, every Local Union or member or officer thereof or officer of the International Union against whom charges have been preferred and disciplinary action taken as a result thereof or who claims to be aggrieved as a result of adverse rulings or decisions rendered, agrees, as a condition of membership or affiliation and the continuation of membership or affiliation, to exhaust all remedies provided for in the Constitution and Bylaws of the International Union and the Local Union and further agrees not to file or prosecute any action in any court, tribunal or other agency until those remedies have been exhausted.
As a member, you CANNOT go outside the union until you've exhausted all its internal remedies.
To download a (PDF) copy of the SEIU's International Constitution, with highlighted text for easy referral, go here.
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