Monday, May 01, 2006

In case you haven't heard...

We've won!!!!!

That's right, folks. It was announced this afternoon, at around 5pm, that UNICCO and SEIU have signed an agreement that will allow the workers to decide whether they want a union by means of a card check recognition process. Here are the bare bones of what was decided:

  • The agreement establishes a code of conduct governing how both the employer and the union will interact with the workers during the process. Both sides agree not to interfere with workers' decision whether or not to form a union.
  • A neutral, independent organization, the American Arbitration Association, will verify the results of the process to determine whether or not a supermajority of UNICCO janitors at the University of Miami wish to form a union.
  • Once AAA has independently verified that a supermajority of 60% of the janitors working for UNICCO have signed cards saying they want to form a union with SEIU, UNICCO has agreed to recognize (on the very same day) SEIU as the janitors' union.
  • Janitors have until August 1, 2006 to demonstrate a supermajority.
  • The agreement covers 410 janitors working for UNICCO on the campus of the University of Miami and UM's Jackson Memorial Hospital.
  • The striking janitors will return to work Wednesday, May 3, 2006.
  • Zoila Mursuli, the janitor union leader who had been fired by UNICCO, will be reinstated immediately. She will receive backpay for the weeks after she was fired before her co-workers went on strike.


Anonymous said...

What have we won!

We've won the right to be called liars for spreading dubious health and safety reports, claiming they were published by the OSHA.

We've won the right to be called decetful, by arguing all along that we can't agree to a democratic vote because we'd have to withdraw our trumped up NLRB charges, but than we argree to withdraw these same charges for a card check.

We've won the right to be seen as abusive for the horrible things we made the workers do in bribing them to hunger strike with our cash.

We've won the right to begin a process which will funnel hard-earned money out of the workers very pockets to support an elite group of "socialists".

Something is certainly not right in America with this... but who cares, because we proved to the whole world that we will do ANYTHING to win!

Ambler Moss said...

what a wonderful lesson we learn once again, that it's worth fighting for what is right. It follows the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Congratulations and thanks to the workers, students and faculty members who risked and sacrificed so much to make this result possible.
Ambler Moss

Simon Evnine said...


a) No-one claimed the report was published by OSHA. Read the post, it says NCOSH.

b) It's not deceitful to agree to withdraw the charges when a remedy for them is provided by the process agreed to.

c)"Bribing them to hunger strike"??!! Have you actually talked to any of them?

d) This process will increase the workers' pay considerably over what they would have made without it. But in any case, this is a Right To Work state, and none of them will have to pay union dues if they don't want to. So, they get better salary and benefits and the choice of whether to pay dues. Are you really suggesting this is a bad deal for the workers?

Anonymous said...

a) The report was designed to, and certainly misled people into believing it was from a reputable source, the SEIU failed to mention it actually bankrolled the report to be used as a bargaining chip... it was actually a fellow blogger (an educated teacher of middle school children) that stated it was from OSHA... clear proof that anyone can be tricked.

b) it is completely deceitful to publicly refuse to a democratic vote citing these trumped-up charges, then use these same charges as a bargaining chip to get a card check (not sure how you don't follow this one). The mere fact that the SEIU did use these as a bargaining chip clearly proves the total lack of merit these charges had.

c) Did the SEIU pay these workers to hunger strike or not? Not a tough question here - the answer is yes they did. And yes - I've had conversations with more of these workers than you think.

d) unionization isn't a promise of higher pay (you'll want to make sure these workers clearly understand that when the organizers try to get these cards signed). As for not paying dues - what voice will these workers have in their workplace if they can't afford to pay the SEIU - again another thing that should be made crystal clear before they sign. The workers should understand - if you don't pay the SEIU - you get no voice in your workplace.

As for a bad deal for the workers... they get no promise of better pay or benefits than they have right now, they'll be forced to pay the dues if they want any say in their workplace - and their money will be used to pay outragous SEIU salaries (remember Andy is $250,000 a year).

Without making any typical union promises - where is the benefit?

RPE said...

Ahhh...I must give you credit for consistency in sticking to your strategy of calling everyone a liar until the bitter end. If you referring to my erroneous statement that the report was from OSHA, it was an honest misspeak, and I apologize. I'm sure my mistake did not factor into the negotiations....
First you claimed that "we" were making up these charges, now you claim that they are "trumped up" this a covert admission of wrongdoing? By the way, what you are referring to in para. 2 is called "negotiation."
Abusive? As Mr. Evnine, said, and as I have said in posts on other strings, have you actually SPOKEN to a worker (other than to tell him/her your garbage is full?)
Funneling money? Let's do the math....The amount of extra money the workers will now be making a an extra, let's say, $2.00/hr. Multiplied by, let's say they work 140 hrs. in a month =$280, minus taxes = $220. Take out the "exorbiant" union dues of, let's go expensive, $20/month. Comes out to +$200./month. Where, exactly, is the money getting funneled? Maybe it's just my "socialist" math.
As far as your last paragraph is concerned, I think that is what is great about America....that there are enough people around that WILL do anything for change when they see injustice.
P.S. I just returned my copy of "Liar, Liar" to Blockbuster, if you are interested.

RPE said...

P.S. If you'd like to speak about salaries, let's start with Steven Kletjian's (UNICCO's CEO) salary of 1.2 MILLION that he was making in 2002, while paying his workers below living wage. $250,000 is nothing to sneeze at, but it isn't 1.2 MILLION, either. Guess it's all relative, huh?

Anonymous said...


You were fooled by the "report", and others were to... the only mistake you made was to believe what the SEIU had set you up to believe... although you did in fact lie (you can say "misspeak" if it makes you feel better) - the point here is that the SEIU lied to the public in paying to have this report crafted.

Covert admission of wrongdoing? You're really spun here... filing a false charge, than using that false charge to get what you what is not really negotiation... surely you must have two wits about you to see how deceitful and slimy this is.

As for abusive - paying people to starve themselves for your own monetary gain is not only very abusive - it's just plain sick - not quite sure how you don't understand this - but I really have the feeling that you either don't want to understand, or do not have the ability to understand - because you don't really know what real abuse is.

As for your math - they already get the extra $220 per month now - $220 is more than $200 - perhaps you could have one of your students explain how $220 is more than $200 (maybe the clerk at Blockbuster could help you with this). OR are you promising these workers more money (on top of what they already gained without union membership) if they sign a card? You'll want to be very careful here - you may get sued when those promises arn't delivered.

Either you choose not to see the reality of the SEIU lies and abuse for what they are, or you don't have the ability to - but it's America - you DO have the right to live with your head in the sand...

americanpatriot said...

Anonymous: judging by your quote which I have copies below, you have never heard of the duty of fair representation which is binding on all unions. I suggest you read up on your labor law before you post on here, because judging by your posts you are woefully ignorant.

"d) unionization isn't a promise of higher pay (you'll want to make sure these workers clearly understand that when the organizers try to get these cards signed). As for not paying dues - what voice will these workers have in their workplace if they can't afford to pay the SEIU - again another thing that should be made crystal clear before they sign. The workers should understand - if you don't pay the SEIU - you get no voice in your workplace."

jacob said...

From some who was watching from Durham, N.C.--and was involved in a similar fight against UNICCO in Boston a few years ago--congratulations. It's always nice to see a victory, even when it's far away.

Anonymous said...


If you're suggesting that these workers that can't afford to pay the dues will still have a voice - you are mistaken. To vote within the SEIU is limited to those that can afford the dues only... Yes there is the a duty of fair representation (to represent), but there is no mode for these workers to change their workplace (unless they are pressured to pay).

I am hoping that the SEIU will now be forthright and honest (don't worry - I'm not holding my breath) in properly explaining how these workers who cannot afford to pay will be excluded from their union.

RPE said...

Seeing as how this will be my last post due to my increasing sense that the focus of the debate is slowly shifting away from the true purpose of this blog, allow me to briefly address each of your "points"...
Paragraph 1- Make up your mind....was I fooled, or did I lie? If I was fooled, as you claim, I was simply reporting the facts as I understood them. In fact, I WAS lying. I deviously assumed that people would ONLY obtain their facts from MY blog entry, not anticipating that they might indeed look to other sources for this information as well, and that in turn would cause the tide to shift in favor of the SEIU. Foiled again!
Paragraph 2- No surprise the end, your consistency is to be commended...let's keep a tally...myself...LIAR! Janitors...LIARS! SEIU...LIARS!...Mother Theresa...LIAR! haven't gotten that carried away yet. I'd tell you to sue the janitors for libel, but oh, that's right, THEY HAVE NOTHING!
Paragraph 3- This is simple...provide proof, otherwise, you are just blowing steam. (Incidently, the way the Miami Herald has covered the proceedings, if anything like this HAD occured, they darn well would have been on top of it by now.)
Paragraph 4- I was referencing the $220/month they recieved as a raise from the neutral University. If you then take out the $20/month I allowed for union dues, and you end up with $200/month.
Paragraph 5- If my head is in the sand, it is only because I am searching for a grain of truth in your argument. I cannot call you a liar, however, because I sincerely believe you drank the Kool-aid a long time ago, and as a result, you truly believe what you are espousing. Since carrying this any further with you would be akin to continuously beating my head against a brick wall, I bid you farewell, and genuinely hope that because of the progress that the janitors have fought so valiantly for, no one that you love or care about will ever have to endure what they have.


joey said...

dear rpe,

please don't go away. this blog will never be the same without your wit and intelligence. and who else will be left to argue with anonymous? i'm sure anonymous him/herself will miss you... but maybe you want that!!!

thanks for all. please check back once in a while.

student advocate said...

... rpe has left the building.. i mean blog.

Anonymous said...

Facing Embarrassing Loss in Employee Election to Throw Out Union, SEIU Officials Abandon Head Start
Child development workers were set to vote today, but SEIU officials walked away to avoid humiliating election defeat
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Ashtabula, OH (February 24, 2006) – Facing intense employee opposition to their monopoly bargaining status, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 officials this week abandoned all claims to represent workers at Ashtabula County Community Head Start.

Union officials informed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday that they no longer wished to represent employees at Head Start after battling an employee revolt for more than a year. The SEIU’s abandonment of Head Start comes in response to an employee-requested decertification election – which would have been held today – to throw out the unpopular union.

With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Peggy Swartzfager filed the decertification petition, signed by over 75 percent of her coworkers, in early 2005 after SEIU officials had failed for more than a year to obtain a collective bargaining agreement with Head Start. To thwart the election, union officials scrambled to reach a final agreement and filed two unfair labor practice charges against the employer. The contract was not favored by many rank-and-file workers, particularly since it included a requirement that all employees pay union dues or be fired from their jobs.

SEIU officials filed the unfair labor practice charges against Head Start in an effort to exploit NLRB procedures to obtain an indefinite postponement of the decertification election. Notwithstanding these postponement tactics, the NLRB scheduled an election for the workers for February 24.

To avoid a public relations black eye, SEIU officials disclaimed their monopoly bargaining contract before Head Start employees voted out the unwanted union, granting approximately 40 workers freedom to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment – and earn rewards based on individual merit.

“SEIU officials tucked tail and ran knowing that Head Start workers were going to vote them out,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “About to lose thousands of dollars in compulsory union dues, union officials packed up and left before these workers handed them an embarrassing election defeat.”

Under the National Labor Relations Act, if 30 percent or more of the employees in a bargaining unit sign a decertification petition, the NLRB should conduct a secret ballot election to determine if a majority of the employees wish to decertify the union and stop it from any further monopoly bargaining activities.

T said...

Whatever. Not relevant to our situation. Anonymous doesn't give a f%^& about the workers here. One should keep that in mind reading his posts.

The point of this last one, by the way, is to praise the workers' decision. I think we should do exactly that in south Florida!