SEIU local eyes Midwest organizing push

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One of the largest private-sector union locals, which represents janitors and service employees in the Midwest, this year will try aggressively to unionize the region’s security officers and workers at airports and universities, according to an internal document obtained by The Washington Times.

The 46,000-member Service Employees International Union’s Local 1 will “tap into anger” about inequality to ramp up advocacy, and tap into the nation’s security concerns by christening 2013 a “Year of Security,” pushing to organize guards and airport workers.

“Security officers in Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit and Indianapolis are organizing to join our union. These workers are part of a growing movement of security officers from Philadelphia to Detroit to Portland who are joining together,” according to Local 1’s 2013 Strategic Plan.

Don Loos, a Department of Labor official under George W. Bush who now works for National Right to Work Committee, said the union “is clearly stating that it wants to become a major part of airport security.”

“This is an organization that does not want people to be checked for citizenship, and they are organizing airport security These are political payback, not people looking out for the safety of airport personnel and passengers.”

According to the plan, the SEIU local also will wage an all-out war on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, even as it takes credit for helping re-elect Mr. Obama.

“In Chicago, we face a critical fight for good jobs with ‘Democratic’ Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This past year, Mayor Emanuel eliminated more than 400 family-sustaining jobs in Chicago, leaving hundreds of our members out of work, or earning significantly less with inferior benefits,” it said.

The union plans to “run targeted, aggressive electoral campaigns at the city and county level in our markets; and continue to wage a robust City of Chicago campaign aimed at passing the Responsible Bidders Ordinance,” referring to a Chicago proposal that would allow only companies paying union-level wages to bid for city contracts.

It has already earmarked a half-million dollars for attacking Mr. Emanuel, including opposition research.

“For the first time in our local’s history, all 11 of our master janitorial contracts expired in a single year in the midst of a presidential election cycle. We faced these challenges with unprecedented coordination and planning, and this paid off And our members played a significant role in helping secure President Obama’s re-election,” it said.

The union this year will this “increase the union’s lobbying efforts by increasing the number of Member Political Organizers.”

The unit representing “residential” employees such as doormen and homeowners’ association employees will “engage” employers who go nonunion “by any means necessary” in downtown areas, but will be more likely to stand back elsewhere.

“Throughout 2013, we will continue to restore balance to our economy by waging aggressive and effective campaigns that shrink the growing gap between the richest 1% and everyone else,” it said.

The local’s president, Thomas Balanoff, makes $232,000, according to the most recent disclosures, and 13 other executives make more than $100,000.

The local spent $770,000 on political activities and lobbying in 2011.

“We once again plan to make our contract fights and organizing campaigns — this year in security — large public battles highlighting the growing economic divide in our society,” union leaders wrote to members.

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