In a rare (and perhaps a first ever) glimpse into how today’s union bosses attempt to silence their critics, SEIU-critical blogger Perez Stern has uncovered some internal e-mails among three SEIU bigwigs, including SEIU spokeswoman Danielle Ringuette, targeting academics who signed a letter opposing the SEIU’s raid on UNITE-HERE.
What is startling are tactical terms used in the e-mail exchange, as well as the cold and calculated way these union bigs talk of targeting specific individuals.
Below is the text of the leaked e-mails, as reported on Perez Stern (with emphasis in bold italic):
From: Javier Morillo JMorillo@seiu26.org
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:18 PM
To: Jo-Ann Mort; Michelle Ringuette; Jo-Ann Mort
Subject: RE: would love to touch base with you
So here’s my thought — in addition to the general info spam they’ll be receiving from now, I suggest we send to each of these academics a brief communication that;
- Shames them just a little bit for signing onto something without knowing all the facts – subtly, of course, while also talking about the productive relationship SEIU and the labor movement have had and should have with academia. I can work on that in a way that also makes the point that theory and praxis can coexist but only when there is open, honest communication (Nothing guilt-trips an academic more than reminding them how isolated they are, in this country, from the world of policy, politics, and activism. It’s why I left).
- Gives a few key facts. I like today’s letter from Andy to Willhelm because it hits directly to the charges in their open letter.
- Most importantly, I think we should invite them to something. We say something like “we have members and leaders across the country. Please give us the opportunity to talk with you about the issues your letter brings up as well as our broader concerns about20the labor movement.” We can offer a variety of venues — one on one meetings, conference calls, etc.
Then we organize these meetings. I do think it’s important that we dedicate the time and energy to this. Get leaders and members from each state to volunteer to hold the meetings that are requested (I actually doubt few will take us up on it). It would be more work on the front end, but especially for the more prominent names maybe we have this communication signed by leaders and members from their state.
What do you think?
From: Jo-Ann Mort email@example.com
Sent: Thu 7/23/2009 7:12 AM
To: Michelle Ringuette; Jo-Ann Mort; Javier Morillo
Subject: Re: would love to touch base with you
I still think we sadly need to target Nelson in a positive way-most of these academics really are not worth it-but spamming them sounds like what they deserve!!
On 7/23/09 8:07 AM, “Michelle Ringuette” mailto:Michelle.Ringuette@seiu.org%20wrote:
And just to add in here, last night we discussed setting a few workers loose on people and lettling them call some of the academics. I know these aren’t high value targets, but I firmly believe people should not be permitted to do drive bys. They are all getting a letter this am and they all bought spot on our spam list.
Michelle A. Ringuette
Service Employees International Union
202 730 7234 w
202 341 7057 m
From: Jo-Ann Mort firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thu 23-Jul-09 3:51 AM
To: Javier Morillo
Cc: Michelle Ringuette
Subject: would love to touch base with you
hey Javier,I am in Israel until next week but I am also working for SEIU while here. Michelle mentioned that you would like to help out re the academic/lefty mess re WU and SEIU, etc-i would love that!! I can call you from Israel if you want to talk or we can talk on email. I would like to start with you writing something that i can place and then, maybe we should think about you and a couple of other SEIU/WU leaders starting to meet with academics and others on the left to talk about moving forward-in a serious fashion. I just went through that list of 200 academics on the most recent letter and most of them are labor notes types-the ones I picked out whom we need to reach out to are Nelson Lichtenstein (for better or worse…), Jack Metzgar, who is a friend of mine and Mark Levinson’s but has been hard on this topic , Andrew Ross, whom I already emailed and Andrew has worked very closely with UNITE in the past on sweatshops, and Jennifer Klein who is close to Nelson I know-and I know you
talked to her-she is also a former student of Josh Freeman’s- and why Alice Kessler Harris is on this list I don’t know-we need to get to her too-look forward to working on this with you.
Israel phone: (0)547-269-886
US phone: 718-954-0352
This may be the first time that the public is catching a glimpse of the type of war machinations that go on behind the closed doors of the SEIU’s Purple Palace. Although Perez Stern has a disclaimer on his blog, his posts, thus far, have been uncannily insightful and this one bears greater exposure.
For more information on the Service Employees International Union, go here.