Wednesday, January 27, 2010

News from the US

Such is the wonder of the internet that, lying in my sick bed, I can get news from half way round the world about workers reclaiming trade unionism for the principle that the workers should lead, rather than be led.

The new National Union of Healthcare Workers in the US (to which my attention was drawn recently by a UNISON colleague to whom, in deference to his career prospects, I shall anonymise my hat tip) broke away from our sister union the Service Employees International Union in a dispute (at least in part) about trade union democracy.

US trade unionists have to vote periodically for which trade union will represent them in contract negotiations with the employer, and it would appear that the NUHW have just won a small but significant victory in such an election.

UNISON is rightly trying to learn what positive things we can from the SEIU approach to organising – let’s hope we are not trying to learn about union democracy at the same time…

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