Thursday, April 10, 2008
SEIU Endorses Schauer
Last month, both Mark Schauer and Sharon Renier competed for the endorsement of the SEIU Michigan State Council. SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, represents nearly 80,000 workers in Michigan in health care, state and local government, and building services. These aren't the flashy people who get all the headlines. These are the people who actually work for a living, making the essential services we rely on actually work.
Both Schauer and Renier participated in the "Walk A Day In My Shoes" program, in which each of them spent a work day alongside actual SEIU members, doing their jobs alongside them. In their press releases for each candidate's working experience, SEIU writes:
"Our decision to endorse a Congressional candidate will come directly from our members in the workplace," said Phil Thompson, SEIU Michigan State Council president and executive vice president of SEIU Local 517M. "SEIU members want to know that people running for office understand what it's like to do their jobs and walk a day in their shoes."Schauer spent his day in Adrian alongside Annette Freeman, a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Lenawee Medical Care Facility. Renier spent her day working with Denise Mazuk, a home care worker who cares for the elderly in the Battle Creek area.
Ultimately, the SEIU Michigan State Council chose to endorse Schauer. In their announcement, they explain:
Congratulations to Senator Schauer for the endorsement, and thank you to both Mark Schauer and Sharon Renier for taking the time to seek this endorsement. Thank you for choosing to spend time with the people whose lives you will affect should either of you be elected to Congress.
Which brings me to something from their announcement, which I find very telling:
To obtain the SEIU endorsement, Schauer and his opponent in the Democratic primary went through a multistep, member-driven process that included filling out a questionnaire on issues important to members and their families, participating in a candidate “meet and greet” with members and taking part in a “Walk A Day In My Shoes” event, where candidates spent a day working side-by-side with SEIU members. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), the incumbent Congressman in the 7th District, did not respond to the SEIU’s invitation to participate in the endorsement process.(Emphasis added.)
I know that SEIU is a union, and Congressman Walberg is a Republican, so the odds were slim to start with. But wouldn't it have been nice to see our representative choose to work alongside the men and women he represents, and try to convince their union that he really can bring about positive change? Even if it was a lost cause, that kind of effort would have meant a lot to me and to a lot of other people.
I suppose Walberg enjoys the company of his friends in the Club for Growth more.
Tim Walberg is openly hostile to the existence of unions. He does not believe in the Constitution's guaranteed right of association. He believes that right ends at the factory door(or hospital, or wherever else we work) and he believes a business owner has every right to do whatever they want. I'd bet he is opposed to minimum wages, overtime pay and many of the other benefits secured for us by the unions of old.
Walberg's snubbing of the unions is no suprise. The sad thing is, the unions had a friend when Joe Schwarz was our congressperson and we blew it. Now we are left with no other option but to rally behind Schauer and try to take a pretty conservative district over with a very liberal candidate.
You hit the nail on the head. Schwarz was not a fan of unions, but understood and respected them and worked hard to keep laborers employed. He went to bat for AMTRAK workers, Kellogg workers and many other local workers. Schwarz may not have been "pro-union" but he was certainly pro-labor and stood up for the working class on many occasions.Post a Comment
Walberg on the other hand is an elitist and pawn of the plutocrats. If every worker who's job was on the line voted in 06, Schwarz would still be in office.
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