Let the skull-cracking commence.
(WSJ) — The Service Employees International Union is planning a major campaign to recruit members and counter political pressure on public-sector unions, according to an internal union memo and an SEIU board member.
The campaign — called Fight for a Fair Economy — will focus on mobilizing mostly low-wage minority workers in 10 to 15 cities, including Cleveland, Milwaukee, Miami and Detroit, according to the memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The SEIU wants the effort to peak in the summer of 2012, with events at primaries, town-hall meetings and other campaign venues, according to the memo.
SEIU spokeswoman Inga Skippings declined to confirm that the memo reflected the final plans of the union, which has two million members, and said its strategy continues to evolve.
The cities designated for the campaign have high concentrations of SEIU members and are in states where governors have proposed cutting benefits to public-sector workers amid worries over pension costs and broader budget woes. In some of the targeted states, lawmakers are considering “right to work” legislation that would eliminate laws making union membership mandatory whenever a union is formed at an employer.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and other officers presented the plan in January to the union’s 68-member executive board at a meeting in Puerto Rico, according to the board member. The board adopted the plan, according to this person, who was present. Ms. Henry couldn’t be reached. SEIU spokeswoman Inga Skippings declined to confirm that a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal described the final version of the union’s plan, or provide spending projections.
The board member predicted the effort would cost “tens of millions” of dollars; the SEIU spent more than $70 million on the 2008 elections.