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Locals need independence

September 12, 2008

Re "The SEIU responds," Opinion, Sept. 8

Andy Stern is missing the point when he calls on every SEIU local in the country to adopt a code of ethics. What he should do instead is empower executive boards at

SEIU locals by allowing members to elect truly independent executive boards.

Most local presidents handpick their executive boards, which then become rubber stamps. This makes a mockery of unions being democratic institutions.

It appears that this was the problem with these locals. Independent executive boards with real power are desperately needed to end this corruption.

In addition, the allegedly corrupt officers should be criminally prosecuted. Merely reimbursing the money will not do.

Mr. Stern, get serious about rooting out corruption at these locals. Your members

deserve no less.

Salvador Sanchez

Los Angeles


I have been an SEIU Local 347 member for about 19 years, and I am very puzzled

by brother Andy Stern's attempt at addressing corruption and ethical lapses in the

union. Selecting local leaders, instead of electing local leaders, is what got us into this mess in the first place.

"Selecting" even more people is not the answer. The answer is called union democracy.

As in: open, honest and fair elections, free from rigging, interference and bias funding.

I am particularly dismayed that brother Stern would keep trying to go after democratically operated United Healthcare Workers-West while his "selected" leaders damage the whole American labor movement, right under his nose. What would have happened if the media had not investigated and uncovered these alleged misdeeds?

Until we know just how far up this lack of integrity goes, any investigation by any

"selected" commission should not be directed away from higher SEIU officials, but

should go wherever the facts and evidence lead. Period.

Dan Mariscal

Steward, SEIU Local 347


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