New York Dissident on Corruption

The following is an excerpt of a letter-to-the-editor by Paul Pamias, Service Employees Int’l Union Local 32B-32J in N.Y., that appeared in the Aug. 9 edition of Business Week:

“[T]he house of labor is still much in need of improvement. Continuing labor scandals, such as those at New York City’s AFSCME DC37 and my local, SEIU 32B-32J, are a union buster’s dream come true. Laborcrats, with their penthouses, junkets, executive board secrets and lack of financial accountability, make us easy targets.

Many companies have captive-audience meetings of their employees. The union-avoidance specialists that they hire know how to spin this fact to their advantage. What is ironic is that nonunion employees can openly discuss union corruption and are able to learn a great deal, real or imagined, at such meetings.

Indictments, convictions and negative coverage of labor in the media is never officially discussed with members of the rank and file. Union meetings, publications and websites usually ignore corruption or give sanitized versions of events. These actions can only alienate loyal union members… The lack of rank-and file democracy is the real organizing problem.”