Monday, March 25, 2013

"David Rolf: The man who would make unions matter again"

"David Rolf, president of the state's powerful service employees union for health care workers, has a lonely job as one of the few labor leaders in the country to call for major changes in the way unions do business." 

Tyrone Beason (Seattle Times):
ONE DAY when David Rolf was a kid growing up in Cincinnati, his grandfather, a man with an eighth-grade education who'd worked at a General Motors plant in Ohio and read little more than the Bible, Reader's Digest and the United Auto Workers' Solidarity newsletter, posed a simple but important question. "Do you know why I have all this?" he said, looking around the house he'd bought with the income from his union job. Rolf thought the answer was because the powerful UAW had fought to secure good wages for its members. But his grandfather added a twist. "Because I walked a picket line three times," he answered finally. "What that taught me was that the union is the workers," Rolf says. The lesson seems obvious. But Rolf, president of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union for health-care workers, and current international vice president of SEIU, knows that unions today don't always act that way. MORE...

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