The battle royale between Service Employees International Union head Andy Stern, local chapters run by Oakland labor activist Sal Rosselli, and the California Nurses Association, has entered a new and even more combative phase. Yesterday, as the Sacramento Bee reports, Stern's organization filed a federal lawsuit against Rosselli and his co-horts, accusing them of diverting membership dues into a slush fund outside the control of the national union, to "run a shadow operation off the books and they intentionally deceived their own members and the federal government about how the money would be used." In response, Rosselli told the Bee, ""The lawsuit and the PR circus around it are a hoax perpetrated on you, the press, and our members in order to smear us and shut down the Stern team's political opposition."
The two factions have come to blows over Rosselli's contention that the national union has cut sweetheart deals with nursing home managers in order to expand union membership. In addition, Rosselli has refused to carry out Stern's order to cut off payments to state labor federations, as part of SEIU's fight with CNA. Now, insiders suspect Stern seeks to place Rosselli's locals under a trusteeship, stripping them of local control.