“SEIU, The Eighth Promise, Bush Street…”

by on April 23, 2007

Dear Randy:

I read your criticism of Matt Smith’s article on the SEIU/Alliance and, while I do not disagree that SEIU and affiliated unions have done many wonderful things for low income workers and immigrants over the years, there are a few misunderstandings in your article.

1. The memo that Mr. Smith refers to is not “four years old.” In fact it was written in 2007 to provide a critique of the SEIU/nursing home Alliance agreement which is currently up for renewal – that is one of the reasons his article is timely.

2. I don’t know about Mr. Smith’s understanding of the legislative process, but I am personally very aware of the process. The SEIU/Industry reimbursement bill was not circulated for comment and critical feedback. It was greased through the legislature in a gut and amend bill in the last two weeks of the 2004 session. A bill that guaranteed billions of new dollars to the nursing home industry included no provisions to ensure that any of the new funds would increase workers salaries or improve their working conditions.

3. In fact, salaries and workers’ conditions have not improved – but workers are being offered a template agreement (crafted by the nursing home industry) that denies them the right to strike, or the right to have a say in their workplace – it basically denies them the right to collective bargaining.

I’ve marched with Sal and his members and with other locals over the years. I have great respect for many of the union workers who have dedicated their lives to this cause. And I would personally love to see every nursing home in California unionized, but not on terms dictated by the nursing home industry and not at the expense of collective bargaining.

I suggest that you take a look at the actual documents, then decide whether an alliance with the nursing home industry was a good thing in this case.

Pat McGinnis


Thanks to E. Doctor Smith for his review of The Eighth Promise and the upcoming event at the Chinese Historical Society this Thursday, April 26th at 7 PM.

And thank you for highlight the book’s cover on your Arts page/book reviews.
The CHSA event is actually a performance reading where two other artists, percussionist Layton Duong and Wilma Pang, a capella singer/anthropologist and I will explore the rhythmic and tonal dimensions of the Toisanese dialect in abstract. My readings from select parts of The Eighth Promise will focus directly to the earthliness, loudness, graphicness, and spittiness of this oft-marginalized, countrah’ variant of Big City Cantonese. Come if you can, it should be fun! Flyer with more info attached! Thanks to you both and the good “Doc” once again.

With best regards — William Poy Lee, Author


I’m a proud San Franciscan and also a proud hater of our man Dubya but to devote any time or money to such a frivolous endeavor as renaming Bush street is in my opinion ust plain irresponsible since there are so many other issues facing this great city that actually affect people’s lives and which deserve serious attention.

It should come as no surpise to you that our great city is seen in an almost laughable manner by many people in our country. san franciscans tend to get themselves involved in ridiculously silly issues that are of no importance to anyone.

Let’s start dealing with the filthy streets, the homeless epidemic, the crime and drug problems in our neighborhoods. When these issues are tackled and solutions are laid out then we can start devoting our time to vanity issues like renaming bush street.

Greg Janza

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