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Cleveland nurses: Can you explain this? Politics, Issue 15.

Back in 1995 I met 1199 members from New York at the 'Nurses March on Washington'.

Seems this union is also in Cleveland. If you are too what do you think?


AFL-CIO revotes, endorses Issue 15


Mark Naymik

Politics Writer

A last-minute change of heart by a labor group gives the campaign for

Cuyahoga County's health and human-services tax more volunteers to call

and visit voters before Tuesday's election.

The Cleveland AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, whose members voted earlier

this month to remain neutral on the issue, last night reversed itself and

endorsed the tax. The tax appears on the ballot as Issue 15.

John Ryan, head of the

Cleveland AFL-CIO, said the

labor group is prepared to

organize union members to

persuade their co-workers

and other voters to support

the tax.

Members of the AFL-CIO's

executive committee, some

of whom individually had

already endorsed the tax,

called last night's meeting. It

marked the first time in 21

years that the committee

asked its members to

reconsider a vote, Ryan said.

He said the committee believed the tax-supported services, such as day

care for the working poor and health care services for seniors, outweighed

the reservations of the labor group.

Earlier, the Cleveland AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union

Local 1199 said they would back the tax only if county-supported health

agencies signed an agreement guaranteeing that their managements

would remain neutral during union drives. Union leaders said they didn't

want agencies spending tax dollars to fight their organizing efforts.

None of the agencies signed the agreement. As a result, SEIU launched

an aggressive campaign to convince voters that the tax dollars will be

misspent, while the AFL-CIO voted to remain on the sidelines.

During last night's closed-door meeting, the SEIU opposed the

endorsement, said union members who attended the session. More than

two-thirds of the 130 delegates supported the endorsement.

"The executive board remains united despite the differences on this issue,

and the federation will continue to work for neutrality in union organizing,"

Ryan said.

Ryan said the AFL-CIO leadership will not criticize the SEIU's campaign.

Dave Regan, leader of SEIU Local 1199, described last night's debate as

an "internal matter" and said it would not change his union's position.

© 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

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