Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century
Chapter 4. The Globalising of the Justice for Janitors Movement
· 4 · the globalising of the justice for janitors movement The impact of the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Justice for Janitors (JFJ) campaign has been perhaps the most powerful symbol of union resistance to GFA over the past 30 years. Pioneering what its proponents re- gard as a more sophisticated and powerful model of union organising, JFJ has morphed into a global organising format that has led the SEIU to build global partnerships with unions in 25 nation-states as well as with the Global Union Federation (GUF) ITU (Forman, 2013a). The reasoning behind this is simple and was expressed by former SEIU president Andy Stern who argued that to fight globalised capital, unions had to go global and build alliances with each other around the world (Aguiar & Ryan, 2009). And this, in essence, is what the SEIU have tried to do. The success of the SEIU model of organising has been built around a multi-layered strategy that places the struggle for workers on different planes: media, workplace and civil society. Andy Banks goes so far as to argue that the SEIU broke all the rules of organising and became a hybrid organisation, part union and part community group (Banks, 1991, p. 17). As we noted in chap- ter two, the public realm that most workers inhabit, particularly in urban ar- eas, has become a site of continual corporate propaganda whether in everyday forms such as advertising, newspapers and television or as manifested in the 108 worker resistance and media spread...
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