This piece from the Washington Post may be old news to our readers, but it was a new idea – and more importantly – new practice to me.
With two like-minded unions, the clothing-and-laundry UNITE and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (soon to become one union, UNITE-HERE, next month), the SEIU is embarking on a campaign to organize such multi-service global companies as Sodexho, Aramark and Compass Group — corporations that provide food, laundry and janitorial services in ballparks, schools and hospital cafeterias, as well as in Iraq. Combined, the three companies employ 1.1 million people globally and 330,000 in the United States. Sodexho has 110,000 workers in the United States, and the three unions are putting up $10 million and 80 organizers and researchers to unionize it. But the battle won’t only be fought stateside. In conjunction with unions in Europe, says the SEIU’s Tom Woodruff, who is running the campaign, “We are working for agreements in more than one country.” The U.S. unions seek company-wide recognition, while unions in, say, Britain, want access to Sodexho’s list of workers.
Companies have been global a long time. Why have labor unions remained national?