The plan comes at a moment of organizational weakness for the grass-roots left, after the community organizing group ACORN filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last year under intense conservative pressure. SEIU says they don’t plan to build a new organization on the ACORN model, but they are likely to attempt to mobilize some of the urban poor toward national politics as ACORN did, while the local remnants of ACORN continue to focus largely on local political issues.
The year “2010 came and the Democrats had no ground game! Who was registering folks to vote last year?” asked former ACORN President Bertha Lewis. “Anything that unions do that goes outside of the workplace, that’s excellent.”
The SEIU plan makes no mention of voter registration, which ACORN had conducted on a large (and — critics on both sides said, sloppy) scale for the Democratic Party.
Henry said the effort would also aim, by 2013, to focus on more traditional union organizing for SEIU, and to win rule changes that would allow for quicker union elections.