SEIU’s Sexual Harassment Scandal

While so much attention is being focused on the allegations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, there’s another sexual harassment scandal that is not getting anywhere near as much coverage. That scandal is at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a major campaign supporter of Democrats, and its Fight for $15 campaign.

SEIU, which is composed of janitors, security guards, child care workers, government employees, grad students, and adjunct professors, among others, is one of the largest unions in the country; its Fight for $15 campaign advocates for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The scandal began with allegations against Scott Courtney, formerly an SEIU Executive Vice President. Seven SEIU staffers accused Courtney of having sexual relationships with young staffers who were then promoted. Just last month, Courtney married an SEIU staffer. Furthermore, “more than a dozen current and former staffers … said complaints about top-level staff on the Fight for $15 were an open secret.” They also alleged “that complaints about abusive behavior by organizers who reported to top strategist Courtney led to no action.” Amidst an investigation, Courtney resigned from the SEIU late last month.

The Washington Free Beacon talked to a former Fight for $15 organizer. She spoke of the “the broad environment of misogyny at [the union],” and stated that she had “personally experienced sexual harassment from two people in supervisory positions.” The organizer claimed that, although she reported her harassers to human resources, it did not seem to accomplish much. Speaking of one of the harassers, she said, “His behavior didn’t change. He had an attitude of entitlement and misogyny and the feeling he could get away with really egregious comments.”

Caleb Jennings, who led SEIU’s Fight for $15 campaign in Chicago, was fired late last month. Jennings was accused of creating a toxic work environment and having a “sexist and aggressive” attitude. Over a year ago, 50 staffers signed a letter urging his firing. Included in the letter was an allegation that he had shoved a staffer into a doorframe and subsequently fired her. That former staffer, who is also an immigrant, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB found that she was wrongly fired and awarded her $20,000 in back pay. She declined to take her old job back and stated, “I wouldn’t want to work for someone who assaulted me.” If the allegations against Jennings are true, it is unclear how he managed to keep a job at all, particularly one at an organization that claims to fight for workers’ rights.

Although no explanations have been provided publicly, two other Fight for $15 leaders have recently left their jobs. Mark Raleigh, who led the Detroit chapter of Fight for $15, was fired; and Kendall Fells resigned earlier this month. Fells departure is notable because he was the national organizing director for Fight for $15 and was a leading spokesman for the campaign.

After the latest departures, an SEIU spokeswoman stated the following. “These personnel actions are the culmination of this stage of the investigation which brought to light the serious problems related to abusive behavior towards staff, predominantly female staff.”

What makes the scandal even worse is the Fight for $15 campaign’s hypocrisy. On its website, the campaign asserts that “four in ten women working in fast food restaurants deal with sexual harassment on the job… This has to stop. WE have to stop it.” Yet, while the campaign was busy crusading against sexual harassment in fast food restaurants, it was ignoring serious problems in its own organization.

It is good that SEIU is finally decided to investigate its scandal and admit that it has had “serious problems,” but the union is still rather late in arriving at this conclusion. Because SEIU’s sexual harassment scandal was so widespread and reached so high into the organization, the Department of Labor should investigate to see whether any dues money from hard-working SEIU members was used to buy the silence of sexual harassment victims.

While so much attention is being focused on the allegations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, there’s another sexual harassment scandal that is not getting anywhere near as much coverage. That scandal is at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a major campaign supporter of Democrats, and its Fight for $15 campaign. SEIU, which is composed […]

Where Does SEIU Find These People?

SEIU finally fired Caleb Jennings, a lead organizer who was accused of creating a toxic work environment and having a “sexist and aggressive” attitude. Over a year ago, 50 staffers signed a letter urging his firing. Included in the letter was an allegation that he had shoved a staffer into a doorframe and subsequently fired her. That former staffer, who is also an immigrant, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB found that she was wrongly fired and awarded her $20,000 in back pay. She declined to take her old job back and stated, “I wouldn’t want to work for someone who assaulted me.”Jennings’ firing follows the resignation of SEIU’s executive vice president amidst allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

SEIU finally fired Caleb Jennings, a lead organizer who was accused of creating a toxic work environment and having a “sexist and aggressive” attitude. Over a year ago, 50 staffers signed a letter urging his firing. Included in the letter was an allegation that he had shoved a staffer into a doorframe and subsequently fired […]

SEIU Allows Sexual Harassment?

Two SEIU staffers allege that an SEIU boss, Executive Vice President Scott Courtney, did nothing when SEIU supervisors were accused of sexual harassment and abuse. The two staffers, along with five others, also accuse Courtney of having sexual relationships with young staffers who were then promoted. “The complaints about Courtney had been an open secret among women in the high-profile Fight for $15 campaign within the union…” Finally, amidst an investigation, Courtney resigned.

Two SEIU staffers allege that an SEIU boss, Executive Vice President Scott Courtney, did nothing when SEIU supervisors were accused of sexual harassment and abuse. The two staffers, along with five others, also accuse Courtney of having sexual relationships with young staffers who were then promoted. “The complaints about Courtney had been an open secret […]

Above the Law

SEIU believes it should be above the law — state laws against discrimination, to be specific. Incredibly, the union tried telling a panel of federal appeals court judges that it should not be subject to a state law against bias. In other words, SEIU thinks that if it discriminates against one of its members, the state shouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Unfortunately for the union, the judges ruled last month that SEIU is subject to the law.

Of course, SEIU, always eager to spend its members’ money, decided to petition for a rehearing of the case, but SEIU’s petition was denied. Here’s a thought for SEIU: rather than spend so much money on lawyers to argue that the union should be exempt from the law, why doesn’t SEIU just make sure it doesn’t discriminate against its members?

SEIU believes it should be above the law — state laws against discrimination, to be specific. Incredibly, the union tried telling a panel of federal appeals court judges that it should not be subject to a state law against bias. In other words, SEIU thinks that if it discriminates against one of its members, the […]

SEIU-Backed Group Uses Hurricane to Raise Money

SEIU has given over a million dollars to the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a liberal group looking “to organize low-income communities of color.” After Hurricane Harvey struck, the organization saw an opportunity to vacuum up relief funds from donors. One of the services it planned to provide to hurricane victims was “advocacy.” But while it was raising money, it claimed not to know exactly how it was going to spend the money and said it wouldn’t know “until after the floods recede.”

The group also promised to be transparent. We’ll have to wait and see, but given SEIU’s huge role in funding the outfit and given SEIU’s staunch opposition to transparency, it seems unlikely that promise will be kept.

It all seems just a bit shady. If this group really wants to raise money to launch angry protests against businesses or governments struggling to deal with a massive disaster, then why not just be upfront about it? Maybe because they’re worried it would hurt fundraising.

In the future, if some random group you’ve never heard of is suddenly interested in doing relief work after a natural disaster, you might just want to steer clear of them and give your money elsewhere.

 

 

SEIU has given over a million dollars to the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a liberal group looking “to organize low-income communities of color.” After Hurricane Harvey struck, the organization saw an opportunity to vacuum up relief funds from donors. One of the services it planned to provide to hurricane victims was “advocacy.” But while it […]

Congress: End Medicaid Funding for SEIU

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the nation’s largest unions, has been filling its coffers with Medicaid dollars for years. With the help of Democrat politicians, SEIU has been raking in tens of millions of dollars each year by skimming dues off the top of Medicaid checks sent to personal care assistants, who care for Medicaid recipients in their homes. Congress should act swiftly to end this diversion of taxpayer funds.

Typically, unions are paid to negotiate and enforce contracts between employees and management. But with personal care assistants, having a union makes little sense. Personal care assistants are “employed” by the person they care for – often their own child, or another relative, or a friend. Personal care assistants do not work for the state or the federal government. And it’s not like SEIU sits down with each Medicaid patient and bargains with them over smoking breaks, time off, and benefits on behalf of each personal care assistant. Nor does SEIU make house calls to ensure that the Medicaid beneficiary is following the contract. With SEIU doing so little for these caregivers, why should they have to pay hundreds of dollars a year in dues to the union?

Because the union has so little work to do for personal care assistants, it has more time to pursue its out-of-touch, leftist agenda. Among other things, the union supports illegal immigration, huge tax increases, and more foreign aid to fight climate change, but it has opposed well-paying construction jobs and energy jobs. Appallingly, SEIU advocated for the US government to release a Cuban spy and an unrepentant terrorist. In spite of controversy surrounding the nation’s largest abortion provider – Planned Parenthood – SEIU has continued to stand with the organization and has given it tens of thousands of dollars over the years.

The president of SEIU, Mary Kay Henry, has long been aware that the union is politically out of step with many of its members noting that 20% of the union’s members are independents and about 30% of members vote Republican. Yet, according to the Center for Union Facts, 90% of SEIU’s political expenditures at the federal level go to Democrats.

Setting politics aside, SEIU has a long record of sleazy and scandalous behavior. For example, SEIU has a policy of refusing to recognize dues opt-out forms outside of arbitrary windows of time that allows it to continue collecting dues even after a member resigns, as an Oregon woman learned.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, there have been thousands of charges filed against SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board – including over 4,200 charges of coercive actions, over 2,300 charges of coercive statements, and over 750 charges of coercion.

The media has also reported on a number of shocking allegations against the SEIU. In 2012, SEIU was accused of trying to sabotage a nursing home by mixing up the name plates of Alzheimers patients and removing stickers that indicated dietary restrictions. In 2014, SEIU stole the personal information of county government workers in California in an effort to poach union members from a rival union. In 2015, SEIU members abandoned mental patients to strike for higher wages. Last year, the Washington Examiner reported on two Minnesota women who alleged that someone forged their signature on forms authorizing SEIU dues deductions from Medicaid checks. Earlier this year, SEIU finally settled with a Texas janitorial company that the union had unfairly and maliciously attacked. The company had won a multimillion-dollar judgment against SEIU.

This rogue organization does not deserve one dime from taxpayers. Fortunately, Congress can stop this insanity by attaching a rider to the next budget prohibiting the deduction of union dues from Medicaid checks. If SEIU members find the union is valuable to them, then they can voluntarily pay dues to the union. But no one – especially the kind souls tending to the sick or elderly – should be compelled to pay dues to a union that they oppose. Given all of the dirty, despicable things that SEIU has been doing in recent years, cutting off a source of its funding should be a particularly easy decision for Congress to make.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the nation’s largest unions, has been filling its coffers with Medicaid dollars for years. With the help of Democrat politicians, SEIU has been raking in tens of millions of dollars each year by skimming dues off the top of Medicaid checks sent to personal care assistants, who […]

More SEIU Members Want to Leave

A diverse group of San Diego County employees are working to decertify the SEIU. If they succeed, over 1,100 current union members — including dispatchers working for the Sheriff’s Department, psychiatrists, epidemiologists, urban planners, and paralegals working for the public defender, the district attorney,  and the Office of Child Support — will be free of the SEIU.

One of the complaints against the union is that it won’t allow its members to vote on the contract that the county has offered. A former member of the union’s bargaining team, who is one of the leaders of the decertification effort, accused SEIU of starting negotiations with the county without any proposals. In addition, dispatchers complained that they received “little or no attention and services” from the union.

If these SEIU members vote to leave their union, they would join hundreds of other government employees in San Diego County who have voted to leave the SEIU between last year and this year. City employees in Chula Vista were unhappy “with the quality of SEIU’s advocacy … and the expertise of the union’s representatives.” School district employees who serve the cities of San Diego and Poway were also displeased with the SEIU and voted to leave.

If SEIU is doing such a great job of representing its members’ interests, then why are so many of its members unhappy with its work and why do so many members want to leave the union?

 

A diverse group of San Diego County employees are working to decertify the SEIU. If they succeed, over 1,100 current union members — including dispatchers working for the Sheriff’s Department, psychiatrists, epidemiologists, urban planners, and paralegals working for the public defender, the district attorney,  and the Office of Child Support — will be free of the SEIU. One of […]

SEIU Staff Union Slams SEIU Bosses

The staff union at an SEIU local wrote a scathing letter about the local’s leadership. The letter, which was sent to SEIU’s board, raises serious questions about the competence and work ethic of SEIU bosses.

As the region’s largest public employee union prepares to strike, Service Employees International Union Local 221 is itself coming under attack for the way it treats its own employees.

“It is the literal definition of hypocrisy to allow poor treatment of our members while demanding better for your members,” Communications Workers of America, Local 9509 wrote in letter to SEIU’s board.

CWA represents rank-and-file workers at SEIU 221’s headquarters, and its Aug. 18 letter details a series of concerns its members have with SEIU, ranging from a shortage of office supplies to managers who have short workdays...

The letter warned that inadequacies among that union’s leaders are so pervasive they have harmed negotiations for a new contract for county employees. It warned that some of the members the union represents will likely try to cut their ties with SEIU…

There is rapid employee turnover, and Local 221’s president, David Garcias, “struggles to maintain adequate staffing levels with competent staff,” the letter said…

CWA also criticized how SEIU ran the vote that authorized the strike, and said that membership rosters were poorly designed and caused delays at voting booths, and that ballot boxes were left at work or taken home by members.

 

 

 

 

The staff union at an SEIU local wrote a scathing letter about the local’s leadership. The letter, which was sent to SEIU’s board, raises serious questions about the competence and work ethic of SEIU bosses. As the region’s largest public employee union prepares to strike, Service Employees International Union Local 221 is itself coming under […]

SEIU Forces Its Members to Dress Up

SEIU is more concerned with preserving its own power than it is with letting its members dress more comfortably. When San Diego County sent around an email informing its employees that they could wear casual clothes throughout the work week rather than just on Fridays, SEIU responded by filing a complaint against the county. As a result, SEIU members have had to dress up Mondays through Thursdays while non-unionized county employees can dress casually those four days. Presumably, SEIU members are thrilled that their dues money is being spent to deprive them of their choice of what to wear to work.

SEIU is more concerned with preserving its own power than it is with letting its members dress more comfortably. When San Diego County sent around an email informing its employees that they could wear casual clothes throughout the work week rather than just on Fridays, SEIU responded by filing a complaint against the county. As a […]

SEIU Lobbies for Lousy Legislation

The California legislature is currently considering legislation which would make it nearly impossible for most county governments to hire companies and nonprofits to deliver public services. The bill, AB 1250, was introduced by a former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) boss, and SEIU is one of its chief proponents.

Why does SEIU care about the manner in which local governments deliver services to their residents? Because it has thousands of members who work for county governments, and SEIU would like to keep them and their dues money.

The bill would require that contracts save money, which sounds reasonable enough. But then the bill stacks the deck against contractors by adding unnecessary costs to contracts. County governments would be required to perform cost-benefit analyses, conduct environmental reviews, provide orientation to the employees of contractors, and perform annual audits. The legislation would also mandate that contracts must not displace any current government employees or even cause them to lose hours; and it would make counties liable for contractors’ labor law violations. So you see why it would be so difficult for counties to contract out – and these are just some of the bill’s provisions.

SEIU ridiculously claims that AB 1250 is “common sense” and will protect taxpayers and county services while increasing accountability and transparency. It further claims that “counties are protesting basic, commonsense standards of good governance that the State of California… abide[s] by already.” But this is not the case; the bill’s requirements for counties and their contractors are more burdensome than those currently imposed on the state and its contractors.

To help make its case for the bill, SEIU warns of the dangers of contracting out: “Bribery, corruption, sweetheart contracts, and hidden costs are an inevitable risk when governments contract out.” Of course, the union fails to note that those same risks are present every time politicians negotiate with powerful public employee unions.

In addition to the SEIU, the bill has the support of other unions, but that’s about it. This legislation has been blasted by various newspapers, including USA Today and two of the largest newspapers in California, the Orange County Register and the San Jose Mercury News. The Mercury News called the bill “onerous” and “an ambiguous mess.” USA Today called it “an audacious, self-serving bill” and recommended the state legislature “bury” it. The Fresno Bee heaped scorn on the bill calling it a “bucket of horse slop” and a “turkey.” The California Chamber of Commerce, a wide range of nonprofits and professional and business associations, and scores of local governments also oppose the bill.

What these opponents of AB 1250 recognize is that companies and nonprofits can often provide cheaper and/or better services than government bureaucracies can. And with many localities already having difficulty with meeting the needs of their residents and meeting their pension obligations, now is not the time for this legislation.

In addition to taxpayers, some of the most disadvantaged – those living in poverty, the elderly, the homeless, domestic abuse victims, etc. – could be negatively impacted by this legislation. After all, if struggling localities can’t save money by offering services through efficient private sector contractors, then some of those services might have to be curtailed.

Furthermore, because this legislation would likely increase costs, or at least reduce savings which might otherwise be realized, it could eventually result in localities not meeting their pension obligations and many SEIU members not receiving the pensions they’ve been promised. That should be a chief concern of the union, but it isn’t for some reason.

At long last, it’s time for SEIU to recognize that local governments exist to serve the needs of residents, not to provide cushy jobs to government workers. State leaders should help teach SEIU this vital lesson by rejecting this junk legislation.

The California legislature is currently considering legislation which would make it nearly impossible for most county governments to hire companies and nonprofits to deliver public services. The bill, AB 1250, was introduced by a former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) boss, and SEIU is one of its chief proponents. Why does SEIU care about the […]