Court Ruling Could Cost SEIU

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Mark Janus is a public employee in Illinois, who is suing the union for compelling him to pay “agency fees” to AFSCME in spite of the fact that he is not a member and does not support the organization.

Just last year, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court split 4-4 in the Friedrichs case, which was very similar to the Janus case. Scalia’s replacement, Justice Neil Gorsuch, is widely expected to side with the justices who opposed forcing public employees to pay fees to unions to keep their jobs. If the Court does rule that way, the effect would be similar to passing a National Right to Work Act for the public sector.

If the predictions about the Court’s ruling are correct, SEIU is likely to lose both members and revenue. After all,  over half of SEIU’s members are public employees, according to the union’s website. The main question is how much will SEIU lose, but unions are expecting a sizeable effect. “Unions that operate in both ‘right to work’ and ‘fair share’ states say the shift could drive down membership by 15 percent to 30 percent.”

The experience of states that have passed Right to Work legislation (that applied to public sector employees) over the past few decades might provide some clues as to what the impact of Janus could be. In 1985, Idaho passed Right to Work legislation. Five years later, public employee union membership in Idaho had fallen 1.5 percentage points (from 19.8% to 18.3%). In 2001, Oklahoma enacted a Right to Work law. Public employee union membership over the next five years declined 1.5 percentage points in that state also (from 20.2% to 18.7%). In 2012, Michigan passed Right to Work legislation. The changes in Michigan were significantly larger, perhaps due to the fact that the public employee union membership rate was much higher than the rates had been in Idaho and Oklahoma. Over the next four years (The 2017 union membership numbers are not yet available.), public union membership dropped 8 percentage points (from 54.3% to 46.3%) in that state.

As a result of the Janus decision, SEIU’s political allies are likely to lose as well. For example, a recent study of neighboring counties found that Right to Work laws have a significant impact on election results and campaign finance.

“Comparing counties on either side of a state and right-to-work border to causally identify the eff ects of the state laws, we find right-to-work laws reduce Democratic presidential vote shares by 4-6 percentage points. We fi nd similar e ffects in US Senate, US House, and gubernatorial races, as well as state legislative control… right-to-work laws dampen labor campaign contributions to Democrats… In states with RTW laws, the total share of campaign contributions owing from unions falls by about 1.25 percentage points following the passage of RTW laws. The share of overall contributions collected by Democratic candidates also falls signifi cantly following the enactment of RTW laws. Democrats thus appear unable to replace union funding from other sources and they raise and spend less money after RTW laws pass.”

In addition, both union members and union bosses are likely to see financial changes as a result of the Court’s ruling.  According to the Heritage Foundation, “Union financial reports reveal that they charge workers roughly 10 percent higher dues and pay their full-time top officers $20,000 more annually in states with compulsory dues.” So without compulsory dues, public employee union members might well see smaller amounts of dues being deducted from their checks, and highly-compensated union bosses might well see slightly smaller paychecks.

More than likely, big changes are in store for SEIU starting next year. Perhaps the Court’s ruling will finally force SEIU to take the political views of its members more seriously and not simply pursue whatever agenda SEIU’s bosses favor. And, perhaps, after years of ignoring and  repeatedly disrespecting its members, SEIU will feel compelled to be more responsive to them.

 

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Mark Janus is a public employee in Illinois, who is suing the union for compelling him to pay “agency fees” to AFSCME in spite of the fact that he is not a member and […]

Just When You Thought It Was Over

Over the past several weeks, four officials with SEIU or its Fight for $15 campaign have resigned or been fired amidst an investigation into sexual harassment at the union. But, apparently, those four weren’t the only individuals facing sexual harassment allegations.

Now another former SEIU staffer has accused an SEIU organizer, Pedro Malave, of harassing her. One incident is alleged to have happened prior to their employment with SEIU. On another occasion, while they both worked for SEIU, Malave is alleged to have sexually assaulted her while she slept.

After the alleged assault, the accuser was disappointed with the union’s response. While Malave finally left the SEIU local, the union refused to say whether he had been fired. Furthermore, he later showed up working for a group that SEIU funded. Subsequently, he worked for two other SEIU locals.

At his latest SEIU local, he worked with immigrant women, which understandably concerned his accuser.

“My fear is that he has continued his predator behavior… It doesn’t seem like he is going to stop, so my fear is that he is working with undocumented women, women who cannot speak English, women who are not going to come forward out of fear, and they are basically his ideal prey.”

For the longest time, SEIU did not share her concerns.

When SEIU was questioned about the rehiring of the alleged perpetrator, it tried to deny all responsibility. “‘You need to contact the local unions you reference in your email,’ wrote [SEIU spokesperson Sahar] Wali. ‘The [International Union] doesn’t hire staff for local unions.'” This excuse is particularly weak given SEIU’s crusade to make franchisors, like McDonald’s, responsible for the decisions made by franchisees.

Only after these latest allegations were published, did Malave’s latest SEIU local finally decide to fire him — over three years after another SEIU local was told that he had sexually assaulted his coworker. Even now, given the record, there is a chance that an organization linked to SEIU will hire Malave once again.

Over the past several weeks, four officials with SEIU or its Fight for $15 campaign have resigned or been fired amidst an investigation into sexual harassment at the union. But, apparently, those four weren’t the only individuals facing sexual harassment allegations. Now another former SEIU staffer has accused an SEIU organizer, Pedro Malave, of harassing her. […]

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 […]