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 […]

New York AG Colludes with SEIU Frontman on Press Release

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against Papa Johns, cites SEIU Fast Food Forward front man Kendall Fells in press release

The SEIU has been working heavily to mandate unionization through “workers centers,” shell organizations funded by the union, to organize new members in a legal grey area. One such group, Fast Food Forward, has well documented ties to the SEIU and has worked as an organizing arm to push the union’s agenda. So it should not come as any surprise that former SEIU Representative and Fast Food Forward director Kendall Fells is involved with a lawsuit against a fast food chain. What is surprising is that he is so involved with the suit the New York Attorney General actually quotes Fells in a press release from their office (emphasis original):

“Fast-food workers all across the city and country are organizing for higher pay and union rights,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fast Food Forward. “This suit shows why their campaign is so important. And it shows that Attorney General Schneiderman is serious about holding fast-food companies accountable for wage theft. Workers who make the minimum wage, or the even lower tipped minimum, cannot afford to have their employers stealing from their paychecks.”

Our blog has previously covered Kendall Fells’ strategy (and by extension that of the SEIU), leaked in a video posted online, to make the “fight for 15” minimum wage issue actually about unionization. Fells’ quote fits perfectly with his earlier statement, using minimum wages as a front to get access to employee’s pocketbooks through their mandatory dues checks.

But there is a serious ethical concern not only with Fells’ true motives, but with the amount of collusion between himself and the New York AG department:

If Fells was part of the AG’s investigative team and privy to legal actions before they became public, this taints the investigation with the stench of labor union organizing politics.

Unfortunately, the press release issued by the state’s Attorney General announcing a lawsuit and including an advocacy group’s comment lead a reasonable person to believe that there was collusion which may not have been lawful or ethical.

To say this press release stinks of collusion and shady lobbying between an SEIU front group and a legal office is an understatement. Towards that end, Americans for Limited Government is filing a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request seeking communications between Fells and the New York AG office. We will be keeping this blog updated with any findings from the inquiry.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against Papa Johns, cites SEIU Fast Food Forward front man Kendall Fells in press release The SEIU has been working heavily to mandate unionization through “workers centers,” shell organizations funded by the union, to organize new members in a legal grey area. One such group, Fast Food […]

SEIU to Protest Fast Food with Illegal Acts Thursday

Service Employees International Union backed Fast Food Forward and SEIU’s Fight for 15 plan a protest strike/walkout, illegal acts Thursday, September 4

15-minimum-wage-replacementThe Service Employees International Union and Fast Food Forward is targeting fast food companies like McDonalds and Burger King with illegal acts, escalating their efforts in their “Fight for 15” $15 minimum wage campaign.  In the lead up to tomorrow’s protest, one worker told The Guardian that the union adopted a motion to do “whatever it takes” to achieve their goal:

“Thirteen-hundred workers unanimously adopted a resolution at our convention in July to do whatever it takes to win $15 an hour and union rights, including participating in non-violent, peaceful protests in the tradition of the civil rights movement.”

Despite the call to nonviolence and reference to the civil rights movement, that has not always been the case when the SEIU has been involved. The SEIU’s history is replete with examples of violent behavior and use of threats to get what they want. In fact, the SEIU was quite friendly with the violent protest organizers of Occupy Wall Street, even offering them free office space.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, the SEIU will be using home healthcare workers to artificially increase their numbers:

..this time labor organizers plan to increase the pressure by staging widespread civil disobedience and having thousands of home-care workers join the protests….

Some franchise operators have dismissed the walkout, saying that in previous one-day strikes, only a handful of employees at their restaurants walked out, barely disrupting business.

This attempt to artificially inflate their numbers is certainly not new for the SEIU. Previously, protesters have been caught on video admitting to being paid to protest for the union. Using outside, unassociated union members to escalate visibility and pressure when the real numbers would only amount to a handful is par for the course.

Meanwhile, there is increased concern being voiced about whether these efforts have anything to do with what the SEIU is supposed to be about‒helping their own members achieve better wages and working conditions. The SEIU has spent millions in the fast food area, and there is no clear indication the industry will be unionizing any time soon.

In fact, the SEIU’s efforts may be the worst way to endear themselves to the industry, as well as undermine the very employees they say they want to help. An increase of wages to $15 is more likely to result in fewer jobs for workers, as companies like McDonalds and Burger King turn to automation to replace the handfuls of workers who leave their company to protest.  And the SEIU’s efforts polarize the conversation and add potentially violent disruption to the conversation in tomorrow’s protest may backfire, as did the aims of Occupy Wall Street.

Tomorrow’s protest highlights the disconnect in the SEIU between their goals and their members’ needs. They are willing to spend millions on an artificial movement with no clear benefit to their membership, but aren’t willing to consider the consequences for those they say they want to help. Is it any wonder the SEIU continues to shrink?

Service Employees International Union backed Fast Food Forward and SEIU’s Fight for 15 plan a protest strike/walkout, illegal acts Thursday, September 4 The Service Employees International Union and Fast Food Forward is targeting fast food companies like McDonalds and Burger King with illegal acts, escalating their efforts in their “Fight for 15” $15 minimum wage […]

SEIU, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood Defend Obamacare

The Service Employees International Union joins two partisan powerhouses pushing Obamacare- a policy hiking healthcare costs on their members, causing strikes
SEIU Endorses Obamacare

SEIU Endorses Obamacare

The SEIU was beside itself with the passage of Obamacare, releasing statements about how wonderful it was, even as concerns mounted about potential issues. However, the impact of the policy wasn’t necessarily good for their local unions, as Obamacare raised healthcare costs for local union members.

And yet, the SEIU marched on, even using member’s dues money to pay people off to protest for Obamacare, a practice they frequently accuse their opponents of using called “astroturf.” And it seems they’re going to double down on Obamacare with even more money and membership drives. Via Weaselzippers:

Planned Parenthood Action, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and MoveOn.org are teaming up in an effort to boost the law, and to boost officials who backed it.

SEIU leadership clearly believes Obamacare is best for their membership, despite the fact that their members are seeing a direct cost increase specifically because of the policy. SEIU International is spending their dues money to defend policies costing their membership money. Then, instead of taking responsibility, they call for their membership to strike against their employers to make up the difference.

This reckless policy hawking not only harms their membership, but undermines their case that the SEIU has the best intentions for their members. Rather than advocating for policies that work for their membership, they are letting partisan politics run their advocacy. This is one more sign the leadership is out of touch with their membership, and should be replaced.

The Service Employees International Union joins two partisan powerhouses pushing Obamacare- a policy hiking healthcare costs on their members, causing strikes SEIU Endorses Obamacare The SEIU was beside itself with the passage of Obamacare, releasing statements about how wonderful it was, even as concerns mounted about potential issues. However, the impact of the policy wasn’t […]

SEIU Local 617 President: Tax Money to Fake Company “Depends on Democrats being in Office”

James O’Keefe, made famous for exposing the organizing group ACORN’s involvement in illegal activity, has published a new video, this time exposing the SEIU. A secret recording captured SEIU Local 617 president Rahaman Muhammad’s complicity in using federal money for wasteful and pointless organizations to literally dig holes and fill them back up.

If you listen carefully, Muhammad is explaining the SEIU’s relationship with Democrat politicians. In his own words, “union dues fund elected officials who support working people”- in this case “working people” whose only job is to dig holes and fill them up. Organizations like ones O’Keefe describes get the support of legislators, but it “depends on Democrats being in office.”

Specifically, Democrats like Senator Robert Menendez “get support from the union” for their support of SEIU-organized jobs. According to Muhammad, with SEIU’s support, “Menendez gonna be like ‘Oh, for real? SEIU? Oh good, great!’

Project Veritas, O’Keefe’s organization, sent out an email explaining the impact of this collusion:

Since 2005, labor unions have reported spending $4.4 billion dollars on political activity, with the vast majority of that money going to Democrats like Robert Menendez – despite the fact that half of SEIU members identify as Republicans or Independents!

Besides an obvious conflict of interest, the worst part about the financial arrangement between unions and elected officials is that much of the money going into campaign coffers comes from compulsory member dues.

In other words, union members are forced to pay for political candidates or activities they may not even support.

As we’ve stated before, according to Mary Kay Henry, President of the SEIU, about 30% of SEIU members vote Republican, and an additional 20% are independents. They should be very concerned about this kind of “pay-for-play” bargaining done on their behalf.

If the SEIU wants to be taken seriously as an organization, they need to do more than show concern for supporting Democrats who promote their initiatives. They need to be concerned about wasteful spending and government programs- after all, SEIU members pay those taxes as well.

James O’Keefe, made famous for exposing the organizing group ACORN’s involvement in illegal activity, has published a new video, this time exposing the SEIU. A secret recording captured SEIU Local 617 president Rahaman Muhammad’s complicity in using federal money for wasteful and pointless organizations to literally dig holes and fill them back up. If you […]

Cringeworthy: Pointless SEIU Video Parodies “Call Me Maybe” (VIDEO)

We apologize in advance for any involuntary shudders you may experience while watching this video, but in this case, it’s one of those things you need to see to believe.

The first portion of the video explains that at a Congressional Hearing in June 2012, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had promised that he would set up a phone call with a local SEIU  janitor, Adriana Vasquez, to discuss wages for janitors.

What’s interesting is the part where the video begins- where the SEIU says that “despite multiple calls, she hasn’t heard back.” In response, the SEIU mounted an elaborate publicity campaign claiming Dimon hadn’t contacted her, using a riff off the (arguably overplayed) pop song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen calling it “Call Me Jamie.”

The SEIU would go on to make a full online campaign culminating with this video showing janitors dancing with mops to prove a point- that JP Morgan Chase needed to fulfill their promise.

But according to CNBC, JPMorgan Chase actually did reach out to the SEIU:

JPMorgan Chase tells me Vasquez has never called. Ever. The bank says after Dimon’s testimony, JPMorgan representatives asked Vasquez for her number, but they claim she refused to provide it. They also say they followed up with the SEIU. “If she calls us, we will call her back,” says a bank representative.

Not only that, but JPMorgan isn’t responsible for paying their janitors- Chase Building, the building Vasquez works in, “merely has a Chase branch inside. The firm says it has nothing to do with managing the building or contracting out the cleaning crews.”

Ultimately, JPMorgan did finally get in touch with Vasquez. A JPMorgan representative met with Vasquez, and presumably slowly and patiently explained that JPMorgan did not, in fact, control their pay, and that the owners of the building should be the target of their campaign rather than the tenants of the building.

So it appears that the SEIU, rather than taking their phone call or listening to reason, would rather create websites and petitions and poorly choreographed dance routines embarrassing their members than actually working with the employer. It’s this kind of move by the union that creates antagonism rather than happy endings. When unions act like this, it’s not much of a surprise that union membership is declining and more are opting to work directly with employers than through a union.

It’s also worth noting that at the time this article is being published, there are just over 1,800 views of the video- even after it was posted on the CNBC website. There’s no word on how many petitions were signed, or visitors went to the website (which has since expired), but based on the poor viewership of the video, one has to imagine it was not a highly successful campaign. Also not known is the time and money that went into the production of the video, website or petitions.

What is clear is that the SEIU spent member’s time and dues money to create a pointless campaign that did nothing besides antagonize the employer, embarrass their members and waste time before anyone could realize that JPMorgan was not, in fact, responsible for paying the janitors.

At least they had the forethought to disable comments on the video.

We apologize in advance for any involuntary shudders you may experience while watching this video, but in this case, it’s one of those things you need to see to believe. The first portion of the video explains that at a Congressional Hearing in June 2012, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had promised that he would […]

Federal Influence

Facing a severe cash crisis and the risk of insolvency, the state of California made budget cuts across the board, including wage cuts for health care workers.1 The SEIU represents 223,000 of these home health care workers and collects $5 million a month in dues.2

The SEIU opposed the wage cuts and used their political influence to have the Obama Administration threaten the state of California with withholding nearly $7 billion the state expected to collect from the Federal economic stimulus bill.3 The Administration included the SEIU in a conference call to discuss the issue with California officials, involvement that was called “unusual at best.”4

After the SEIU complaint, the Administration gave notice to California officials that the Federal government would withhold nearly $7 billion in stimulus money if the state did not rescind the wage cuts for the home health care workers.5 However, the Administration eventually backed off of their threat to rescind the stimulus money.6

With the State of California facing insolvency, the SEIU made its position clear: their dues revenue was more important than the well being of 36,000,000 residents of the Golden State.


1Shaun Bishop, “In-Home Care Workers Face Pay Cut,” Palo Alto Daily News, 5/19/09; Matthew Yi, “Daunting Deficit Estimate Released,” San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12/09
2George F. Will Column, “Tincture Of Lawlessness,” The Washington Post, 5/14/09
3Peter Nicholas and Evan Halper, “State May Still Get Stimulus Money,” Los Angeles Times, 5/12/09
4Sean Higgins, “Obama Aids Labor With Policy Shifts,” Investors Business Daily, 5/15/09
5Evan Halper, “Federal Threat Over Budget Move,” Los Angeles Times, 5/8/09; “Our View: California To Feds: Butt Out,” Merced Sun Star, 5/12/09
6Patrick McGreevy, “State Braces For Brutal Cuts,” Los Angeles Times, 5/21/09

Facing a severe cash crisis and the risk of insolvency, the state of California made budget cuts across the board, including wage cuts for health care workers.1 The SEIU represents 223,000 of these home health care workers and collects $5 million a month in dues.2 The SEIU opposed the wage cuts and used their political […]