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 […]

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 […]

Harder than it looks

roc-nyThe Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a worker center group that has received SEIU support, loves to try to tell restaurant owners how to do their job. In 2006, the front group decided to try to show restaurant owners how they should do their job and opened “Colors” in New York City. To put it mildly, the restaurant has had a troubled history.

The restaurant was advertised as a co-op owned by workers from a famous New York restaurant destroyed on 9/11. In 2007, several workers sued the Restaurant Opportunity Center for failing to pay them what they were owed and failing to give them the ownership interest they were promised. As reported by the New York Post:

“ROC-NY used us and many others to perform hundreds of hours of unpaid work to raise money and promote its name and the co-op restaurant project. They even had us kick back our tips when we worked at parties and events as cooks and waiters,” one of the former Windows [on the World] employees, Orlando Godoy, said.

“We put in the time because we believed that we were ‘worker-owners’ . . . The only owners are ROC and the Italian investors. Our work remains unpaid.”

Godoy was one of 330 people employed at Windows when it was destroyed on 9/11, killing 73 of his co-workers.

At one point, the executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, Saru Jayaraman, demanded workers sign a contract agreeing to pay dues and attend protests, among other things. The plight of the restaurant workers was so bad that a union lawyer agreed to take the case pro bono. Again, from the Post in 2007:

[Former restaurant board member Behzad] Pasdar charges, Jayaraman used ex-Windows staffers as a “golden goose.” “She dragged them around town to [raise money from] foundations. But she wouldn’t even pay them as promised.”

Nereda Pena’s story seems to confirm that. The Mexican-born former Windows worker, whom ROC used to fund-raise for Colors, spoke recently to The Post in Spanish. “I came to ROC everyday, sometimes as early as six. I worked all day. I was told I would get paid, but they never gave me anything. Instead, I’d get back to ROC at the end of the day and ask for enough to buy a subway fare home. They refused even that,” she said. This, she says, went on for months…

“[ROC’s executive director] would often say, ‘We don’t want white people here. We don’t work with white people.’ We would argue that as a social-justice organization, we can’t distinguish between races. But she said we use whites and then leave them.”…

“I’ve spent my whole life working in city restaurants,” says Pasdar, “but nothing was as bad as the three years I spent with ROC.”

In late 2007, a new chef arrived to try to turn around the restaurant, which was deeply in debt. Things were so bad that the restaurant struggled to pay its rent and workers voted to slash their minimum wage by more than $4 an hour. This time, from the New York Sun:

“I walked in and I was asked to pick up the pieces,” Christopher Faulkner, who took over as Colors’s chef in November, said. “I walked into a disaster.”

The previous chef had left months earlier along with almost half the original staff of 58. The remaining employees hadn’t been paid in weeks. Dishes on the menu were deleted, one by one, and there wasn’t enough money to order food supplies.

In 2009, the restaurant closed for five months. It closed again in 2012 and wasn’t reopened until last fall.

In addition to its financial and labor problems, the restaurant has also had sanitation problems. The New York Department of Health twice cited it for “critical violations” involving rats and mice.

Who Pays?

Early on, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union provided funding; Bruce Herman, a former union leader, helped arrange additional funding.

Union support continues, according to Workercenterwatch.com:

“The unions have been a major source of initial and on-going funding and in fact, have provided significant in-kind contributions as well. In fact, the ROC chapter in Los Angeles has been housed within the SEIU offices for some time. The support comes in various ways – direct subsidies, in-kind support and grants such as the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have received from the AFL-CIO-related Consortium for Worker Education.”

It also appears that SEIU is supporting ROC’s efforts in Seattle. Liberal foundations and government agencies provide additional funding for ROC.

Maybe the Restaurant Opportunities Center should treat its own employees better – and learn how to run a clean, successful restaurant – before it goes around lecturing everyone else.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a worker center group that has received SEIU support, loves to try to tell restaurant owners how to do their job. In 2006, the front group decided to try to show restaurant owners how they should do their job and opened “Colors” in New York City. To put it mildly, […]

Big Shrinkage at SEIU Healthcare Michigan: Not Just the Pool

SEIU Healthcare Michigan loses 44,000 members after they were no longer forced to unionize. Worse, Service Employees International Union has shrinkage all over.

As published in NetRightDaily

The SEIU has always been all about using dirty tricks and shady lobbying to accomplish their only real goal- to grow at any cost. But what SEIU Healthcare Michigan did to home healthcare workers in their state has to be one of the dirtiest tricks ever used.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan exploited a legal loophole using the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MCQ3) to force parents and family of sick children into their union. Families who saved the state thousands of dollars a month by taking care of adult children with disabilities had money taken out of their pockets as they were forced to pay dues to the SEIU. Meanwhile, the SEIU racked up nearly $33 Million in forced dues.

It took a court ruling and a statewide ballot initiative for judges and voters to finally put an end to the SEIU’s disgusting practice. Now that the SEIU has been forced to stop unionizing these families, it seems these healthcare workers are no longer interested in the SEIU’s “services”:

More than 44,000 home-based healthcare workers parted ways with SEIU Healthcare Michigan after learning they did not have to join the union or pay dues, according to reports the union filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.

So SEIU Healthcare Michigan is feeling the icy chill of tens of thousands of members leaving their union. Like the George Costanza character in the Seinfeld TV show, the union is experiencing “significant shrinkage”. But unlike Costanza, the shrinkage isn’t just limited to one area…

Previous articles at the SEIU Monitor have shown that since 2006, membership growth has stalled and as of 2012, the union was losing members. A further examination of the SEIU’s 2013 LM-2 report shows that this trend has continued into 2013- far from being the “Fastest Growing Union” as they claim, the SEIU lost nearly 10,000 members in 2013. When you look at the change in growth numbers for the union, the SEIU is clearly in trouble:

SEIU 2013 LM-2 Data shows the union has continued to decline and actually lost members since 2011.

SEIU- the Fastest Shrinking Union?

This chart shows that while the SEIU lost fewer members in 2013 than they did in 2012, they are still losing members at a considerable rate. In fact, the union has not gained a net total of members since 2011. This is problem they can’t just ascribe to the cold. Due to repeated SEIU scandals and union mismanagement, it seems the union’s policy of “add members at any cost” has backfired.

The union that calls itself the “Fastest growing union” should be watching out. With a significant shrinkage problem, they’ll find themselves becoming the “fastest shrinking union” before too long.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan loses 44,000 members after they were no longer forced to unionize. Worse, Service Employees International Union has shrinkage all over. As published in NetRightDaily The SEIU has always been all about using dirty tricks and shady lobbying to accomplish their only real goal- to grow at any cost. But what SEIU Healthcare […]

Tyrone Freeman, SEIU Local 6436 Embezzler Sentenced to 3 Years in Jail SEIU Monitor

Service Employees International Union Local 6434 former president Tyrone Freeman was sentenced to 33 months jail and $150,000 fine for stealing SEIU dues money
Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine

Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine

Tyrone Freeman, who we’ve written about often here, has been sentenced to almost 3 years of jail time. The judge ordered Freeman to pay $150,000 in restitution and 33 months of prison for 14 charges, which included embezzlement and fraud.

We’ve discussed the charges, the sentencing and even given you a glimpse into an evening with Freeman, where his extravagance with union member’s dues money is on full display. But one of the most interesting views comes from the LA Times, which offers this insight into the last few moments before the sentencing, where Freeman breaks down in tears:

Before Collins imposed the sentence, Freeman stood before the judge and cried as he asked for leniency, acknowledging that his “bad decisions” hurt the workers and his family.

“May God have mercy on me,” said Freeman, 44, wearing a dark business suit. “I am accountable for these bad decisions.”

On Monday, prosecutors said they believed the sentence for Freeman was fair, although they had asked for a prison term of more than three years. “He abused some of the poorest working-class members of this community,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Elisa Fernandez said.

A rival union whose leaders left the SEIU after resisting efforts to shift some of their members to Freeman’s local welcomed Monday’s sentence. “People in SEIU’s leadership knew there was something wrong in the local for years and did nothing about it,” said John Borsos, secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

SEIU Local 6434 and the union’s national office did not respond to requests for comment.

One of the most important factors that brought about the trial and sentencing of Tyrone Freeman was the promulgation of the Department of Labor’s Form LM-2 regulation. This regulation for the first time disclosed detailed union financial information. This disclosure regulation was strongly opposed by unions.

It was because a whistleblower took a look at the Form LM-2 and recognized that something was wrong that investigators began reviewing the union’s expenses. As quoted earlier, it had been obvious to the SEIU International union that something was wrong, but nothing was done. To the SEIU, petty theft is not as significant of a problem as bad publicity.

This fits with the theory of SEIU responsibility, which is that as long as your problems don’t extend to the point of harming the overall union, they won’t call you out. In fact they would prefer to have something negative to hold over  leaders like Tyrone Freeman, so that they can later penalize and replace them if they act out of line. After all, if they do nothing wrong, it’s much harder to replace them with someone friendlier to their goals.

The SEIU has a long history of fighting transparency measures. You can see that in some of our previous articles. This case, however, shows how long they’re willing to go before calling out one of their own members. Tyrone Freeman would’ve never gotten away with what he did without a complacence atmosphere of SEIU corruption telling him that it was okay.

Service Employees International Union Local 6434 former president Tyrone Freeman was sentenced to 33 months jail and $150,000 fine for stealing SEIU dues money Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine Tyrone Freeman, who we’ve written about often here, has been sentenced to almost 3 […]

Tyrone Ricky Freeman

Service Employees International Union Local 6434 former president Tyrone Freeman was sentenced to 33 months jail and $150,000 fine for stealing SEIU dues money

Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine

Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine

Tyrone Freeman, who we’ve written about often here, has been sentenced to almost 3 years of jail time. The judge ordered Freeman to pay $150,000 in restitution and 33 months of prison for 14 charges, which included embezzlement and fraud.

We’ve discussed the charges, the sentencing and even given you a glimpse into an evening with Freeman, where his extravagance with union member’s dues money is on full display. But one of the most interesting views comes from the LA Times, which offers this insight into the last few moments before the sentencing, where Freeman breaks down in tears:

Before Collins imposed the sentence, Freeman stood before the judge and cried as he asked for leniency, acknowledging that his “bad decisions” hurt the workers and his family.

“May God have mercy on me,” said Freeman, 44, wearing a dark business suit. “I am accountable for these bad decisions.”

On Monday, prosecutors said they believed the sentence for Freeman was fair, although they had asked for a prison term of more than three years. “He abused some of the poorest working-class members of this community,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Elisa Fernandez said.

A rival union whose leaders left the SEIU after resisting efforts to shift some of their members to Freeman’s local welcomed Monday’s sentence. “People in SEIU’s leadership knew there was something wrong in the local for years and did nothing about it,” said John Borsos, secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

SEIU Local 6434 and the union’s national office did not respond to requests for comment.

One of the most important factors that brought about the trial and sentencing of Tyrone Freeman was the promulgation of the Department of Labor’s Form LM-2 regulation. This regulation for the first time disclosed detailed union financial information. This disclosure regulation was strongly opposed by unions.

It was because a whistleblower took a look at the Form LM-2 and recognized that something was wrong that investigators began reviewing the union’s expenses. As quoted earlier, it had been obvious to the SEIU International union that something was wrong, but nothing was done. To the SEIU, petty theft is not as significant of a problem as bad publicity.

This fits with the theory of SEIU responsibility, which is that as long as your problems don’t extend to the point of harming the overall union, they won’t call you out. In fact they would prefer to have something negative to hold over  leaders like Tyrone Freeman, so that they can later penalize and replace them if they act out of line. After all, if they do nothing wrong, it’s much harder to replace them with someone friendlier to their goals.

The SEIU has a long history of fighting transparency measures. You can see that in some of our previous articles. This case, however, shows how long they’re willing to go before calling out one of their own members. Tyrone Freeman would’ve never gotten away with what he did without a complacence atmosphere of SEIU corruption telling him that it was okay.

Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fineService Employees International Union Local 6434 former president Tyrone Freeman was sentenced to 33 months jail and $150,000 fine for stealing SEIU dues money Tyrone Freeman, who we’ve written about often here, has been sentenced to almost 3 years of jail time. The judge ordered Freeman to pay $150,000 in restitution and 33 months of […]

Service Employees International Union Local 6434 former president Tyrone Freeman was sentenced to 33 months jail and $150,000 fine for stealing SEIU dues money Tyrone Freeman, former SEIU 6434 President, now faces nearly 3 years jail time and a $150,000 fine Tyrone Freeman, who we’ve written about often here, has been sentenced to almost 3 […]

SEIU Blasts Government Shutdown as Local 1 Strikes over Obamacare Cuts

SEIU-government-shutdown-obamacareService Employees International Union issues press release blasting Republicans over government shutdown while SEIU Local 1 strikes on Obamacare-caused cuts.

The federal government shutdown of non-essential workers has many confused and frustrated, not the least of which is the SEIU. Not only does the union represent many of those being furloughed, but the government shutdown is largely caused because of disagreement over the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

In response to the government shutdown, the SEIU issued this strongly worded press release attacking Congressional Republicans for allowing the shutdown to go into effect. SEIU president Mary Kay Henry was quoted as saying:

Our immediate thoughts are with the working people who are furloughed and will lose needed income, including the 700 SEIU security officers in the Washington D.C [sic] metropolitan region, as well as the millions more who will feel the effects of a shutdown in their lives and their local economies.

The press release goes on to praise Obamacare, declaring that since it is an established law, it shouldn’t be treated as a “political pawn”. The press release doesn’t go so far as to mention that the  SEIU has gone so far as to pay members to protest for Obamacare and has consistently held water in advocating for the Act.  So not only is the SEIU self-interested in the workers affected by the government shutdown, but they also seem to have a stake in the legislation as well.

What makes the timing of this particular press release particularly interesting, is that it comes at the same time as SEIU Local 1 in Columbus is going on strike- over cuts caused by Obamacare. We’ve previously covered other Obamacare-related strikes by the SEIU, but this one gets major points for style:

SEIU Local 1 members – supported on September 24 by members of other labor unions and other leftists including illegal-immigrant union spokesman Jamal Gilcrease – are on strike to “defend their rights,” noting that they “struggle to make ends meet despite the fact that they clean the offices of some the [sic] richest companies in the city.”


French, paid $76,221 with money taken from SEIU members last year, explained to Media Trackers that employers’ plans to cut Columbus janitors’ hours due to Obamacare mandates were merely the “latest excuse in a long line of many that we’ve seen from corporate America” to “take money out of the middle class workers’ pocket.”

SEIU local unions are protesting the effects of Obamacare as they begin to feel the pinch of it’s effects. Meanwhile, SEIU International continues to put their political priorities above their workers. This support comes despite the fact they may lose a major boon to recruitment through the loss of their competitive healthcare plans. The SEIU seems to be on the path of shutdown themselves, and they aren’t self-aware enough to see it coming.

Service Employees International Union issues press release blasting Republicans over government shutdown while SEIU Local 1 strikes on Obamacare-caused cuts. The federal government shutdown of non-essential workers has many confused and frustrated, not the least of which is the SEIU. Not only does the union represent many of those being furloughed, but the government shutdown […]