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SEIU’s Worker Center Shell Game

All Categories | Dirty tactics | Workers Centers

SEIU International is moving millions of dollars between Kendall Fells, Fast Food Workers Committee and New York Communities for Change, or NYCC.

As previously reported, SEIU frontman Kendall Fells of a worker’s center called Fast Food Forward has apparently either been part of, or knew before the rest of us, of an investigation and lawsuit by the New York Attorney General. Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Law request to find out exactly what happened there.

Fells and SEIU are part of a web of organizations engaged in funding so-called “worker centers.” As we’ve covered before, these worker centers help disguise how much influence the SEIU is having on an issue, and even cover illegal acts made by the worker centers. Here is just one slice of SEIU’s activities from the FOIA, showing just how complicated the money trail can be.

In fiscal year 2013, the SEIU disbursed a total of $1,862,370 to Fast Food Workers Committee, a labor organization/worker center. These disbursements were itemized on the Form LM-2 that SEIU is required to file with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. On that Form LM-2 SEIU listed the address for Fast Food Workers Committee as the same Brooklyn, NY address used by New York Communities for Change, or NYCC.

The LM-2 data for Fast Food Workers Committee, and other labor unions, indicates that $1,964,149 has been disbursed to NYCC, during the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. The bulk of this, $1,607,692, came from Fast Food Workers Committee in 2013. Here are the amounts disbursed by organization:

Summary of Amounts Disbursed to New York Communities for Change
Organization Name Fiscal Year Amount
AUTO WORKERS AFL-CIO NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 2013 $20,000
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS AFL-CIO LOCAL UNION 1180 2013 $10,000
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS AFL-CIO NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 2014 $235,434
FAST FOOD WORKERS COMMITTEE  0 2013 $1,607,692
NEW YORK STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION 2014 $10,000
SERVICE EMPLOYEES LOCAL UNION 32 2013 $10,000
SERVICE EMPLOYEES SYSTEM COUNCIL 2014 $28,750
SERVICE EMPLOYEES SYSTEM COUNCIL 2014 $32,273
TEACHERS AFL-CIO NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 2014 $10,000
Total $1,964,149

The chart below provides a visual representation of the money flow between these entities (click to enlarge).

SEIU New York Communities for Change NYCC Flowchart

 

In addition to money passing between between Fast Food Workers Committee and NYCC, these two organizations also have at least one officer in common. Jonathan Westin, Executive Director for NYCC is also Vice President of Fast Food Workers Committee.

We will continue to monitor and report on these financial and personnel details. All sources for our chart and graph can be found below:

New York Communities for Change 2012 990 Form
Fast Food Workers Committee 2013 LM-2
NYCC New York Communities for Change Payer/Payee Form

SEIU New York Communities for Change Flowchart

SEIU International is moving millions of dollars between Kendall Fells, Fast Food Workers Committee and New York Communities for Change, or NYCC. As previously reported, SEIU frontman Kendall Fells of a worker’s center called Fast Food Forward has apparently either been part of, or knew before the rest of us, of an investigation and lawsuit […]

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SEIU Rep Admits Fight for $15 About Unions, Not Minimum Wage

All Categories | Latest updates | Workers Centers

SEIU-Fight-for-15-minimum-wage-Kendall-Fells

Kendall Fells, Service Employees International Union rep, admits SEIU and Fast Food Forward Fight for $15 minimum wage are really about unionizing fast food

In a story broken by RebelPundit, it appears that Kendall Fells, a SEIU Rep and former organizer for Fast Food Forward, has leaked SEIU’s true intentions:

Quote from the video:

Just to be clear, this is not a minimum wage campaign, these fast food workers are not trying to raise minimum wage. They want to sit down with the $200 billion fast food industry and get the money out of their pockets and negotiate a union contract with them.

Fells’ comments were at a September 24th panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference called “Working Families Fight Back.”

As we’ve discussed before, the SEIU “Fight for $15” was never about the minimum wage, it was about pulling in more union members. By targeting fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King with illegal activity in their Fight for $15, they aren’t really trying to get higher wages for workers. In reality, they’re just trying to get more dues from new members.

Increasing the minimum wage is not without consequence, but there may be an even deeper impact of these policies. It may end up that SEIU members get all the dues but none of the extra wages:

Proposition 1 gives employers a break from the minimum wage, the paid sick days and other employee protections – as long as the business is unionized.

That means employers have a big incentive to cozy up with the same labor unions who pushed the idea and have contributed hundreds of thousands to the campaign. It all looks like a nice bit of self-dealing for organized labor.

That’s right- when it comes down to it, the very fast food workers the SEIU is pushing to protest and illegally act may never see the higher wages. The same union will then go to employers and convince them to unionize so they don’t have to abide by the wages they just pushed.

Ultimately, fast food workers may find themselves with less money in their pockets from involuntary dues taken from their paychecks. Meanwhile, their union status means they see none of the additional wages from the “Fight for $15”. It is clear from Kendall Fells’ statement that the SEIU’s priorities only come down to their own wages, not those of their members.

 

SEIU-Fight-for-15-minimum-wage-Kendall-Fells

Kendall Fells, Service Employees International Union rep, admits SEIU and Fast Food Forward Fight for $15 minimum wage are really about unionizing fast food In a story broken by RebelPundit, it appears that Kendall Fells, a SEIU Rep and former organizer for Fast Food Forward, has leaked SEIU’s true intentions: Quote from the video: Just […]

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Behind “Worker Centers”- SEIU’s Newest Unionization Scheme

All Categories | Workers Centers

Service Employee International Union uses “Worker Centers” like Fast Food Forward to evade worker protections and draft new workers into the SEIU. Part I.

SEIU's worker center, Fast Food Forward, promoted on Twitter

The SEIU’s official Twitter promotes efforts of one of their worker centers, Fast Food Forward.

Consider the SEIU’s predicament. Now is not the best time to be in the leadership of the SEIU. Far from being the “fastest growing union, the SEIU is shrinking, even despite favorable treatment by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Not even Obama’s unconstitutional appointees and regular rulings in favor of unions can improve their numbers.

So the SEIU is forced to choose between making the union more competitive to workers and finding even sneakier ways of organizing. As you can probably assume, they’ve chosen the latter option out of the two. The SEIU is finding new ways around the laws surrounding labor organizations.

In most unionization attempts, the union traditionally approaches workers and attempts to organize them directly with the stated purpose of organizing them into a union. Once they reach critical mass, they either demand the employer to voluntarily recognize the union (card check) or they ask the NLRB to hold a vote. There is a significant amount of law surrounding what employers and unions may do here. These laws protect employees from shady dealings by both the unions and employers.

Now, it seems the SEIU is finding new ways to infiltrate employees without making it seem like they’re actually organizing. The SEIU is connected to many of the new “worker center” groups across the country, with names like “Fast Food Forward” that target different industries. The SEIU’s ties to groups like “Fast Food Forward” are documented in this piece by the National Legal and Policy Center:

Our old ACORN friend, New York Communities for Change, is partnering with the Service Employees International Union… in a campaign called Fast Food Forward. The SEIU-directed group has hired 40 full-time persons to organize workers at McDonald’s, Domino’s, Wendy’s and other New York City fast-food outlets. The group’s modus operandi is targeting outlets for an employee walkout. Fast Food Forward seeks a minimum industry wage of $15 an hour and union recognition for workers.

Groups like these operate chiefly through Facebook and Twitter pages, and email/phone text campaigns that directly contact interested employees in various industries. Since the online presence doesn’t require a physical address, it’s much harder to prove a link between the union and the sham group. As described by CNS News, Workers Centers are preferred by unions specifically because of this separation:

…Worker centers operate outside of the parameters of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and enjoy mainstream support from groups unaware that behind the curtain, these centers are being funded and guided by seasoned labor organizers. This arrangement allows unions easy access to activists, and potentially new members, while providing a relatively bulletproof apparatus from which to focus their attacks on non-unionized industries and companies.

Through these sham groups, the SEIU can organize things like strikes and walkouts without having the union name attached. This way they avoid NLRB rules about that govern how these activities are conducted. Employees can protest indefinitely.

A key example of this is Artistic Stitches, Inc., where a SEIU affiliate, Workers United, attained representation through “spontaneous strikes” organized by a worker center:

Workers approached the interfaith workers’ rights organization Arise Chicago, who assisted in organizing co-workers to know their rights on the job. Selecting Workers United as their union with which to affiliate, the workers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for an election. Last week, the workers won by a decisive majority and now have union representation.
“The relationship between the workers center and our union has been perfect,” said Margarita Klein, staff director of Workers United. “And this is only the beginning.”
Cortez had the following message for other workers in a situation like hers: “If something unjust is happening to you at work, there are organizations like Arise and Workers United that can help protect you.”

In writing about the unionization, Insurgent Notes, a neo-communist labor blog notes that worker centers like these often work hand-in-hand with unions like the SEIU:

Another quite recent victory came in Chicago where workers in an embroidery factory secured union representation (in this case, they chose the United Workers, an SEIU affiliate). Many, perhaps most, of these worker center–based organizing projects focused on workers in low-wage jobs, are conducted with the active support and, often enough, leadership provided by a variety of community-based organizations—with support from one or more unions.

Rather than modernizing to provide competitive benefits, the SEIU is trying to repeat their old tricks in new ways. Unfortunately this has been a trend, and they don’t seem particularly interested in reversing it now.

We will work to bring you more information about these workers centers as we collect more information. To get the latest, please click here to sign up for our email newsletter.

SEIU's worker center, Fast Food Forward, promoted on Twitter

Service Employee International Union uses “Worker Centers” like Fast Food Forward to evade worker protections and draft new workers into the SEIU. Part I. Consider the SEIU’s predicament. Now is not the best time to be in the leadership of the SEIU. Far from being the “fastest growing union, the SEIU is shrinking, even despite […]

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