Friday, February 3, 2017

President of SEIU Union in Chicago Appeals Purple Palace’s Trusteeship Decision

Christine Boardman
On Monday, Christine Boardman (President of SEIU Local 73) formally appealed SEIU’s recent decision to continue its trusteeship of the union, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Boardman, in a January 30 letter to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Hudson, says SEIU’s decision to continue the trusteeship “is fraught with factual and legal errors and is in violation of the SEIU International Constitution as well as the LMRDA,” a reference to the federal Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Boardman requested a hearing before SEIU’s International Executive Board as part of her appeal. 

A copy of Boardman’s letter is below.

In an e-mail to supporters, Boardman vowed to fight SEIU’s decision, which was first announced on January 27 on Local 73’s website.

Last August, SEIU officials seized control of Local 73 through an “emergency trusteeship.” The action suspended Boardman and Matthew Brandon, Local 73’s Secretary-Treasurer, from their elected positions and also suspended the union’s Executive Board. Henry appointed three of her representatives to run the union as "trustees."

On September 24, 2016, SEIU officials conducted a “trusteeship hearing” headed by a hearing officer, Edgar Romney, to determine whether SEIU’s “emergency trusteeship” was justified and should continue. Romney, who was selected by Mary Kay Henry, is a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board and is the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU’s “Workers United” division, which happens to owe $16.7 million to SEIU.

SEIU’s trusteeship hearings are typically kangaroo courts in which attorneys from the Purple Palace literally write a pre-ordained decision that's simply signed by the Hearing Officer.

On January 25, 2017, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) approved Romney’s finding that “the trusteeship was imposed properly and should be continued.” 

Surprise, surprise, right? 

The IEB also adopted Romney’s recommendation that Local 73’s Executive Board be disbanded and that Boardman and Brandon be permanently removed from office.

Mary Kay Henry has appointed two trustees to run the local: Dian Palmer (President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin) and Denise Poloyac (Director of SEIU’s Property Services Division).

Eliseo Medina, who launched the trusteeship in August, is no longer a trustee at Local 73. At the end of summer, he flew back to California to serve as Henry’s “monitor” of SEIU Local 99 in Los Angeles following alleged misconduct by SEIU officials there.

So what’s the basis of Boardman’s appeal?

She says the trusteeship hearing and the subsequent actions by SEIU’s International Executive Board were “fraught with factual and legal errors” that violated SEIU’s Constitution.

In an e-mail sent to supporters this week, Boardman said the “vast majority” of the witnesses at the trusteeship hearing were from SEIU International. Neither Boardman nor Brandon was allowed to ask questions of SEIU witnesses, whom she describes as “bogus.” Boardman says she was permitted to make a statement during the hearing, but portions of her testimony – including an objection – were never included in the hearing records.

Furthermore, Boardman says SEIU’s justification for the trusteeship is “ridiculous.”

SEIU officials said they seized control of Local 73 because of fighting between Boardman and Brandon. “However,” writes Boardman, “the International used a different standard on [Local 73] than they did on other locals.” She continues:
This includes Local 99 in LA where the President was found to be stealing money and Local 1107 in Las Vegas where the Executive Vice President had an order of protection issued against her because of physical confrontations with the staff.  Six months later the President and Executive Vice President of 1107 filed charges against each other, plus 400 members signed petitions asking that the International trustee Local 1107.  For those locals the International did not have an emergency trusteeship. The International’s position that we [Local number 73] needed an “emergency trusteeship” is ridiculous.

Those familiar with SEIU’s recent history are likely laughing their asses off to see Edgar Romney serving as some sort of judge of moral probity. 

In 2009, Romney and Bruce Raynor joined Andy Stern in SEIU’s attempted hostile takeover of UNITE HERE, the United States’ largest union of hotel, food service, and casino workers. Across the US, labor leaders and observers slammed SEIU, Raynor, and Romney for their underhanded attack on UNITE HERE and its 450,000 members.