Friday, May 5, 2017

Trusteeships Strain Purple Palace

Last week was a busy one for the Purple Palace.

On Wednesday, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry removed the top two officials at 9,000-member SEIU Nevada.

On Thursday, in Detroit, SEIU officials conducted a daylong trusteeship hearing to put SEIU Healthcare Michigan under a permanent trusteeship. In February, Henry removed the local union’s president, Marge Faville Robinson.

And on Friday, Henry imposed a trusteeship on SEIU Nevada.

Thursday’s hearing in Detroit was conducted by LaPhonza Butler, who served as the “Hearing Officer.” Butler is the President of California’s SEIU Local 2015, a longtime ally of Henry, and a nemesis of SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan.

According to a memo issued by SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Hudson on April 13, 2017 (see copy below), SEIU officials have now “substantiated” the “allegations of serious financial malpractice” at SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

Hudson’s memo reports:
Specifically, a review of the Local Union’s books and records uncovered evidence that Healthcare Michigan’s loan and paid time off/earned vacation payout policies had been abused, placing Healthcare Michigan members’ rights, benefits and interests at risk.

What actually happened?

SEIU officials are mum on the details. One possibility: local union officials artificially boosted their vacation balances, and then cashed them out. The removal of Marge Faville Robinson is an obvious clue.

Henry’s multiple trusteeships appear to be leaving her a bit shorthanded at the Palace.

In February, Henry appointed Inga Skippings (her “Chief of Staff”) as a trustee in Michigan, and more recently sent Deedee Fitzpatrick (her “Deputy Chief of Staff”) to Nevada to deal with SEIU’s imploding local union in Sin City.
Kirk Adams
Of course, Purple Palace officials -- including Tom DeBruin, Kirk Adams, Stephen Lerner and Bill Ragen -- know tons about “imploding” local unions.

Henry has not yet posted a job opening for a new “aide de camp” or Chief of Staff. But SEIU has posted one for “Director of Organizational Leadership.” The job description includes “work[ing] with officers, senior staff and local union leaders to develop innovative and impactful organizational leadership strategies…”

Hmmmm. Innovative? Impactful? How about just trying to develop a “functional” leadership strategy? 

That would be a big improvement.