Friday, February 5, 2010

Andy's Cali problems grow! Local 221 Update.

Tasty hears that SEIU officials are struggling to fix the growing problems at Local 221 in San Diego. It turns out that former President Sharon-Frances Moore quit her job and took a $107,000 severance package (along with a generous consulting contract) just as the local was hemorrhaging gobs of money.

Last year, Local 221 lost approximately 20% of its membership, including county probation officers who left the local to create an independent union called the San Diego County Probation Officers Association. The loss of dues has caused a massive budget deficit at the local. To make matters worse, Tasty hears that even more of Local 221's members are considering decerts. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, at a February 4th emergency meeting, Local 221's Executive Board apparently got word that the US Department of Labor has reached a preliminary finding that Local 221 violated federal election rules during its recent officer elections. Unless SEIU can prove 'em wrong, the DOL will take court action against the local on March 3.

Oh snap! What's a union boss to do?

Tasty hears that Stern is talking about either a trusteeship or a merger of Local 221 into Los Angeles-based Local 721. (921?) A merger would be a "two-fer" for Andy since it would allow SEIU to skip officer elections at both locals, and would give Andy the power to appoint the president of the merged local for another three-year term.

Not the most democratic approach, but as we know when Andy gets desperate, Andy gets mad despotic.

Local 721's current president, John Tanner (who was appointed by Stern), is reportedly involved in the discussions, as is Annelle Grajeda. Yes that's right, Annelle Grajeda, whose man is headed to jail 'cuz she paid him 2 salaries! In fact, Tanner now occupies the position left vacant after Grajeda was forced to resign from the local in the wake of the Stephens scandal. But don't cry for Annelle, she immediately landed a cushy job as special assistant to Anna Burger, the very person responsible for making sure that the union is financially sounds and that dues dollars are being spent responsibly.

CORRECTION: Alejandro is not threatened with jail because he took 2 salaries from Local 721, but because of a separate scandal related to the LA County Fed of Labor and a nonprofit it set up called the "Voter Information Project." Labor officials in the VIP funneled money thru fake contractors that landed in Alejandro's bank account. Annelle and her son are named as "co-schemers" by federal prosecutors in this second scandal. (So many scandals, it's hard to keep up with them).