Monday, August 8, 2011

What Happened to SEIU-UHW's $4.1 million Strike Fund?

In the latest scandal to hit SEIU, federal records have revealed that SEIU Trustee Dave Regan liquidated SEIU-UHW members’ $4.1 million strike fund during the final days of the trusteeship. The news emerged just recently, when SEIU officials filed a federally required report describing SEIU-UHWs finances during the final three months of SEIU’s trusteeship.

Now, readers… you don’t have to be a Perry Mason to figure out this ‘crime scene’ or the perpetrator’s motives. According to records from the U.S. Department of Labor, Regan “dissolved” the strike fund just ten days before the end of the trusteeship… apparently so he wouldn’t have to report it to union members or take a vote of the union’s newly elected Executive Board.

Here’s what happened (see below to see the actual federal records):
  • On March 16, 2011, the ballots from SEIU-UHW’s officer elections were counted and Regan was named as the union’s soon-to-be-inaugurated president after winning 8,000 total votes from the union’s 140,000 members (…this is a story for another day). 
  • Days later, on March 24 and 29, Regan “dissolved” the local union’s $4.1 million strike fund.
  • On April 8, the newly elected “officers and executive board members were installed… at which time the trusteeship ended” and the union was placed under the control of the new Executive Board.
So why did Regan cash out the strike fund during the three-week gap between the ballot count and the actual swearing-in of the new Executive Board? Well… during these waning days of the trusteeship, Regan was still running SEIU-UHW under the martial law of trusteeship that had allowed him to suspend the local union’s constitution, unilaterally remove democratically elected Shop Stewards, and take control over all financial decisions.

Apparently, Regan was super-duper impatient about the strike fund and couldn't wait ten more days until the new Executive Board was sworn in. Hmm… I guess Democracy Dave must’ve realized that workers might actually wanna keep their strike fund. After all, in 2005, when workers at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center conducted a successful 60-day strike, the now-liquidated strike fund allowed workers to double their weekly strike benefits.

So where’s the $4.1 million? Hard to tell, since Regan cashed it out under a cloak of secrecy provided by the trusteeship. Dave...???

Note to readers: Do you wanna look at the records? To make it easier, Tasty placed key excerpts from the records in this one-page document.
SEIU-UHW's Form LM-2 for 2011 -- Regan Dissolved $4.1 million Strike Fund
If you wanna see the complete records, go to this site run by the U.S. Department of Labor. To see SEIU-UHW’s report, fill in the following boxes with this info: Union Name –- SEIU, City –- Oakland, and State –- California.
Next, go to the very bottom of the page and where it says “Report Type,” click on the arrow in the box and select “LM-2.” Then click “Submit.”
Next, a set of SEIU local unions will appear on your screen. Click on the bottom one, which says: “Service Employees Local Union 2005.”
On the next screen, click on the text that says: “2011 Report.”
Now you’re inside the report. On your keyboard, press the keys labeled “Ctrl” and “F” at the same time, and then typed “DISOLVED” (spell the word with only one “S”) in the box that appears. Next, hit return. It should take you directly to the place in the document with info on the dissolved strike fund. You can also search for other words or people’s names by using this same search box. If you're looking at salaries, remember that this report only covers the first three months of 2011 -- so you gotta multiply salary figures by "4" to get annual salaries.