Monday, September 17, 2012

SEIU Officials Raid Millions from Workers' Strike Fund

Some of Tasty's readers asked for more information about the following statement by one of the Purple Palace's picketing office workers:
"If SEIU was hurting financially, things would be different,” said Virginia Rodino, Chief Steward for the 148-member OPEIU Local 2 unit at SEIU. “But they just got done at our national convention saying how well they’re doing, so to demand a 3-year wage freeze just feels like a slap in the face…"

So…. why is SEIU rolling in the dough in the middle of the biggest recession since the 1930s?

Well, it may be related to a little-known raid by SEIU officials on millions of dollars of membership dues that are supposed to be going into SEIU’s strike fund.

Here's what's happening.

Over the past two decades, SEIU's Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry have sharply boosted each member’s dues and then steered more and more of this money to SEIU’s DC headquarters.  

In fact, since 2000, SEIU has more than doubled the amount of dues that each member sends to the Purple Palace. And the total dues funneled into SEIU's DC headquarters has nearly tripled from $100 million in 2000 to $293 million in 2011, according to annual reports filed with the US Department of Labor.

Despite this giant sucking sound from SEIU’s headquarters in Washington DC, it turns out that Mary Kay Henry and Andy Stern want even more money from SEIU members! That's why they've implemented two little-known schemes to raid tens of millions of dollars from SEIU members' strike fund.

Here’s what happening: 

Under SEIU’s constitution, a portion of each member’s monthly dues payments is supposed to be deposited into a strike fund to benefit workers. In 2008, Andy Stern raided millions of dollars from the strike fund and funneled the money into SEIU's general operating budget. Then, in June of 2012, Mary Kay Henry conducted an even bigger raid by implementing “Constitutional Amendment #405,” which Tasty has posted below.

The amendment empowers the Purple Palace to seize each member’s full contribution to SEIU’s strike fund (40 cents per month) and to then funnel the money into an SEIU political fund. Now... 40 cents per member per month may not sound like a lot of money. But when you multiply it by nearly 2 million members, it adds up to lots of cold, hard cash.

Let’s do the math:  $0.40 per member per month x 12 months x 1,921,768 members = $9.2 million per year.

Here’s part of what Constitutional Amendment #405 says (full text below):
Beginning January 2013, the International Union shall use from the per capita tax the sum of 40 cents per member per month on all monthly dues received by the Local Union in the Strike and Defense Fund for the purpose of maintaining a fund to support the International Union’s program to elect and hold accountable national public officials for a pro-working family agenda.
So, do SEIU's members even know that the Purple Palace is raiding their strike fund? Unlikely. As far as Tasty can tell, SEIU's officials have never made this information available to the membership.

So, for all of you SEIU members out there, here's the full text of the amendment. And if you want more background on these issues, check out this report written by NUHW’s leaders in 2008 in which they criticized SEIU officials for precisely this kind of power grab.
SEIU's Raid on Workers' Strike Fund during 2012 Convention -- Constitutional Amendment #405