Monday, September 3, 2012

Union Member: "The bloodletting has begun..." at SEIU Local 721

Just as SEIU President Mary Kay Henry tries to control the damage from John August’s sexual harassment scandal, more information is emerging about SEIU’s scandal on the West Coast.

In an email (see below), a member of SEIU Local 721 reports that three members of the union’s “senior staff” were fired after they “discontinued their monthly, personal contributions to Bob Schoonover’s Presidential re-election campaign.”

Schoonover, who’s seeking re-election to Local 721’s top post, reportedly requires each senior staffer to make monthly “voluntary” contributions to his personal campaign fund… or else!

Sources tell Tasty that Dave Regan used the same scheme to finance his campaign for the presidency of SEIU-UHW in 2011. In fact, Regan reportedly forced each senior staffer to “donate” $5,000 to his election fund. Furthermore, he instructed staff directors to ‘shake down’ the staffers whom they supervised for additional “voluntary” contributions.

A former staffer described what happens if you resist Regan’s “election tax.” A newly hired Field Rep in SEIU-UHW’s Nursing Home Division was fired by Myriam Escamilla (Director of SEIU-UHW’s Nursing Home Division) during the Field Rep's first week on the job after he expressed some reluctance at “donating” part of his paycheck to Diamond Dave’s election fund. This incident was confirmed by a second source.

Here’s the email describing what's happening at Local 721, which Tasty has excerpted because of its length. The email was authored by a member of Local 721.
To all,

The bloodletting has begun...

Rumor, but easily verifiable, is that higher level staff members (approximately 3, so far) of our Local 721 are being fired for having discontinued their monthly, personal contributions to Bob Schoonover's Presidential re-election campaign!  I want to give all a little more time to let the contents of this last sentence to sink in.

That's right!  Bob and company have, apparently, been filling his re-election campaign coffers by pressuring staff to contribute or you're out of here!  Remember, Bob's, currently, acting as the Executive Director of Local 721.  He can and most assuredly does tell Gilda Valdez, the Local 721 Chief of Staff, whose responsibility it is to hire and fire staff, what to do, how to do it and who is told YES and who is told NO! …

Because of the level of the source of the complaint, because of to whom the complaint was filed and because Mary Kay Henry will be unable to squash this complaint without much collateral damage, rest assured this Local is about to be blown up…

Buckle up!  Keep your eyes and ears open and don't be afraid to share information with the rest of us.  The ride is about to get real bumpy.

Still here,

Readers may have noticed that the member's email makes reference to the filing of a "complaint." What's going on? Apparently, the fired senior staffers have filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

The DOL is no stranger to illegal vote-rigging schemes carried by SEIU's top officials. In 2008, the federal agency cited Dave Regan -- who was then the president of SEIU District 1199 WV, KY, OH -- for illegally funneling thousands of dollars from his Ohio reelection fund to support Andy Stern's favored candidate in internal union elections in Nevada. See the DOL's letter below.

Regan funneled the money to support Jane McAlevey and her slate of Purple Palace candidates (called "Members United to Win"), who were competing with rank-and-file members over control of SEIU Local 1107 (now called "SEIU Nevada"). According to a former member of Local 1107, Regan's illegal funding "was used to unseat officers who were on McAlevey's enemy list in the local because we questioned her pushing the Andy Stern agenda."

The DOL's letter describes SEIU's multiple violations of federal labor law, including this one involving Regan: 
The Members United to Win slate of candidates used union funds to promote certain candidates in that $5,000 in donations came from a Solidarity Fund in the name of SEIU District 1199 WV, KY, OH, in violation of Section 401 (g).
Here's the full letter from the US Department of Labor: