Monday, November 5, 2012

Feds Investigate SEIU Local 221... Again

As attention in the U.S. focuses on Tuesday’s national elections, workers report that another one of SEIU’s own elections is under investigation by federal officials for alleged vote rigging.

A member of SEIU Local 221-- which represents public-sector workers in San Diego, California -- writes:

On October 30, 2012, the federal Department of Labor began an investigation into possible illegal union election campaign activity at SEIU Local 221. The union conducted elections for the positions of local president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and twelve other executive board seats on July 10, 2012. A legal complaint was filed contesting the election results.

So what’s going on?

Well, during the elections, the Purple Palace’s favored candidate for president -- David Garcias -- eked out a narrow victory by fewer than 250 votes.

Workers allege that SEIU committed multiple violations during the election, including these:  

First, they say SEIU sent out 777 “extra” ballots to “voters.” Even though the union had just 6,009 members who were eligible to vote, SEIU officials sent out 6,786 ballots. Who got the “extra” ballots? That’s the big question.

Secondly, workers allege that a posse of SEIU officials campaigned for Garcias while being paid by SEIU. It’s strictly illegal for SEIU officials to use members’ dues money to support one slate of candidates vs. another. The posse of allegedly illegal campaigners includes Eric Banks (the union’s former president), Barbara Mohondro (Banks’s office manager), Kirsten Clemens (Banks’s chief of staff) and executive board member Liliana Camarena.

For those who don’t know him, Banks is the guy who fell for this hilarious prank during the giant Kaiser election in 2010. Since stepping down as president of Local 221, Banks has signed a consulting gig with Local 221. His new title? “Strategic Adviser” to SEIU Local 221. Hourly billing rate? Unknown.
If the feds overturn Local 221’s recent elections, it will be the second time it has done so in recent years. According to member at SEIU Local 221:  

A similar complaint regarding the 2009 union elections resulted in the government throwing out the election and forcing the union to run a "do-over" election in 2010.

Below, Tasty posted the 2010 letter from the DOL announcing the overturning of election results at Local 221. 

Altogether, it sounds like SEIU is keeping the U.S. Department of Labor plenty busy -- earlier on, Tasty covered the news that DOL officials are apparently investigating alleged election violations at SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles. Stay tuned!

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