Wednesday, October 12, 2016

President of SEIU Local 73: SEIU Officials Imposed an “Illegal” Trusteeship after I Supported Bernie Sanders

Christine Boardman, SEIU Local 73
Christine Boardman, the President of SEIU Local 73, has provided an insider’s view of SEIU’s recent trusteeship of her union, which represents 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana. 

In a communication sent to Tasty in recent days, she writes: “I read your two posts concerning the Local 73 trusteeship and feel obliged to write to you.” 

On August 3, 2016, SEIU officials seized control of Local 73 in an "emergency trusteeship" and removed Boardman and Secretary-Treasurer Matthew Brandon from office. Boardman had served as the union’s president for 16 years.  

In Boardman's place, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry appointed Eliseo Medina to serve as trustee. On September 24, SEIU officials conducted a trusteeship hearing where Boardman and others reportedly testified.

In her communication to Tasty (see documents below), Boardman writes:
I was removed from office in a classic SEIU trusteeship. As we all know the International likes to use the wording “emergency trusteeship” even when it is not. The basic reason I was removed from office was because I disagreed with the International leadership on a number of issues. The most recent was when they called me from Washington to assure themselves that I supported Hillary in the Primary which I did not. I supported Bernie Sanders. Both times they called I told them that I supported Bernie Sanders. They told me he would lose. This was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for them. For years I have disagreed with them on major issues of democracy within the union, organizing new members and servicing members which the International sees as in opposition to organizing new members.

She goes on to describe how SEIU officials in Washington DC “regularly criticized me for ‘taking too many cases to arbitration.’”
SEIU's Eliseo Medina addressing Local 73 members
The International’s main focus is to extract as much dues money from the members which it promptly turns over to the DNC. This deprives locals of operating expenses, as well as funds to support local candidates who actually support unions. The National Democratic office holders who get the members money have consistently avoided enforcing existing labor laws and instead have promoted bad trade deals that have sent most manufacturing jobs overseas.
As anyone familiar with the SEIU International is aware they are very thin skinned and accept NO dissent of any kind, they promote and expect complete obedience. The fact that I had an executive board of 100 rank and file members and that I always brought numerous members to all bargaining sessions simply horrified the SEIU International.
This illegal take over was plain and simple an undemocratic take over in the long and sordid history of the SEIU.

With her permission, Tasty has posted below Boardman’s message as well as her testimony during SEIU’s recent trusteeship hearing. 

During SEIU’s trusteeship hearing, Boardman described how she blew the whistle on “corrupt and unethical behavior” by Local 73’s Secretary-Treasurer Matt Brandon after he cut a “backroom deal” with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that “sold out” Local 73’s members.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Instead of penalizing Brandon, SEIU used his illegal behavior as the pretext for removing both her and Brandon, even though she was the “whistleblower” who outed his misconduct, says Boardman.

Boardman’s testimony includes poignant passages like this one:
You have put me into a situation that I will have to sue the International Union. You have ruined my reputation of more than 45 years in the trade union movement with a bs attempt to get me out of office. I was doing my job and you will be hard put to show that I was not.

Her testimony describes the role of other SEIU officials in Local 73’s problems, including Debbie Schneider, Mary Ann Collins, Denise Poloyac and Pia Davis. Schneider served as a "Deputy Trustee" with Medina during SEIU's trusteeship of SEIU-UHW in 2009.

Boardman concludes her testimony:
I feel that the entire emergency trusteeship has been a sham, and the International views the local as something they will award to their friends, and not positions that require significant experience and skill at accomplishing the task at hand. You are attempting to make me collateral damage and I will not accept that.
SEIU's Debbie Schneider
I ask that the hearing officer reinstate me as President so that I may continue to do what I believe and that is the strong belief that working people can overcome all obstacles in their way. I did nothing wrong and everything right. If the International does not allow me to complete my work and transition a new President at the end of my term which is April 2017. It will be a great disservice to the local and our members.

See two separate documents below from Boardman.