Friday, December 16, 2016

SEIU Officials Perform Three-Ring Circus in Vegas

In Nevada, SEIU Local 1107 appears to be imploding amid intense infighting between the union’s top officials.

The union -- also known as “SEIU Nevada” -- represents approximately 9,000 workers in public and private hospitals as well as local government workers.

So what’s going on?

It’s kinda hard to track all of the grimy details of this multidimensional sh*tfest, but here are a few tidbits:
  • In August, police were called to the union’s offices when the union’s Executive Vice President (Sharon Kisling) allegedly chased and threatened one of the union’s staff directors in what he called “a two-and-a-half-hour reign of terror at our office,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Fight within SEIU Local 1107 shows no sign of slowing down,” December 3, 2016). The staff director later reportedly got the courts to issue a temporary restraining order against Kisling.
  • In July, the union’s president, Cherie Mancini, abruptly canceled a contract-ratification vote at Las Vegas’s largest hospital (University Medical Center) so she could supposedly investigate a bunch of vague allegations against unnamed members of the rank-and-file bargaining committee.
What kind of allegations did she want to investigate?
They included such specifics as “violation of fiduciary duty,” “failing to conduct bargaining in a prudent manner,” and “behavior inconsistent with the mutually agreed upon interest-based bargaining process.” Oh, and she apparently had no named accusers.
After 400 hospital workers signed a petition against the union’s president, President Mancini reversed her decision and allowed the membership vote to take place. Nonetheless, the bargaining team was pissed that the union’s president had trashed their reputation by circulating “wildly absurd allegations” in a memo she emailed to all of their co-workers and also posted on the Internet.
  • So, on July 31, the bargaining team sent a letter to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry saying they had “lost all confidence” in the local union president. They called on Henry to put the union in trusteeship and remove their president from office. Their letter to Henry reads in part: 
It is unacceptable that SEIU President Mancini has done great and unforgivable damage to the SEIU-UMC bargaining team by publicly making false allegations without a second thought as to what it would do to the members of this union… President Mancini has shown disdain, disrespect and complete ignorance for our duly elected SEIU officers and volunteer bargaining team and for these reasons, we feel that President Mancini is either mentally unable or unwilling to carry out her sworn duties… UMC Bargaining Team is also demanding that Local 1107 be trusteed and reconstructed so that this type of situation, where a Union President publicly attacks its own Union members, will never happen again. Our team and UMC members believe that the organization of SEIU Local 1107 has lost sight of working for our members’ common good and has let personal politics and greed take control and we reject this!
  • Next, in September, the union’s President and Executive Vice President filed dueling “internal charges” against one other alleging violations of SEIU’s constitution and bylaws. The charges -- which allege “financial malpractice” and “engaging in corrupt or unethical practices” -- call on SEIU’s International Executive Board to suspend each other from office.
    SEIU's IEB on a break?
  • In October, just in case this circus-like situation wasn’t whacky enough, SEIU’s International Executive Board held two days of hearings in Las Vegas to investigate the charges. And the Purple Palace chose the perfect setting for their hearing:  the Circus Circus Casino!
  • Meanwhile, an independent union called the “UMC-Clark County Public Employees Association” is actively trying to decertify SEIU.
Oh, and that’s not all.
  • In February 2017, SEIU Local 1107’s former president, Al Martinez, is scheduled to go on trial in civil court over allegations that he misappropriated approximately $50,000 of union funds, according to a separate article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Gov. Brian Sandoval cites lawsuit for PERS Board member’s removal,” October 3, 2016).

So… if any readers are headed to Vegas, keep your eye out for the next three-ring carnival act (also known as the SEIU International Executive Board) at a casino near you!