Friday, November 3, 2017

Two More SEIU Directors Depart amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

Scott Courtney

Two more directors of SEIU’s "Fight for $15" campaign are gone, according to Bloomberg and BuzzFeed.

Kendall Fells, who was the “National Organizing Director” and “one of the top national leaders of SEIU’s ‘Fight for $15’ campaign,” has resigned, according to the November 2 articles. (Links to the articles are below.) 

In SEIU’s 2016 financial records, Fells is listed as a “Deputy Organizing Director” with an annual pay of $146,740.

Meanwhile, Mark Raleigh, who directed the campaign’s Detroit office, was fired. On October 23, SEIU placed him on administrative leave.

And… it sounds like more firings may be coming down the pike. Here’s what an SEIU spokesperson told Bloomberg:
“These personnel actions are the culmination of this stage of the investigation which brought to light the serious problems related to abusive behavior towards staff, predominantly female staff.”

The SEIU spokesperson’s spin -- that these problems were only “brought to light” during the current investigation -- contradicts reports from SEIU staffers who say the abusive treatment of women staffers has been an open secret inside of SEIU for some time.

Scott Courtney -- who was the top director of SEIU’s "Fight for $15" campaign -- reportedly had sexual liaisons with multiple women staffers who then received promotions, according to sources cited by both Bloomberg and BuzzFeed .

Courtney was suspended from SEIU after he eloped to Europe with an SEIU female staffer. He resigned days after being suspended by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

Courtney’s departure is significant. He was one of SEIU’s top international officials, serving as an Executive Vice President and a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

Altogether, four top national leaders of SEIU’s "Fight for $15" campaign have now resigned or been fired in amidst a growing sexual harassment scandal. On October 23, Caleb Jennings -- the director of the campaign’s Chicago office and a former top staffer at Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW -- was fired.  

In an e-mail to BuzzFeed, Jennings seemed to echo the reports of SEIU staffers who say the abusive treatment of women staffers has been a longtime, open secret inside SEIU. He told Bloomberg:
“President Mary Kay Henry should focus on the systemic abuse that has been going on within the institution, and hold accountable not just the perpetrators, but the many who have been complicit.”

Jennings told Bloomberg he denied any wrongdoing... but he nonetheless appears to refer to himself and his fellow campaign directors as “perpetrators” of “systemic abuse that has been going on within [SEIU].”

Not too bright, right?

Sounds like “Caleb the Creepy Bathroom Monitor” should watch a few more episodes of Perry Mason before he starts talking to the press about his culpability.

Here are links to yesterday’s to press stories:
Josh Eidelson, “SEIU Ousts Senior Leaders for Abusive Behavior Toward Women,” Bloomberg, November 2, 2017. 
Cora Lewis, “The Organizing Director of The Fight For 15 Has Resigned Amid Harassment Investigation,” BuzzFeed News, November 2, 2017.