Friday, September 7, 2018

Press: “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally”

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan is getting more attention in the news… this time for allegations that he and other top SEIU-UHW officials engaged in harassment against women inside the union.

On August 21, Payday Report published an article detailing the latest developments in a lawsuit filed by Mindy Sturge against SEIU-UHW and Marcus Hatcher. Sturge first filed the lawsuit in May, but filed an updated and amended suit in July in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court. (Mike Elk, “Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed Against SEIU Prez’s Top Ally,” Payday Report, August and 21, 2018)

Until recently, Hatcher directed SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division and served on the union’s Executive Board and Executive Committee. He was one of Regan’s top allies. Sturge, a “Coordinator” in SEIU-UHW’s Kaiser Division, was directly supervised by Hatcher.

Here’s an excerpt from the article. A full copy of the revised lawsuit is below.
Payday Report has learned that one of the largest Service Employees International Union locals in the country, California-based SEIU-UHW, has been sued in Alameda, California for sexual misconduct and assault committed by a top SEIU official against one of its former organizers. The lawsuits, obtained by Payday Report, accuses SEIU Vice President Dave Regan, who also serves as President of SEIU-UHW, of engaging in sexual misconduct…
SEIU-UHW has long faced criticism as one of the most corrupt and undemocratic union locals in the country; leading many #metoo activists to believe that the undemocratic culture within the union has bred a culture where misogyny and sexual misconduct flourish…
Now a lawsuit filed by a former SEIU staffer, Mindy Sturge, accuses SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan and former SEIU-UHW Kaiser Permanente Division Director Marcus Hatcher, of sexual misconduct and retaliation against Sturge for reporting it.
The lawsuit filed by Sturge also accuses SEIU-UHW of knowingly hiring organizers such as [Pedro] Malave who have been accused of sexual misconduct in other parts of the union.
According to the lawsuit: “Sturge and other women employees, and women union members were the subjects of inappropriate remarks that addressed their looks, their bodies, and their availability/interest in relationships. Sturge was also subjected to offensive touching, and she and others were discussed in inappropriate texts and in comments heard by or related to Sturge”.
Sturge reported the comments to SEIU-UHW management on several occasions, but no investigation was undertaken until Sturge was physically and sexually assaulted by Hatcher in September of 2017.
When Sturge finally did report the incidents, the lawsuit alleges that Regan, who was responsible for investigating all claims as President of the SEIU-UHW, verbally abused and berated Sturge in front of other staff members.
In November of 2017, Hatcher was reportedly fired from SEIU-UHW for violating SEIU’s non-fraternization policy, but the union took no disciplinary action against him for engaging in alleged sexual misconduct and assault. Nor was an action taken against SEIU UHW President Dave Regan for harassment of Sturge.
During this time period, the lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and his allies made social media posts and verbal comments accusing Sturge of lying about the story and trying to shake down Hatcher and the union for money after engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with Hatcher.
The lawsuit alleges that that “SEIU-UHW and its agents furthered the false and defamatory narrative about Sturge by announcing to others, both internally and externally, that Hatcher was fired for violation of the union’s non-fraternization policy as opposed to Hatcher having violated SEIU-UHW’s anti-harassment policy and/or having assaulted Sturge. This gave rise to the implication that Sturge and Hatcher had a consensual relationship or that his termination was the sole result of his consensual relationship(s) with other union staff and/or members”.

The lawsuit alleges that Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers waged a campaign on Facebook and other social media designed to trash Sturge’s reputation and to lie about what happened. Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
Among other things, these posts claim that Sturge had lied about the sexual assault by Hatcher, that she had “a consensual affair” with Hatcher, that she had ruined Hatcher’s life and career, that she is a “liar and manipulator,” that she is “a cheat and a home wrecker,” that she traveled to Los Angeles to further her alleged consensual affair with Hatcher, that she would go “bar-hopping” with Hatcher, and that she had reported Hatcher’s conduct to SEIU-UHW solely for the purpose of obtaining a monetary settlement…

According to the lawsuit, all of these statements are false and originated from Hatcher and/or other SEIU-UHW staffers. The latest version of the lawsuit says that when some of these Facebook post attacking Sturge were shown to Greg Pullman (SEIU-UHW’s Chief of Staff), he called the posts “disgusting.”

If the lawsuit proceeds to trial, says Payday Report, it could produce “volumes of evidence” that could shine a light on why top SEIU officials like Regan “were allowed to get away with sexual misconduct and retaliation against those who reported it.”