Friday, November 2, 2018

At SEIU Local 73, Controversy Follows Ballot Count

The results are in from the internal union election at SEIU Local 73 in Chicago. But the controversy is far from over… with allegations of election misconduct filed just days after the ballot count.

Here’s what’s happening:

On October 23rd, the votes were tallied in the mail-in balloting to elect the union’s top officers and 30-member Executive Board. The election came after a two-year trusteeship imposed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and a 2017 court battle launched by Local 73 members to bring an end to the trusteeship. SEIU’s trusteeship featured a cast of well-known characters, including Eliseo Medina.

Who won the election?

SEIU’s trustee, Dian Palmer. But by just 375 votes. Until recently, Palmer was the president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. She’s also a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board. She beat out Remzi Jaos, a former staff member at Local 73. He’s part of a slate called “Members leading Members” slate, which pledged to return the union to local control.

As far as the election for Local 73’s Executive Board, the “Members leading Members” slate won eight of 30 seats.

Participation in the election was very low. Only 2,300 ballots were cast from the union’s 25,000 members, who work in the public sector in Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Just 6 days after the vote count, the “Members leading Members” slate formally appealed the election. It also plans to file charges with the US Department of Labor over alleged misconduct by SEIU officials during the election, including using the union’s resources to campaign for SEIU’s candidates.

For more details, check out a one-page leaflet from the “Members leading Members” slate as well as the election appeal it filed earlier this week.