Friday, March 29, 2019

Guess Who's Back? Shady Rickman... Again. WTF!?

In 2008, Rickman Jackson became a household name across Southern California after the Los Angeles Times revealed he’d stolen more than $30,000 from the low-wage homecare members of SEIU Local 2015.

At the time, Jackson served as the “Chief of Staff” of the union’s president, Tyrone Freeman. Together, they stole thousands of dollars from the union’s members. Jackson personally accompanied Tyrone on union-funded adventures to “the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills for $175 glasses of cognac” and other felonious funfests, including Freeman’s union-funded wedding at a Hawaiian resort.

Freeman was sentenced to 33 months in a federal prison. And Jackson was stripped of his union position.

What’s the latest?

SEIU Local 2015 -- the scene of Rickman’s corruption -- just hired Rickman as the Director of its Organizing Department, according to a source inside SEIU Local 2015.


Union officials reportedly announced Jackson’s hiring during a member conference call on February 25, 2019. Tasty’s source provides the following details:
His hiring was announced in a member conference call that takes place every Monday. This particular call, on February 25, made no mentioned of his hiring until the end of the call, with no discussion for members. The following week, April Verrett, president of 2015, discussed the hiring of Rickman where several members stated their opposition to his hiring because of what happened with Tyrone. Make no mistake, April did not say what Rickman did and only classified his actions as an error like a clerical mistake, because Rickman signed something he shouldn't have signed. She tried to justify his hiring as part of the union's Restorative Justice agenda, as if Rickman's corruption could compare to racist policies that make millions of people of color criminals rather than Rickman stealing from home care workers. Members were also angry there was no transparency because the executive board did not about this hiring, much less a discussion. April lied when she said the decision to hire Rickman was also because it was hard to find a director for external organizing. She said the union had been looking for 18 months for a director to fill the vacancy but the director had actually left around September 2018. When she was told Rickman had not re-paid the local, she denied this but did not provide any evidence. She said she would provide the evidence at a later time and to the member who asked instead of the general membership.

For those who may have forgotten the details of Rickman’s corruption, reporter Paul Pringle described them in a 2008 Los Angeles Times article that detailed the findings of an investigation led by former state Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp and an SEIU audit.

Freeman steered vast amounts of union money into union-created nonprofit organizations, which then used fake transactions to deposit cash into the pockets of Tyrone and others. One of these nonprofit organizations -- the Long-Term Care Housing Corp -- made lump-sum payments to Freeman while also paying Rickman $2,500 a month to supposedly “lease” Rickman’s personal home to serve as the organization’s offices. All told, Rickman pocketed $33,500 from this scam.

(Paul Pringle, “SEIU accuses local union leader of misusing funds,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2008.)

In October of 2008, SEIU stripped Rickman of his position and “exiled” him to Canada while keeping him on payroll. (Paul Pringle, “SEIU leader loses post over scandal,” Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2008.)

What idiot at SEIU would hire someone who stole tens of thousands of dollars from the union’s own hard-working members?

Its mind boggling, right?

SEIU’s leaders are clearly pathetic, but this level of corruption and disdain for its members is shocking even to those of us who’ve waded neck-deep through purple muck and mire for years.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Staffer: SEIU-UHW and Dave Regan to Face Lawsuit over Harassment and Retaliation

Here’s the latest on the SEIU-UHW staffer who, during an interview published on March 2, 2019, made explosive allegations that SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has had sexual relations with SEIU-UHW members and staffers, is often drunk on the job, and carries out campaigns of retaliation against staffers and members who raise criticisms.

On March 6, SEIU-UHW fired the staffer, Njoki Woods, “less than 24 hours after [she] was interrogated by SEIU Chief of Staff Greg Pullman about her interview with Payday Report,” according to a new article in PayDay Report

The article continues:
Woods says that she intends to sue over her firing. She says that she has plenty of witnesses that can back her story of retaliation.
Since the publication of her interview with Payday Report, she says additional people have come forward to her with stories of abuse within SEIU-UHW. Woods says that she intends to help organize folks to fight back against what she says as a toxic culture within the union.
“I am doing exactly what they trained me to do, I am standing up for myself,” says Woods.
For years, Woods says that she has suffered health problems, nausea, and anxiety attacks as a result of the abuse she says that she suffered within SEIU, but this morning when she woke up expecting to be fired, the symptons all of a sudden disappered.
“I feel good. I feel like I have broken away from this abusive household and I don’t have to keep abuse hidden and that feels really good” says Woods.  “I thought that I would be afraid. I thought I would be nervous and I don’t feel like that. I feel like I have freed from myself from an abusive father or an abusive husband.”

Readers’ comments posted alongside the article expressed support for Woods, a 42-year-old woman who began working as an organizer for SEIU-UHW in 2015. One comment reads as follows:
I personally worked alongside Njoki, she is a great organizer and a sweet person. The internal staff motto of UHW is “UHW is where great organizers go to die” – and they sure live up to it. Glad I got away. Stay strong Njoki!!!!!!

Another states:
As a former employee of the organization I think it’s far past time to file a class action suit sexual discrimination sexism racial discrimination racially disparaging remarks as a former organizer with in the organization I can attest and be would be more than willing to I’ve worked at UHW for over 10 years

If Woods files a lawsuit, it will be the second one featuring allegations that connect Regan to sexual misconduct and retaliation against whistleblowers.

Will Mary Kay Henry do the right thing by taking action against Regan, who also serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board?

One would hope so.

After the #MeToo movement emboldened SEIU staffers to step forward with their own stories about sexual harassment and misconduct inside the purple union, Henry was forced to remove a number of staffers following investigations.

In late 2017, Henry announced the formation of an external advisory group that was supposed to determine what practices SEIU can enact in order to stop sexual abuse within the union. She recruited high-profile women to make up the advisory group, including Cecilia Muñoz, former White House Domestic Policy Council director; Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center; and employment attorney Debra Katz, founding partner of law firm Katz Marshall & Banks.

At the time, an SEIU spokesperson announced:
“SEIU is deeply committed at every level of our union to ensuring that our workplace environment reflects our values, and that all staff is respected, their contributions are valued and their voices are heard.”

Meanwhile, SEIU has rightfully criticized big businesses for turning a blind eye to sexual harassment inside the workplace. For example, SEIU is working with fast-food workers to confront sexual harassment. SEIU worked with women fast-food workers who recently stood up in silent protest during a presentation by McDonalds chief communicator at an event sponsored by Politico. Meanwhile, women janitors in commercial office buildings have staged protests against sexual harassment and assaults they suffer on the job.

Will Mary Kay Henry “walk the talk” by launching an investigation into the allegations about Regan?

Or will Henry and her panel of experts turn a blind eye to allegations against one of SEIU’s own board members?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Workers at Purple Palace Vote to Strike

Check this out. Earlier today, Dave Jamieson, a reporter from the Huffington Post, reported the following on his Twitter feed:
Wow. Workers at @SEIU headquarters have authorized a strike against the union. They say SEIU is outsourcing union work to non-union contractors (!). The workers are represented by @OPEIU
A couple of hours later, Jamieson reported this:
More on this: Shop steward David Hoskins tells me SEIU wants to impose a two-tier system in which new hires would be easier to lay off. Union also wants to retain ability to contract out work. Employees voted down SEIU's contract offer 87% to 13. 92% voted to authorize strike
This afternoon, he published an article on Huffington Post. Here's a link:  Dave Jamieson, "Union Employees Authorize A Strike Against Their Own Union," Huffington Post, March 12, 2019.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

SEIU-UHW Staffer: ‘Dave Regan Slept with Union Staffers and Members, Bullies Critics’

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan

Payday Report yesterday published explosive allegations that SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan has had sexual relations with SEIU-UHW members and staffers, is often drunk on the job, and carries out campaigns of retaliation against staffers and members who raise criticisms. (Mike Elk, “EXCLUSIVE: SEIU VP Dave Regan Accused of Sexual Misconduct & Retaliating Against Whistleblowers,” Payday Report, March 1, 2019)   

She also says SEIU-UHW officials make backroom deals with management and sometimes instruct Union Representatives, who are supposed to defend the rights of workers on the job, instead to work in the interests of companies and bosses. 

For example, she alleges that SEIU-UHW officials pressured her to be soft on employers. If SEIU-UHW officials consider a rank-and-file worker to be too militant or if the worker criticized SEIU-UHW’s leadership, then SEIU-UHW leaders work secretly with the worker’s boss to have the worker fired, she says.

The allegations in the Payday Report article are made by Njoki Woods, a 42-year-old woman who joined SEIU-UHW’s staff in 2015 after having been a rank-and-file member of SEIU-UHW for a decade. Woods formerly was a Certified Nursing Assistant and Unit Secretary at Riverside Community Hospital. According to the article, she remains on the union’s staff today.

In other direct quotes in the article, Woods describes a toxic, corrupt, and “cultish” culture inside SEIU-UHW. Conformity is valued by SEIU-UHW officials and those who report abuse or who express criticism are targeted with retaliation and bullying, she says. In addition, she describes a culture of sexual favors where people have sex with union officials in order to get ahead.

Woods’ allegations mirror those of other members and staffers. For example, Regan is a named in a lawsuit in Alameda County (Calif.) in which a former SEIU-UHW staffer, Mindy Sturge, alleges that Regan and one of his top staffers, Marcus Hatcher, carried out sexual misconduct and retaliation against union staffers.

The following are excerpts from yesterday’s article in Payday Report. Here’s a link to the full article.

Payday Report has learned that not only has Regan been accused of covering up sexual misconduct, but he is now being accused of sexual misconduct himself and retaliating against whistleblowers.
“It was widely discussed amongst members that he had sexual relations with members and staff,” says Woods.
Woods says that the example set by Regan’s frequent drinking and personal sexual misconduct created a toxic culture where many felt pressure to have sex in order to get ahead.
“It’s a sexual culture—it was all okay,” says Wood. ”The culture at the time was everybody was having sex with everybody. That’s just the culture—sexual favors—that’s how people got ahead there”…
“He drinks all the time, everybody knows it,” says Woods who says she smelled alcohol on Regan’s breath many times during the work day. “He was always drunk—it was just the norm.”
SEIU-UHW did not immediately respond for a request for comment when reached late on Thursday…
Many say that the toxic workplace culture of SEIU-UHW stems from the hostile takeover of the local union by Regan and engineered by the top leadership of the international D.C. headquarters of SEIU in 2009.
“It’s a cultish type environment. When you go in, you feel great, you feel like you are a part of something big,” says Woods.  “You feel really good until you start getting into these robotic type of conversations, there is nothing genuine. It’s these robotic type of conversations meant to conform you…Its like they want to program you, you have to be as a mean as them”.
…Woods says that she felt pressure from SEIU not to fight management too much and that sometimes SEIU would even instruct her to get a member fired if they questioned SEIU’s lack of militancy; instructions, which Woods says she refused.
After getting hired by SEIU in the spring of 2015, she says she felt herself getting bullied almost immediately…
She says some union staffers also mocked a union staffer Mustafa “Hawk” Tahjuddin, who committed suicide in 2012 after leaving a note saying that pressure from the union pushed him over the edge….
In December of 2017, Woods says that Regan warned staffers at an executive board meeting against speaking out against sexual misconduct after one of Regan’s top staffers, Marcus Hatcher, was fired as a result of sexual misconduct allegations.
“Dave Regan was standing on the stage and they put all these numbers to these attorneys and he said ‘if you have an issue of sexual harassment then you can contact these attorneys, but you better damn well know that if you bring up allegations against us, you are coming up against a million dollar organization and we will come after you’,” says Wood…
“I thought the organization believed in the labor movement and that’s not the case,” says Woods.  “It’s not about the labor movement for Dave Regan, it’s about power and control or Dave Regan. It’s not about members and I’m not comfortable with that because I am lying to these people.”