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.”