Friday, September 6, 2019

SEIU Local 73 Must Re-Run Officer Election after Feds Find Fault

Next month, SEIU Local 73 will re-run last year’s internal officer election after a federal investigation found that SEIU-backed candidates improperly used union resources during the campaigning. The “re-run” election will be conducted under government supervision.

SEIU Local 73, which represents approximately 25,000 public-sector workers in Illinois and northwestern Indiana, entered into a “voluntary compliance agreement” with the feds to re-run the election, according to the federal Office of Labor Management Standards:
OLMS entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 (located in Chicago, Ill.), concerning its October 23, 2018 election of officers.  The union agreed to conduct new nominations, a new election, and installation for the offices of president, secretary-treasurer, two executive board vice presidents, five vice presidents, and [8] executive board members under OLMS supervision on or before November 22, 2019.  The investigation disclosed that union resources were used when a candidate obtained the union’s membership list and used it to purchase members’ phone numbers to campaign via phone bank.  The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

The announcement was cheered by the “Members leading Members” slate, whose complaint prompted the government investigation.

Last year’s election came after a two-year trusteeship imposed by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry as well as 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.

SEIU’s trustee, Dian Palmer, won last year’s election for president of Local 73 by just 375 votes. The “Members leading Members” slate, which campaigned on returning control of the union to its members, won eight of 30 seats on the union’s Executive Board.

Since the election, SEIU leaders have faced a variety of criticisms over salary increases for top officials, changes to the union’s constitution that eliminated four annual membership meetings, and the arrest of the local’s former president, Christine Boardman, for allegedly “trespassing” when she attended a membership meeting and handed out a leaflet. Boardman said she had a right to attend the meeting since she’s a retiree.

Next month’s elections will be conducted by mail.