The Daily News‘ Juan Gonzalez has the scoop on the financial details surrounding the bitter civil war that engulfed UNITE HERE.
Documents obtained by the Daily News showed that Bruce Raynor, the former general president of UNITE HERE, ordered more than $12 million transferred from the union’s accounts to local chapters loyal to him and outside groups. Raynor appeared to have disbursed the funds without the knowledge of UNITE HERE leader John Wilhelm.
Raynor appears to have ordered substantial wire transfers to various locals and groups to help facilitate the secession:
The internal documents obtained by The News show that in the weeks leading up to the split Raynor ordered several sizable wire transfers without any approval from Wilhelm.
On Jan. 31, for example, he directed that $457,981 be paid from UNITE HERE to The Organizing Group, a political consulting firm with close ties to SEIU. …
Between Jan. 26 and Jan. 31, Raynor ordered another dozen transfers totaling $11.2 million for various UNITE HERE locals around the country. …
On March 6, the day before those locals officially voted to secede, Raynor ordered more a dozen wire transfers sent to them, totaling another $500,000, for “reimbursement of expenditures.”
It turns out that the SEIU-friendly consulting firm, The Organizing Group, arranged mailings and robocalls to UNITE HERE members promoting the Workers United secession campaign.
The pattern of wire transfers follow the events of the UNITE HERE split. On March 7, “dozens of locals that were loyal to Raynor” voted to secede from UNITE HERE and subsequently formed Workers United, which “promptly affiliated” with the SEIU.
Wilhelm charged that “it’s an absolute violation of federal labor law to use members’ own money to foster a secession.” Raynor declined to comment for the Daily News report.
Although troubling, the revelation of the transgressions and tactics of the UNITE HERE civil war is the equivalent of a public service announcement. Voters, legislators, and workers alike can see just how far labor bosses will go to advance their own agendas.