Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

  1. New Details Emerge in the Misconduct Investigation into Shawn Fain and the UAW

    Last month, the UAW’s court-appointed corruption monitor revealed that he was investigating UAW President Shawn Fain over allegations of misconduct, retaliation, and for “slow-rolling” documents needed for an investigation. 

    Now, a new federal court filing from shows that UAW Vice President Rich Boyer alleged that he was removed from overseeing the union’s Stellantis department after his “refusal to accede to demands by [the President] and his agents that [the Vice President] take actions . . . that would have benefitted [the President’s] domestic partner and her sister.”

    The filing also detailed the impact of the UAW’s “slow-rolling” of the investigation:

    “… The Union has effectively stalled the Monitor’s work… These investigations would likely have been resolved by now had the union cooperated with the monitor’s requests.”

    While these allegations are troubling enough, there’s also evidence that the removal of assignments from Secretary-Treasurer Mock and Vice President Boyer have had a significant impact on the UAW’s future ability to root out corruption. 

    The Monitor released his 10th status report on July 12, which detailed how these recent allegations and dismissals may have contributed to a culture of fear within the union. 

    “… These events have been perceived by Union staff — that already has significant concerns about a ‘culture of fear of retribution’ — as confirmation that even the highest-ranked Union officials can be subject to retaliation. 

    Specifically, reports to the Monitor’s Hotline from Union staff have cited the actions taken against the Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President as driving retaliation fears that reporting alleged abuses might lead to retribution from the President’s Office.” 

    A recent third-party audit of the union’s culture, which was recommended by the monitor, confirmed these concerns. The audit found that 40% percent of UAW’s staff members would decline to report acts of misconduct over fear of retaliation.

    As the investigation continues to unfold, these monitor reports raise a troubling question: How different is Fain’s “new” UAW from the old one? 

    Categories: UAW
  2. Billboard Outside RNC in Milwaukee Calls Teamsters ‘Two-Faced’

    Today, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) announced a set of billboards that are posted outside major inroads to the Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The billboards call Teamsters President Sean O’Brien and his union “Two-Faced.”

    The billboards call out the Teamsters for requesting a speaking slot at the RNC in a spirit of bipartisanship, when a Union Facts analysis shows 99 percent of the union’s political advocacy spending has historically gone to the left.

    One speaking engagement doesn’t change the facts,” said CUF communications director Charlyce Bozzello. “Ninety-nine percent of the Teamsters’ advocacy dollars go to left-wing causes and workers whose dues fund this partisan posturing aren’t being fooled.”

    The billboard will run from now through the end of the convention and comes on the heels of CUF’s recent report exposing a history of one-sided donations within the union.

    Highlights from the report include:

    • 99 percent of the union’s political advocacy spending went to left-leaning organizations and initiatives.
    • Teamsters spent over $9 million on left-leaning advocacy.
    • The union sent over $2.5 million to the DNC and aligned organizations.

    The report and billboard are a part of CUF’s ongoing education campaign to ensure the public and union members have access to transparent information regarding union spending.

    Categories: Teamsters
  3. NEW REPORT: Teamsters Spent Over $9 Million on Left-Leaning Advocacy Between 2019-2022

    Today, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) released a new report on how the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union used member dues to fund its largely one-sided political agenda.

    The data comes on the heels of Teamsters President Sean O’Brien requesting speaking slots at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer in an effort to portray a bipartisan union.

    CUF examined the Teamsters’ LM-2 financial filings from 2019 – 2022 with the Office of Labor and Management Standards (OLMS) to offer a transparent look into the union’s financial priorities and how it spends members’ dues dollars. The full report is available here.

    Highlights from the report include:

    • 99 percent of the union’s advocacy spending went to left-leaning organizations and initiatives. 
    • Teamsters spent over $9 million on left-leaning advocacy;
    • Teamsters sent over $2.5 million to the DNC and aligned organizations;
    • Teamsters sent over $4 million to Berlin Rosen, LTD and Catalist, LLC – PR firms that frequently work with unions and advocates on the left, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Fight For $15, and Planned Parenthood;
    • Almost $2 million was sent to the economic left, including the Economic Policies Institute, Jobs with Justice, and the National Employment Law Project.

    The report is part of CUF’s ongoing education effort to ensure the public and union members have access to transparent information regarding union spending. 

    Categories: Teamsters
  4. SEIU-UHW’s Anti-Israel Leadership

    Leadership at the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) has been under fire for allegations of toxic work culture and sexual misconduct. But it looks like the union’s issues also extend to anti-Israel rhetoric from its top ranks.

    Recently discovered material on the union’s leadership and its staff suggest the large SEIU local carries significant anti-Israel sentiment. Discovered material ranges from reposting anti-Israel conspiracies to signing a petition that laments the world’s only Jewish state as the “genocidal entity known as Israel.”

    SEIU-UHW Division Director Chokri BenSaid – who has been accused of sexual misconduct – is the most prominent anti-Israel activist at the union. In March 2024, BenSaid reposted an anti-Israel conspiracy theory on his Facebook account claiming that Israel is occupying the entire world. 

    Previously, BenSaid failed to issue a social media response to the slaughter of Israeli’s on Oct. 7, 2023, but was quick to call out Israel’s response to the attack by labeling it a “terrorist” country. 

    BenSaid is unfortunately not the only anti-Israel advocate at the SEIU-UHW. Executive Board Member Gabriel Montoya has also shared his radical views on the issue. 

    Montoya took part in a protest at the SEIU’s convention in May, where raucous protesters accused Vice President Kamala Harris of “funding genocide.”

    Montoya even spread a false conspiracy theory that Jesus was a Palestinian, not a Jew. 

    Just days prior, Montoya posted the anti-Israel slogan, “From the river to the sea!!!”

    In addition to BenSaid and Montoya, at least 12 SEIU-UHW staff signed on to a movement called “Purple Up 4 Palestine.” The group supports Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and refers to the country as the “genocidal entity known as Israel”

    Purple Up 4 Palestine also referred to Hamas terrorists as “Palestinians fighting genocide” and claimed that any allegations of “sexual abuse” against the terrorist group had been debunked and were racist. 

    Statement from Purple Up 4 Palestine:

    “We are also recommending a NO vote to Resolutions #106 & #205. The member-led Resolution #201 takes into account the decades of colonization, occupation, & resistance – while the other resolutions erase history, conflate the colonizer with the colonized, and even repeat debunked, racist claims that Palestinians fighting genocide are sexual abusers.”

    The objectionable language the group took offense to? 

    Resolution #106:

    “We condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7, 2023 that killed over 1,200 Israelis and others, abducted 240 people, and included unconscionable acts of sexual violence and other atrocities.”

     

    Categories: SEIUUncategorized
  5. New Report Exposes SEIU-UHW Controversial Leadership

    A new report by the Center for Union Facts (CUF) dives into years of allegations against the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW). The allegations include but are not limited to sexual harassment at the hands of union leadership and a toxic work environment.

    “SEIU-UHW claims to represent the best interest of healthcare workers. But a closer look into the union suggests it’s anything but a healthy work environment,” said CUF communications director Charlyce Bozzello. “In fact, allegations of a toxic culture filled with bullying and harassment speak to a sickness that’s spreading from the very top of the union. The SEIU’s newest President April Verrett has a duty to weed out bad actors at her union, starting with SEIU-UHW.” 

    “The analysis is part of CUF’s ongoing national education campaign regarding the SEIU. This campaign includes a website UnhealthyUHW.com where information from this report and other details on SEIU-UHW spending can be found. It also features several videos that highlight concerns from real SEIU members about their union. You can see some of the videos here and here.”

    The full report is available here

    Highlights from the report include:

    • Multiple accusations of sexual harassment conducted by union leadership and subsequent alleged retaliation against the accusers
    • Dave Regan (President) has a checkered history, including being accused of assaulting a process server, charged with resisting arrest, and allegedly pushing a California lawmaker
    • Leadership has been accused of fostering an anti-union work environment
    • Over 1 million workers have levied over 500 unfair labor practice complaints against the union

    The report comes as the international SEIU transitions to new leadership under President April Verrett, who has her own controversial history of union busting allegations. 

    Categories: SEIU
  6. UAW Federal Corruption Monitor Launches Investigation Into Shawn Fain

    The recent corruption scandal at the UAW put two former union presidents and several other high-ranking officials behind bars. Now, an independent federal monitor serves as a corruption watchdog for the UAW. His latest report revealed some disturbing allegations against the UAW’s new “reform” president, Shawn Fain.

    In February, the UAW removed secretary-treasurer Margaret Mock from a number of assignments. The monitor’s report revealed Mock alleged her removal was “improperly instigated in retaliation for her refusal or reluctance to authorize certain expenditures of funds at the request of and/or for the benefit of those in the President’s Office.” 

    Several months later, this pattern allegedly repeated itself with UAW Vice President Rich Boyer.

    Boyer was removed from his position as head of the Stellantis department in May, charged with “dereliction of duty” in the face of recent layoffs of UAW members at Stellantis. 

    The monitor’s report, however, tells a different side of the story:

    “Shortly thereafter, the Monitor received allegations from the Vice President and other Union staff that the explanation in the President’s memorandum was pretextual and false, and that the President removed the Vice President’s assignment as retaliation against him for, among other things, refusing to engage in acts of financial misconduct to benefit others.”

    The monitor also reports that the union has undermined his investigation into these charges.

    According to the report: 

    “The Monitor has attempted for months to garner the Union’s cooperation in gathering the information needed to conduct a full investigation, but the Union has effectively slow-rolled the Monitor’s access to requested documents…

    …As of the date of this Report, more than three months after the Monitor’s initial document request, the Union has produced a very small portion (approximately 2,600 documents) of the current potentially relevant pool of approximately 116,000—and with more than 80% of those documents only produced on June 6, 2024, days before the issuance of this Report.” 

    The current investigation is ongoing, and the accuracy of the charges brought by Mock and Boyer remain to be seen. But we should know soon enough – the monitor notes that he may seek intervention by the Court if this “slow-rolling” isn’t resolved within the next few weeks. 

    Categories: UAW
  7. Record UAW Contracts = Record UAW Layoffs

    In 2023, the UAW went on strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers – and brought home what it called a “record contract.” 

    Well the contract broke records alright, it seems to have caused a record number of layoffs. 

    Since the end of the strike in November 2023, over 20,000 UAW members at Big Three facilities have experienced layoffs. 

    Mapped out, the numbers are staggering. Thousands of employees missed paychecks or were forced to find new jobs across five states as automakers cut shifts and pared back production. A 25 percent pay raise sounds good in theory, but if Ford cuts a third of its 150 Lighting shifts at the Rouge to cover that expense, then the auto workers affected may be worse off than they were before the new contract. 

    Although no automaker has escaped unscathed, the blow has fallen hardest on UAW members at Stellantis. Since the UAW and Stellantis came to the new contract agreement, over 1,300 UAW members at the company have permanently lost their jobs, alongside thousands more temporarily laid off as the company tries to control rising labor costs. 

    Here’s what an expert on the automotive industry had to say about the situation: 

    “Marick Masters, a professor emeritus of business at Wayne State University and a UAW expert, said it’s not surprising that Stellantis has sought to cut costs including by trimming its workforce, to make up for the higher labor costs of the new UAW contract. ‘Anybody that didn’t anticipate this coming was being a little bit naive about the realities of business,’ Masters said.”

    Going forward, perhaps Shawn Fain should spend less time on fawning press interviews, and more time actually representing the UAW’s current members. About 20,000 of them sound like they could use it. 

    Categories: UAW
  8. NYT FULL-PAGE AD: Is Shawn Fain America’s Latest Election Denier?

    UAW President Shawn Fain loves to talk about “democracy” – until it doesn’t go his way. 

    In a recent secret ballot vote, workers rejected the UAW at the Mercedes-Benz Alabama plant. But the UAW is disputing the results of its double digit loss. Despite around 90% of eligible workers participating in the union election (for reference, only around 66% of eligible voters voted in our last presidential election) and losing by a 12-point margin, the UAW is calling for a new vote

    It’s an ironic twist for a UAW administration that claims to represent a more democratic new direction.

    In reality, union activists admit they likely had less support at the plant than they publicly claimed: 

    “But in conversations with organizers over the past month who didn’t want to be identified, the concept of a supermajority seemed elusive.”

    Others note that the UAW made several strategic errors in the campaign, and the union lost momentum as it closed in on the vote:

    “In the closing days of our campaign and while being an observer for the election, I noticed very few were still wearing the union hats, buttons, and bracelets that they were so proudly wearing just a couple months prior.” Jeremy Kimbrell, UAW organizer 

    When workers change their minds on a union, it isn’t cause for a new vote. That’s just losing an election, fair and square. 

    In response to this rejection of workplace democracy, the Center for Union Facts took out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling out Shawn Fain’s efforts to overturn election results he doesn’t like. You can see the full ad here. 

    Let’s just hope the National Labor Relations Board respects the will of the voters more than the UAW does. 

    Categories: UAW