Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Bloated Budgets and Sagging Membership

    The United Auto Workers (UAW) hit two records last year – the lowest number of active members since the great recession and the highest amount of money spent on staff salaries in that same time period.

    A careful analysis of the UAW’s most recent financial filings with the Department of Labor reveals that the union spent over $86 million on gross salary disbursements to its officers and employees in 2023, while its membership fell to the lowest level since 2009. 

    Laid out on a graph, the numbers are jarring. Today the UAW has over 500 staff members and officers receiving six-figure salaries. Some six-figure-earning union officers even pay their executive assistants six-figure salaries.

    Salary is only part of the story for the UAW’s spending spree. The union’s overall expenses have grown to the nine-figure sum of over $470 million – the highest number digitally recorded by the Department of Labor. This includes millions of dollars spent on lawyers, public relations consultants, and luxury hotels. Last year, the national headquarters even spent $70,000 on a golf outing. 

    This data puts the UAW’s current organizing campaign into a new perspective. With membership declining and salaries exploding, the union needs new members to pay into the system fast. It takes the dues payments of an estimated 80,000 autoworkers to support those staffers and officers alone, which is tough to do with the Big Three laying off workers left and right. Without new paychecks to siphon dues from, those 500+ union staffers making six figures might need to get real jobs. 

    Categories: UAW
  6. SEIU Stands With Anti-Israel Campus Chaos

    The SEIU has decided to inject itself into the Israel debate once again by issuing a statement supporting the protests against Israel currently happening across the country, specifically on college campuses. 

    Columbia University in New York has been a prime location for protesting students. Some of these protesters even barricaded themselves in one of the school buildings. Protesters chanted that Oct. 7th would happen “10,000 more times” and that Oct. 7th was “going to be every day for you.

    President Joe Biden condemned the “blatant antisemitism” as reprehensible and dangerous. The events at Columbia finally ended when students blocked off a school building with metal gates, tables, and chairs before eventually being arrested in a full scale NYPD raid. 

    At UCLA, over one hundred protesters were arrested at an anti-Israel encampment following an hours-long confrontation. Before the final confrontation, UCLA was forced to cancel classes as violence erupted at the encampment between police and protesters donning “helmets, masks and goggles.” When the area was finally cleared, heaps of trash could be seen piled up across the former home of the anti-Israel encampment. 

    If the events described sound unlike anything related to the free speech being described in the SEIU’s X post, you would be correct.

    While the SEIU national X account – formerly Twitter –  has been standing up for these aggressive protesters,  the union’s locals have also been actively holding anti-Israel protests around the country. 

    SEIU 2015 was seen on May 1, 2024, marching to the San Francisco City Hall with Palestinian flags in hand. Reports also indicated that SEIU Local 87 was planning on marching for Palestine the same day.

    Meanwhile, high-profile SEIU Campaign Director Larry Alcoff – whose controversial history was explored by the Washington Free Beacon – has seemingly continued to attend anti-Israel protests, even posting a sign on Facebook that read, “Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Alcoff’s son – who has appeared at the same protests – currently boasts an X account that reads “Death to Zionism.”

    These are not the first instances of anti-Israel activity within the SEIU. Since the terror attack in Israel took place on Oct. 7, 2023, the union has been embroiled in multiple controversies related to the issue. 

    The union was forced to save face by firing its Connecticut executive director’s for claiming “our enemies are not in Gaza, our comrades are in Gaza.” The firing came just days after SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued a poorly worded statement that failed to mention the deaths of over one thousand Israelis. 

    In Nov. 2023, SEIU employees even went as far as to organize a group titled, “Purple Up 4 Palestine.” This group was composed of over 500 SEIU officers and employees who openly supported the anti-semitic boycott, divestment, and sanction movement (BDS) against Israel. 

    When looking at the union’s actions over the last six months, it’s no surprise they seem to be supporting the unruly campus protests that have included antisemitism, violent behavior, and have left the areas harboring these encampments absolutely trashed

     

    Categories: SEIU
  7. Margaritas and Mistreated Temps

    Recently, the UAW’s Stellantis National Council held a meeting. This isn’t news, national councils do need to meet, after all. What is news is the venue they chose for it. Rather than taking a meeting close to home, Shawn Fain, Rich Boyer, the UAW’s local Stellantis officers decamped from a cold Michigan March to the Sheraton Resort and Casino in sunny Puerto Rico for a week by the beach. 

    The Sheraton Puerto Rico is a luxurious spot, offering Puerto Rico’s largest casino, an infinity pool, expensive restaurants, and even catamaran trips. As a cherry on top, it’s all just a few minutes away from the beach! It’s definitely a little expensive, but with so many nice amenities it’s easy to see why the UAW leadership would prefer it to a convention center in Michigan. There isn’t a single Stellantis manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico, but we suppose that’s not important compared to working on a good tan. 

    While the UAW-Stellantis council was soaking up the sun, UAW members with Stellantis were suffering. 

    This year, hundreds of supplemental (temporary) employees working for Stellantis have been laid off, with some estimates expecting thousands to be out of work once layoffs are finished. During the strike against the Big Three, Shawn Fain promised to “end the abuse of temps.” The UAW even bragged about how much they “won” for temps at Stellantis when trying to ratify their contract.

    Your UAW national negotiators went into this round of negotiations focused on ending the abuse of Supplemental Employees. SEs have helped make Stellantis billions, but they have not been rewarded for their work. This agreement changes that…  they will finally be put on a real path to seniority employee status. But even before gaining full-time status, SEs will receive better benefits, more rights and more respect.

    Mass layoffs are a funny way of putting temps on “a real path to seniority employee status.” 

    Perhaps UAW leadership should spend more time trying to keep their promises and less time drinking margaritas at a Puerto Rico resort. 

    Categories: UAW
  8. TV Commercial Slams SEIU for $20 Minimum Wage Hike

    Today, the Center for Union Facts released a new ad highlighting the devastating impacts of California’s new $20 minimum wage for fast food workers, which goes into effect Monday. It will run in the coming days as a television and digital ad buy in the Los Angeles and Sacramento markets.

    The tongue-in-cheek video features fast food workers “thanking” the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for the damaging and inconsistent law, leading to higher prices, business closures, and layoffs. In fact, California restaurants are already killing jobs and cutting hours ahead of the increase.

    The SEIU was behind the bill that created the California Fast Food Council as well as the new $20 wage—a hike that continues to be championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom despite fierce opposition from impacted workers, employers, and economists. 

    The California Fast Workers Union is based in Washington, D.C., not California; it’s not a legal labor union and can’t bargain with employers; and it represents far less than one percent of the state’s fast food workforce. For more on CUF’s take on the SEIU’s fake union, read our recent OC Register op-ed here.  

    A CUF survey of California restaurant workers released in March found that the workforce isn’t aligned with the SEIU’s agenda. We asked restaurant workers what they thought of the $20 wage hike and its potential consequences. Below are some key findings:

    • 60 percent said it would lead to higher prices; 
    • 51 percent expected fewer shifts or hours scheduled;
    • 40 percent anticipated staffing cuts;
    • 39 percent predict fewer new highers.

    The SEIU alleges that restaurant employees face an abusive environment, and do not feel they are heard at their place of work. The same survey asked these workers to share their experiences working in the restaurant industry. Here’s what they had to say: 

    • 92% enjoy working at their restaurant; 
    • 76% feel that their concerns are heard; 
    • 95% feel safe at work; 
    • 88% have the tools they need to solve problems at work.
    Categories: SEIU