Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

An Ugly Day at SEIU HQ

There’s not much worse than bad union leadership hurting their members. After all, hardworking people paying good money out of their paychecks deserve something for their dues. But the chiefs running the Service Employees International Union have found themselves in some sticky situations today.

The bigwigs in DC have been forced to mail a letter to SEIU’s government-employee members in Georgia due to some serious accounting irregularities turned up by an audit. The Macon Telegraph offers these bullet points of concern:

  • The lack of adequate supporting documentation for more than $30,000 of cash withdrawals from the chapter’s local bank account.
  • The lack of adequate supporting documentation for more than $90,000 of hotel, airline, food, telephone and other expenses.
  • $36,000 of vacation pay buyouts that were made without board authorization.

In Ventura County, California, the SEIU bosses faced a major revolt in their public employee domain. A sizable block of 134 members — representing two of three units trying to rid themselves of SEIU — decided to kick the union out, while labor leaders narrowly escaped a decertification vote of the biggest block of members.

Finally, there’s a follow-up to the story of SEIU President Andy Stern selling out his members in California to get a sweetheart deal with nursing home operators. As we’ve noted, the story has exposed a major rift among SEIU leaders, with some members enraged at deals that would help the union but hurt the workers. Today the Bureau of National Affairs Daily Labor Report has the update:

The Service Employees International Union terminates a controversial agreement with a number of California nursing homes, in the wake of union dissatisfaction over the agreement that gave SEIU the right to organize a certain number of homes in exchange for meeting “political benchmarks.” SEIU President Andrew Stern tells BNA the union “walked away” from the agreement. He says under any renegotiation the union would have to receive organizing rights at more homes and would have to be assured that wages and benefits would increase for newly organized workers over a period of time.

Not a great day for leadership of one of the nation’s most visible unions. But as more and more attention follows the cult of Andy Stern, more and more stories like these are likely to appear. You can bet we’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

Categories: Ending Secret Ballots