Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Sexual Harassment Allegations? Don’t Forget Big Labor

From Hollywood to the halls of Congress, sexual harassment allegations have shaken the country. But alleged sexual misconduct isn’t exclusive to the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Don’t forget Big Labor!

In October, we reported on the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) own history of harassment. Back then, Executive Vice President Scott Courtney, who had led the union’s job-killing Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign, resigned from his post after complaints surfaced about his relationships with female staffers. The union also had to fire the leader of its Fight for $15 campaign in Illinois, Caleb Jennings, as part of an investigation into misconduct and abusive behavior. Jennings allegedly grew violent toward his employees, and even reportedly shoved a female subordinate against a door frame. The SEIU placed Mark Raleigh, the Detroit campaign’s top official, on administrative leave for similar reasons.

If only they were the last of the union’s problems. Since then, Fight for $15 organizing director Kendall Fells also resigned due to the ongoing investigation into SEIU harassment. He was joined by Pedro Malave, a California-based SEIU official who was dismissed from two management positions after the alleged victim, Daria Alladio, came forward with a series of complaints. Alladio described women like her as the “ideal prey” for union officials.

Unfortunately, the SEIU isn’t the only union facing sexual misconduct allegations. According to a report from Bloomberg‘s Josh Eidelson:

“The AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 unions that together represent 12.5 million workers, in May settled a grievance brought by its own employees’ union, which accused the group of creating a hostile work environment for employees working on the 2016 election in Pennsylvania. Supervisors there allegedly referred to female staffers as ‘bitches’ and other epithets, according to current and former staff. David Eckstein, a former AFL-CIO official who came out of retirement to help with the federation’s efforts in Pennsylvania, said he was ‘stunned’ by what he described as colleagues ‘deliberately trying to push the women backwards, and out of the state.’”

The AFL-CIO’s chief budget officer, Terry Stapleton, recently resigned after being accused of sending lewd text messages to his secretary. Stapleton allegedly “suggested he could protect her job if she had a sexual relationship with him.” The situation is so grave that Politico recently ran the following headline: “Why Didn’t Unions Stop Sexual Harassment?”

That’s all you need to know.

Categories: AFL-CIOCrime & CorruptionSEIUViolence