9/12/08

Stern preps SEIU embezzlement whitewash

More Andy Stern stories: hereSEIU stories: here

Andy Stern refuses to take responsibility

The bitter feud between the national Service Employees International Union and its Oakland-based local, United Healthcare Workers West, continues to escalate, even after a federal judge threw out SEIU’s lawsuit against UHW’s leaders in late July.

The Washington, D.C.-based SEIU said Monday it’s selected former U.S. Labor Secretary Ray Marshall to act as an “outside hearing officer” in its proposed trusteeship proceedings against longtime UHW President Sal Rosselli and his leadership team. Late last month, SEIU said it planned to undertake a review of “significant evidence that (UHW’s leadership) engaged in a pattern of financial malpractice and fraud” allegedly involving millions of dollars of union funds. “We will not tolerate any action by any leader that harms the interests of our membership,” SEIU President Andy Stern said in a statement at the time.

SEIU wants Marshall to investigate allegations that UHW’s leaders “engaged in a pattern of retaliation, financial malpractice and fraud” — basically the same allegations dismissed in federal court without a hearing by U.S. District Court Judge John Walter. SEIU filed the suit April 29 in federal court in Los Angeles, accusing Rosselli and others of allegedly diverting millions of dollars in UHW funds to an educational fund under their control.

SEIU now wants to put UHW into a trusteeship, replacing the local’s leaders with its own “handpicked appointees,” according to UHW, which represents about 150,000 hospital and long-term care workers in California.

In response to SEIU’s latest moves, UHW organized a Sept. 6 rally in San Jose to oppose what it characterizes as “politically motivated retaliation” against Rosselli and other top local officials. Sadie Crabtree, a UHW spokeswoman, said about 4,000 UHW members participated, including about 2,000 union stewards and other members attending an annual UHW leadership conference in San Jose.

But SEIU says an ongoing lawsuit filed May 20 against Rosselli and team by UHW members makes many of the same allegations as the suit that was dismissed.

(bizjournals.com)

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