Service Employees International Union (SEIU)



Introduction


The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a North American labor union. Easily recognizable by their purple t-shirts, SEIU members flock to protest conservative and free-market events and to campaign for democratic candidates. SEIU leaders are closely tied to pro-socialist ideals, and critics suggest its members engage in thuggery.

SEIU, through its political action committee (PAC), donates millions of dollars mostly to democratic political candidates each election cycle.


History and mission


In 1921, a coalition of janitorial unions formed the Building Service Employees International Union.[1] The group changed its name in 1968 to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).[2] As of November 2011, SEIU had 2.1 million members, mostly representing the property, public services and health care industries.[3]

On its website, SEUI has said of itself, “[w]e are the Service Employees International Union, an organization of more than 2 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.”[4]


SEIU Policies


  • SEUI claims it supports comprehensive immigration reform.[5] In practice, SEIU officials have condemned President Obama’s efforts to deport illegal immigrants.[6]

  • SEIU has opposed the war in Iraq.[7]

  • SEUI leaders have promoted the man-made global warming position and supported broad efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[8]

  • SEUI strongly supported President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. SEUI supports government-run health care.[9]

  • SEUI has supported the Employee Free Choice Act.[10] According to the Heritage Foundation, the Employee Free Choice Act would “impose binding arbitration for the initial bargaining agreement after organization and increase the penalties for unfair Labor practices committed by employers-but not unions-during organizing drives. Each of these provisions would harm American workers.”[11]

  • SEUI has supported gay marriage.[12]


Political Contributions


Over the years, SEIU’s PAC has donated millions of dollars to Democratic candidates. Democrats are beholden to big labor unions, and not surprisingly advance a pro-labor union agenda. For example, President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill included a buy-American provision that mandated the purchase of certain materials from American shops, despite a possible conflict with international trade agreements.[13] Also, in 2009, the Obama Administration orchestrated the General Motors bankruptcy, making sure the United Auto Workers Union was paid handsomely.[14]

During the 2010 mid-term election cycle, the SEIU PAC donated $15,737,456 to liberal candidates,[15] more than any other outside group spent in support of liberal candidates.[16] In the 2008 election cycle, SEIU spent about $42.4 million to support Barack Obama and other liberal candidates.[17] According to Opensecrets.org, this was the largest expenditure by any independent group in the 2008 election, and “[t]hese independent expenditures were in addition to the more than $73 million that the labor sector contributed directly to candidates’ campaigns (not including contributions to their leadership PACs) and to party committees – a 20 percent increase over contributions in 2004.”[18]

In all the 2008 elections – local, state, and federal – SEIU officials claim to have spent $85 million to support liberal candidates.[19]

In addition to making lavish campaign contributions, SEUI union members reportedly take an Election Day holiday to campaign for candidates and work for them in polling places.[20]


Political Paybacks


After the 2008 election, President Barack Obama’s administration rewarded big labor groups such as SEUI for their past support. Then-SEUI president Andy Stern summed up this close relationship when he proclaimed, “SEIU is on the field, it’s in the White House, it’s in the administration.”[21]

According to the Wall Street Journal, SEIU’s investment paid off as “[t]he Obama administration has appointed union officials to top posts and is backing legislation to make it easier for workers to organize.”[22] Andy Stern, who stepped down as SEIU president in April 2010, helped formulate President Obama’s health care overhaul.[23] Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House over the first ten months of Obama’s presidency.[24]

In 2009, when many Americans protested SEUI and Obama’s federal health care takeover, Stern called these Americans “extremists” and “Teabaggers” who are “anti-American.”[25]

In August 2010, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) was found guilty of lying to federal agents – a felony.[26] FBI wiretaps seemingly show that Blagojevich sought bribes to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. In a trial that implicated many high-ranking officials, the Washington Post reported that the liaison between Blagojevich and the Obama Administration was Andy Stern.[27]

In September 2010, Fox News reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Labor Department were looking into two deals Stern was involved in concerning corrupt practices. In one instance, Stern is alleged to have paid a local leader six figures for doing nothing.[28] In another instance, according to Fox News, the federal government was questioning a book deal in which it is alleged that union employees were pressured to work on and purchase Stern’s book, A Country That Works.[29]

In February 2010, President Obama appointed Stern to the federal debt commission.[30] Obama created the commission by executive order after the Senate rebuffed the suggestion.[31]

In addition to Stern, Obama filled his administration with more SEUI representatives. According to the Wall Street Journal, in May 2009, “Mr. Obama …named Patrick Gaspard, a former SEIU official to be White House political director, and …nominated Craig Becker, associate general counsel to the SEIU and the AFL-CIO to the National Labor Relations Board. Anna Burger, the SEIU’s second highest ranking officer, is a member of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.”[32]

Obama’s pick for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Craig Becker, has been involved in numerous high-profile controversies. Senate Republicans and Democrats initially blocked Becker’s nomination to the post.[33] Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said the appointment was “clear payback by the administration to organized labor.”[34]

Becker has said he will not recuse himself from cases involving local SEUI chapters even though he served as general counsel for the entire union.[35]

Becker believes that employers should be barred from NLRB hearings.[36] According to Big Government, Becker thinks “employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case, even though Board rulings might indirectly affect their duty to bargain.”[37] Furthermore, Becker “views workers’ ability to democratically choose union representation as problematic: [Becker said] ‘Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.’”[38]


SEIU Controversies


SEUI officials have courted controversy:

  • In September 2010, Alejandro Stephens, a former President of SEUI local 660 in Los Angeles, California, was sentenced to four months in prison for “defrauding a non-profit organization in bogus consulting agreements.”[39] Stephens reportedly received a six-figure paycheck for doing nothing.[40]

  • In the Stephens corruption case, his ex-girlfriend, SEIU local president Annelle Grajeda, was placed on leave and eventually resigned for helping Stephens stay on the dole for his no show job.[41]

  • In September 2010, the FBI and Department of Labor were questioning former SEIU President Andy Stern in two separate federal inquiries.[42]

  • James Bryant, an SEIU executive board member, came under fire in 2009 because he “collected double salaries, one as a city transit worker and the other from a charity that receives much of its funding from the labor organization and corporate interests,” according to the Los Angeles Times.[43]

  • Tyron Freeman, president of SEIU’s Los Angeles chapter, was forced to step down after it was discovered that the SEUI “and a related charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by his wife and mother-in-law.”[44] SEUI and the local charity controlled by Freeman also “spent similar sums on a Four Seasons Resorts golf tournament, restaurants such as Morton’s Steakhouse, a Beverly Hills cigar lounge and a Hollywood talent agency.”[45]


SEIU Activism


The following is a sampling of SEIU’s violent attacks:

  • In April 2008, 800 SEIU members stormed a conference of rival union members in a Dearborn, Michigan hotel.[46] Once inside, according to the Huffington Post story, the SEUI members “physically assaulted a group of union members and activists at the door.”[47] The violence was so bad that many of the conference speakers fled for their safety and hotel staff members also tried to flee the SEUI mob.[48]

  • In August 2009, left-wing activists wearing SEIU t-shirts beat Tea Party member Kenneth Gladney.[49] The attackers also yelled racial slurs at Gladney, who is black.[50] Gladney received medical attention to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face.[51] The attackers were arrested and subsequently acquitted in a controversial verdict.[52]


Leadership as of August 2011


Mary Kay Henry, President
Mitch Ackerman, International Executive Vice President
Gerald Hudson, International Executive Vice President
Dave Regan, International Executive Vice President
Tom Woodruff, International Executive Vice President
Elisio Medina, International Secretary – Treasurer
Andy Stern, President Emeritus


Contact Information


Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Telephone: 202-730-7000
Toll-free: 800-424-8592
Website: http://www.seiu.org/




The National Center For Public Policy Research publishes GroupSnoop. The National Center is a non-profit communications and research foundation that supports free-market and pro-Constitution approaches to today’s policy problems. The National Center is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!

For more information about the National Center For Public Policy Research, please visit our website, or read our blog. To sign up for our email list, go here.

To make suggestions, corrections or to give feedback, please email us.

  1. ^ “Our Union: SEIU History,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/a/ourunion/seiu-history.php as of November 8, 2011.
  2. ^ “Our Union: SEIU History,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/a/ourunion/seiu-history.php as of November 8, 2011.
  3. ^ “Our Union: SEIU History,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/a/ourunion/seiu-history.php as of November 8, 2011.
  4. ^ “Our Union: Constitution and Bylaws,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/a/ourunion/constitution-and-bylaws.php as of November 8, 2011.
  5. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  6. ^ Spencer S. Hsu, “SEIU Blasts Obama Immigration Policies,” The Washington Post, April 8, 2010, available at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/04/seiu-blasts-obama-immigration.html as of November 8, 2011.
  7. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  8. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  9. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  10. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  11. ^ James Sherk and Paul Kersey, “How the Employee Free Choice Act Takes Away Workers’ Rights,” The Heritage Foundation, April 23, 2007, available at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2007/04/How-the-Employee-Free-Choice-Act-Takes-Away-Workers-Rights as of November 8, 2011.
  12. ^ “Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions Adopted at the 2008 SEUI Convention,” Service Employees International Union, available at http://www.seiu.org/images/pdfs/Constitutional_Amendments_and_Resolutions_Adopted_at_the_2008_SEIU_Convention.pdf as of November 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Richard A. Epstein, “The Buy American Provisions: Another Stimulus Farce,” Forbes, February 24, 2009, available at http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/23/buy-american-stimulus-opinions-columnists_wto_trade.html as of November 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Mark Trumbull, “In GM’s Bankruptcy, Lessons for Whole US Economy,” Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2009, available at http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2009/0601/in-gms-bankruptcy-lessons-for-whole-us-economy as of November 8, 2011.
  15. ^ Megan Wilson, “Who’s Buying This Election? Close to Half the Money Fueling Outside Ads Comes From Undisclosed Donors,” Open Secrets, November 2, 2010, available at http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/11/whos-buying-this-election.html as of November 8, 2011. Note that $35,101 of the $15,737,456 was donated to liberal Republicans.
  16. ^ Megan Wilson, “Who’s Buying This Election? Close to Half the Money Fueling Outside Ads Comes From Undisclosed Donors,” Open Secrets, November 2, 2010, available at http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/11/whos-buying-this-election.html as of November 8, 2011.
  17. ^ Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Labor and Business Spend Big on Looming Unionization Issue,” Open Secrets, February 26, 2009, available at http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2009/02/labor-and-business-spend-big-o.html as of November 8, 2011.
  18. ^ Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Labor and Business Spend Big on Looming Unionization Issue,” Open Secrets, February 26, 2009, available at http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2009/02/labor-and-business-spend-big-o.html as of November 8, 2011.
  19. ^ Kris Maher, “SEIU Campaign Spending Pays Political Dividends,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243785248026055.html as of November 8, 2011.
  20. ^ Lowell Ponte, “How Socialist Unions Rule the Democratic Party,” Front Page Magazine, July 14, 2004, available at http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=12216 as of November 8, 2011.
  21. ^ Kris Maher, “SEIU Campaign Spending Pays Political Dividends,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243785248026055.html as of November 8, 2011.
  22. ^ Kris Maher, “SEIU Campaign Spending Pays Political Dividends,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243785248026055.html as of November 8, 2011.
  23. ^ Note that although he stepped down as president, Mr. Stern is still a paid SEIU “consultant” as of November 2010.
  24. ^ Susan Davis, “SEIU’s Stern Tops White House Visitor List,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2009, available at http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/10/30/seius-stern-tops-white-house-visitor-list/tab/print/ as of November 8, 2011.
  25. ^ Andy Stern, “Working Women and Men Will Not Be Silenced by Right Wing Attack Dogs; We Will Win the Change America Needs,” SEUI Press Release, September 18, 2009 available at http://www.seiu.org/2009/09/working-women-and-men-will-not-be-silenced-by-right-wing-attack-dogs.php as of November 8, 2011.
  26. ^ Bob Secter and Jeff Coen, “Blagojevich Convicted on 1 of 24 Counts,” Chicago Tribune, August 17, 2010, available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-17/news/ct-ex-governor-rod-blagojevich-verdict_1_blagojevich-attorney-sam-adam-count as of November 8, 2011.
  27. ^ Alec MacGillis, “Union Official Allegedly Liaison Between Governor, Obama Team,” The Washington Post, December 10, 2008, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/09/AR2008120903057.html as of November 8, 2011.
  28. ^ See supra section “SEUI Corruption.”
  29. ^ “FBI Questioning Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern,” Foxnews – Politics, September 28, 2010, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/28/fbi-investigating-ex-seiu-president-andy-stern/ as of November 8, 2011.
  30. ^ Eric Zimmermann, “Obama Names Labor Leader to Fiscal Commission,” The Hill, February 26, 2010, available at http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/83889-obama-names-labor-leader-to-fiscal-commission as of November 8, 2011.
  31. ^ Eric Zimmermann, “Obama Names Labor Leader to Fiscal Commission,” The Hill, February 26, 2010, available at http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/83889-obama-names-labor-leader-to-fiscal-commission as of November 8, 2011.
  32. ^ Kris Maher, “SEIU Campaign Spending Pays Political Dividends,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243785248026055.html as of November 8, 2011.
  33. ^ Scott Wilson, “Obama Uses Recess Appointments to Fill 15 Posts,” The Washington Post, March 28, 2010, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/27/AR2010032703085.html as of November 8, 2011.
  34. ^ Scott Wilson, “Obama Uses Recess Appointments to Fill 15 Posts,” The Washington Post, March 28, 2010, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/27/AR2010032703085.html as of November 8, 2011.
  35. ^ Alec MacGillis, “Republicans Seek NLRB Member Becker’s Recusal,” The Washington Post, August 17, 2010, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/16/AR2010081605082.html as of November 8, 2011.
  36. ^ Alec MacGillis, “Republicans Seek NLRB Member Becker’s Recusal,” The Washington Post, August 17, 2010, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/16/AR2010081605082.html as of November 8, 2011.
  37. ^ Brian Johnson, “Why You Should Know About Craig Becker (and Why You Need to Be Worried),” Big Government, February 3, 2010, available at http://biggovernment.com/brjohnson/2010/02/03/why-you-should-know-about-craig-becker-and-why-you-need-to-be-worried/ as of November 8, 2011.
  38. ^ Brian Johnson, “Why You Should Know About Craig Becker (and Why You Need to Be Worried),” Big Government, February 3, 2010, available at http://biggovernment.com/brjohnson/2010/02/03/why-you-should-know-about-craig-becker-and-why-you-need-to-be-worried/ as of November 8, 2011.
  39. ^ “FBI Questioning Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern,” Foxnews – Politics, September 28, 2010, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/28/fbi-investigating-ex-seiu-president-andy-stern/ as of November 8, 2011.
  40. ^ “FBI Questioning Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern,” Foxnews – Politics, September 28, 2010, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/28/fbi-investigating-ex-seiu-president-andy-stern/ as of November 8, 2011.
  41. ^ Paul Pringle, “L.A. County Fires Former Union Chief for Failing to Return to Work,” Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2009, available at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/07/local/me-stephens7 as of November 8, 2011.
  42. ^ “FBI Questioning Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern,” Foxnews – Politics, September 28, 2010, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/28/fbi-investigating-ex-seiu-president-andy-stern/ as of November 8, 2011.
  43. ^ Paul Pringle, “Finances of charity run by SEIU official scrutinized,” Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2009, available at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-union11-2009mar11,0,1928028.story as of November 8, 2011.
  44. ^ Paul Pringle, “SEIU Official Steps Aside in Inquiry,” Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2008, available at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/21/local/me-union21 as of November 8, 2011.
  45. ^ Paul Pringle, “SEIU Finance Inquiry Spreads,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2008, available at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/26/local/me-union26 as of November 8, 2011.
  46. ^ Deborah Burger, SEIU’s Latest Disgrace -- Violent Attack on Michigan Meeting of Union Members and RNs,” Huffington Post, April 13, 2008, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-burger/seius-latest-disgrace_b_96399.html as of November 8, 2011.
  47. ^ Deborah Burger, SEIU’s Latest Disgrace -- Violent Attack on Michigan Meeting of Union Members and RNs,” Huffington Post, April 13, 2008, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-burger/seius-latest-disgrace_b_96399.html as of November 8, 2011.
  48. ^ Deborah Burger, SEIU’s Latest Disgrace -- Violent Attack on Michigan Meeting of Union Members and RNs,” Huffington Post, April 13, 2008, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-burger/seius-latest-disgrace_b_96399.html as of November 8, 2011.
  49. ^ Doug Moore, “Conservative Group Rebukes NAACP in the Beating of Black Man at Forum,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 18, 2009, available at http://www.stltoday.com/news/article_7d7208a5-5307-5695-b299-f6273e32a52f.html as of November 8, 2011.
  50. ^ Doug Moore, “Conservative Group Rebukes NAACP in the Beating of Black Man at Forum,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 18, 2009, available at http://www.stltoday.com/news/article_7d7208a5-5307-5695-b299-f6273e32a52f.html as of November 8, 2011.
  51. ^ Doug Moore, “Conservative Group Rebukes NAACP in the Beating of Black Man at Forum,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 18, 2009, available at http://www.stltoday.com/news/article_7d7208a5-5307-5695-b299-f6273e32a52f.html as of November 15, 2010.
  52. ^ Jim Hoft, “SEIU Goons Lied – Justice Died… Witness to Gladney Beating Speaks Out After Controversial Verdict,” Gateway Pundit, July 13, 2011, available at http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/07/seiu-thugs-lied-justice-died-witness-to-gladney-beating-speaks-out-after-controversial-verdict/ as of August 4, 2011.