While not on a par with what is happening in Hollywood, the SEIU has its own sexual harassment scandal going on. Buzzfeed reports that one union leader has been fired and another resigned after complaints about their interactions with female staffers:
Kendall Fells, organizing director of the Fight for 15 minimum wage campaign, resigned Thursday morning, a source within the union confirmed, and Mark Raleigh, the head of the campaign’s Detroit chapter, was fired. Fells and Raleigh did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“These personnel actions are the culmination of this stage of the investigation, which brought to light the serious problems related to abusive behavior towards staff, predominantly female staff,” Wali said…
More than a dozen current and former staffers interviewed by BuzzFeed News said complaints about top-level staff on the Fight for 15 were an open secret, and that complaints about abusive behavior by organizers who reported to top strategist Courtney led to no action. In October, the union suspended Courtney, following his marriage to a union employee. Sources said he also had a history of dating subordinates.
Fells and Raleigh are the 3rd and 4th SEIU leaders to be ousted since last week. Scott Courtney, leader of the union’s $19 million “Fight for $15” campaign, resigned after a whole host of allegations surfaced against him. Buzzfeed reported last week:
“This morning, President Mary Kay Henry accepted Scott Courtney’s resignation as an elected officer and member of SEIU,” wrote Sahar Wali, spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union, in an email to BuzzFeed News.
“This comes a week after she suspended him from his assigned duties based on preliminary information that surfaced through an internal investigation launched to look into questions about to potential violations of our union’s anti-nepotism policy, efforts to evade our Code of Ethics and subsequent complaints related to sexual misconduct and abusive behavior towards union staff,” Wali added.
The other SEIU employee fired last week was Caleb Jennings who was the head of the “Fight for $15” Chicago chapter. After he was dismissed, Jennings gave a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times suggesting there was a lot more left to investigate:
“I support the ongoing investigations and I’m against any workplace sexual misconduct and abuse,” Jennings said in an email. “My hope is that SEIU focuses on the systemic abuse that has been going on within the institution, rather than focusing on their public relations damage control. My employment was severed with SEIU without cause, was unjustified, and I am exploring all my options.”
Please, tell us more about the “systemic abuse” within the SEIU.