San Diego County SEIU Union Prez Resigns!

by on January 21, 2010 · 13 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, San Diego

Editor: This post was sent to us by a member of SEIU Local 221, and was written as a communication to other Local members.

by Monty Reed Kroopkin / January 19, 2010

Dear Union Brothers and Sisters:

SEIU Local 221 President Sharon-Frances Moore has resigned. She will get over $107,000 of our union dues money to leave!

It was announced this evening, at a special meeting of the SEIU Local 221 Executive Board. Her stated reasons were “personal”. However, it comes after weeks of speculation about ethics charges reportedly filed against her with the International Union. The charges were reportedly filed against her by both members of the paid staff of the Local Union, and by one or more members of the elected Executive Board of the Local.

A federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor is also continuing into charges that her election in July of 2009 was stolen. The federal complaint, filed by candidates and members of the Reform221 Slate, charges that hundreds of the union’s members were denied the right to vote. Details of these charges are available at http://reformseiulocal221.blogspot.com/

The Local 221 Acting President, James Slade, began tonight’s Executive Board meeting by “entertaining” a motion to “suspend the rules”. The motion passed, 7-2. Slade then announced that he, as chair of the meeting, would not recognize any non-board members to speak. The union’s constitution expressly states that members of the union have the right to be recognized and to be heard at Executive Board meetings. Although procedural rules adopted by the board may be suspended, the board has no authority to suspend the union’s constitution.

The constitution expressly provides that “The meetings of this Local Union shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order” and “Subject to reasonable application, no provision of these Bylaws, rule of parliamentary procedure, or action by the Union or its officers shall be administered in such a way as to deprive individual members of the following rights: …The right to appear and be heard by the Executive Board of the Local Union.”

During the course of the meeting, a number of members did seek to be recognized or to make points of order, and Slade claimed they were out of order. He went further and said, at one point, that members who would not stop trying to speak would be held to be “insubordinate”. Members are not employed by the union and cannot be held to be “insubordinate.” Members pay union dues and support an annual union budget of more than $7 million dollars, and have legal rights of participation under both state and federal laws, as well as the union constitution and bylaws.

Slade also “ordered” the union’s paid staff to leave the room. They all did so, but the senior staff then returned to the room and stated that under the Local Union’s constitution and bylaws, the senior staff are dues paying members of the union, and cannot be forced to leave a normal meeting of the Executive Board. Using his new power as Acting President, Slade then told the senior staff that if they did not obey his order for them to leave the room that they would be “insubordinate”. Staff can be fired or disciplined for insubordination. The President of the union has hiring and firing power over the union’s paid staff. The staff did leave the room, under protest.

The Executive Board then approved a severance package including more than $107,000 in severance pay to Moore. The package, which was not provided to the board in written final form, was said to also include a waiver of Moore’s right to exercise her rights regarding any liability of the union.

The Acting President then informed the meeting that the union’s constitutional provision for division of the president’s powers would be implemented, because he works full time for the city of National City and is not willing to assume the president’s duties as a full-time job. The union’s constitution provides that the powers will be shared between the Vice-President, the Treasurer and the Secretary of the Local Union.

However, the position of Secretary has been vacant since July 2009 when Secretary Omar Lopez took a job at San Diego State University, and was therefore no longer a member of the union. Slade announced that one of the Executive Board members, Richard Lovett, would be “Acting Secretary” and would share the presidential powers. The union’s constitution does not allow the President to make any such appointment to fill a vacancy on the board. Only a vote of the Executive Board can fill a vacancy, and there has been no such vote.

Members are questioning if the severance package deal is “hush money” and asking if the union’s officials are trying to avoid another major press scandal over allegations of misuse of union funds.

The meeting was video taped, and members have the right to view the tape at the union hall.

The Local Union’s Constitution and Bylaws are available at the union’s website at

Editor:  Here’s the U-T on the story:

Service employees union boss resigns

Departure comes amid federal review of election

By Jeff McDonald / Union-Tribune / Thursday, January 21, 2010

The president of one of the largest labor groups in the region resigned this week, citing personal reasons for leaving at a time when a recent union election remains in dispute.

Sharon-Frances Moore of Service Employees International Union Local 221 left the labor group Monday, a spokeswoman said. She joined the organization in March 2007.

For the remainder of the article, go here.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar PSD January 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Sadly, I get the feeling that if this story breaks and the local media pick up on it, it’ll only be used as a means to vilify unions in general rather than rally support for the members trying to get their executive board to do right…

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avatar Dan Mariscal January 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Allowing this horrendous corruption to continue hurts all unions even more. Democracy demands transparency, no matter how politically painful. The participating members should be congratulated for their commitment to an honest elective process and the perseverance to just ends. This is what it takes to fight the status quo corruption; the self organization of conscientious employees to take back their union from oppressive appointed leadership, that abuses the instruments of democracy for their own selfish motives. I hope the public will recognize the modern view of the difference between the hard-working dues-paying union members and an oppressive and dues-stealing corrupt union leadership. Score one for the members!

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avatar Danny Morales January 22, 2010 at 4:59 am

Hey Frank!- Looks like there’s an opening at our former employer. LOL |:>)

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avatar Old Wobbly January 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

The San Diego Union-Tribune reporter has updated his article

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avatar Old Wobbly January 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

Folks can find more background on Moore at this website

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avatar doug porter January 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

thanks wobbly. i went & looked, and it’s worth quoting:

Sharon-Francis Moore (you have heard about her before from Perez Stern) is some hack that Andy Stern reportedly met at a cocktail party in Manhattan. He was so impressed with her work with the Girl Scouts and rebuilding one of the fanciest parts of NYC (Tribeca) post 9-11–THAT HE GAVE HER A LOCAL TO RUN.

This is old news, but let’s recap: Andy Stern met a woman who seemed dynamic, but had no union experience. No years as a member, no experience with grievances, no practice of labor law, no rank and file support and no years on staff. And he appointed her to be the President of SEIU Local 221, a new local in the California consolidation. If one were asked for an example of the lack of union democracy here at SEIU, well it would be hard to top this.

And guess what? She quit! And got a $107,000 severance package! Who gets severance for quitting?

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avatar SEIU 221 January 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

SEIU 221 We need more Sunshine

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avatar SEIU 221 January 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

SEIU 221 We need more Sunshine

Here is the Sunshine

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avatar SEIU 221 January 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

What is going on at SEIU Local 221

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avatar 888 reformer January 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm

All 221 members –
You have lost fair share in some of your units;
you have had the probation officers and other units decertify;
you have struggled to have a democratic voice;
and now your autocratic president (who was appointed to the office without ever being a union member anywhere for even one day) is gone!
We worked for years to throw out the do nothing president at our Local 888 in Boston and establish democratic rank and file control. you can do it too! All the best from the East Coast — democracy for all SEIU locals!

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avatar Kathy January 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm

The SEIU 211 E-Board Members are turning on each other.

January 21, 2010

President Andrew Stern Investigate Local 221!

Today there is a crisis at SEIU Local 221. Under a cloud of suspicion Sharon-Frances Moore has resigned and been granted a generous severance package of over $107,000 and a consulting agreement. The Vice-President, Acting Secretary, and Treasurer, who violated the rights of Local 221 members, are now governing our union. There are governance issues at Local 221 that need to be addressed. Our By-Laws and Constitution have been disregarded, and the members’ rights to dissent and discussion have been eliminated.

At the January 19, 2010 Executive Board meeting our fundamental rights as union members were violated. Vice-President James Slade suspended the Local 221 By-Law (Article X) stating Roberts Rules of Order will be used to conduct meetings and debate. Brother Slade stated that non-Executive Board members in attendance would not be allowed to speak, and that no motions would be. This is a direct violation of the International Constitution, Local 221 By-Laws, and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

At the meeting Brother Slade stated that any member that challenged him, called points of order or chose to discuss the matters of the proceedings would be called insubordinate and removed from the proceedings. Senior Staff of Local 221 who are members of Local 221 were removed from the proceedings under protest. Brother Slade told the staff that they worked for the Executive Board and that he would rule that they are insubordinate to the Executive Board. This is a direct violation of the International Union Constitution, Local 221 By-Laws and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

Richard Lovett, Acting Secretary, was given duties and powers not afforded to him under the SEIU Local 221 By-Laws. Brother Lovett was never appointed to the Secretary position by a vote of the Executive Board, as the SEIU Local 221 By-Laws require, he was appointed by former President Sharon-Frances Moore and given his title. Now Brother Lovett is sharing the duties of the Office of the President and has been released from his job for 60 days to run the day-to-day operations of the union. Brother Richard Lovett has no standing as Secretary and has no authority to direct the staff and operations of Local 221.

We call on you to take immediate action and remove James Slade, Richard Lovett and Alison Barkley from their positions, and we request that the International Union do a formal investigation into the lack of governance at Local 221.

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avatar 888 reformer January 30, 2010 at 5:28 am

There is an urgent need for all rank and filers who believe in democracy and progressive unionism to unite our voices and root out corruption in what has been one of the great unions in our country. Some corrupt leaders have already been rooted out (Tyrone Freeman, Annelle Grajeda, and others in California, Rickman Jackson in Michigan, Susana Segat here in Massachusetts) but many remain — David Holway of NAGE is probably the prime example, but also Sharleen Stewart in Canada who is the queen of nepotism. Holway and Stewart rival Freeman in their corruption and there are many more lesser leaders who are in the same boat. We will never have a robust, dynamic union til we reclaim top to bottom democracy across SEIU. Any suggestions for good message boards or discussion forums for rank and filers to connect across the country?

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avatar Monty Kroopkin February 5, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Dear 888 reformer,

You ask a good question: “Any suggestions for good message boards or discussion forums for rank and filers to connect across the country?” Across the country and around the world, a fine place to start is the Association for Union Democracy (join it and support it) and AUD Links is a portal to blogs and websites for activists in all unions (and not in unions). Go to

http://www.uniondemocracy.org/AUDLinks/AUDLinks.htm

SEIU Members for Democracy has a good blog at

and also links to SEIU reform groups at

SEIU Member Activists for Reform Today (SMART) has members across the U.S. and Canada and a good discussion group. SEIU members can join SMART at

Reform221 has recently started a Free Speech Forum and you could help get it going, at

http://reformseiulocal221.blogspot.com/

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