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.