“The work is brutal and thankless”
SEIU employees accuse the union of operating like the corporations they seek to unionize; this includes union busting tactics, taking away workplace protections, and offering no work-life balance.
SEE AN IN-DEPTH VIEW OF HOW FORMER AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES FEEL ABOUT THE SEIU
STRIKES AND UNION BUSTING AGAINST SEIU
SEIU employees have authorized strikes three times since 2019 due to poor bargaining with the union and union busting tactics initiated by the SEIU.
In the last few years, employees at the SEIU national headquarters in Washington D.C. and the SEIU Local 2015 have gone on strike after disagreements with the union over labor concerns, unfair labor practice allegations, and failing to bargain with employees.
- In 2023, the SEIU national headquarters authorized a strike after stalling on contract negotiations and claims that the SEIU was attempting to union bust. The workers claimed they just wanted the same respect, pay, and protection that the SEIU president preaches about.
- In 2022, the SEIU Local 2015 went on strike over a series of unfair labor practice allegations and claims that the union was failing to bargain with employees. One organizer claimed the union attempted to intimidate striking employees.
- In 2019, 92% of unionized SEIU employees cast votes in favor of a strike authorization after the SEIU failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement with staff.
A dispute in 2018-2019 at the SEIU national headquarters led to a number of articles detailing the union’s attempt to quash collective bargaining by its own workers and the methods the union uses to stop workers from organizing.
- Salaries for the SEIU national headquarters staff union were reduced from 6.5 million in 2017 to just 4.5 million in 2019. This is a direct result of the union cutting back on staff positions and outsourcing these jobs to other companies. The SEIU now spends more on outsourcing to public relations firms ($4.6 million) than it does on unionized staff.
- The SEIU has misclassified employees as supervisors in order to keep them out of the union bargaining unit. The staff union filed a grievance claiming that up to 48 managers had been misclassified and should be union-eligible employees.
- Over the course of a decade, union members at the SEIU headquarters dropped from 133 to 59 (2009-2019).
Current and former SEIU employees offered the following quotes that accuse the union of providing workers with no work life balance, operating like a corporation, and engaging in union busting campaigns.
BENEFITS AND WORKING CONDITIONS
ELIMINATING EMPLOYEE BENEFITS AND LOSING MORALE
Employees at the SEIU claim that morale is down because of the SEIU’s aggressive bargaining tactics and its refusal to provide layoff protection to tenured workers.
- In 2019, the SEIU attempted to create a two-tier system where new hires would not be protected by layoff protection but tenured workers would be. This would effectively phase out layoff protection at the union.
- The SEIU’s chief of staff called the last and final contract offer by the SEIU, ”the same kind of messaging on two-tier proposals that typically comes from the employers SEIU does battle with.”
- One employee claimed that “she finds it painful that SEIU does not seem to respect the value of her experience, and feels that morale in headquarters is declining the longer the fight drags on. ‘It’s very embarrassing to me for an organization that I have given so much of my life to, and that I believe in so much,’ she says, ‘We thought at a certain point they would feel some shame within the labor community.’”
WAGE AND HOUR CHARGES
The SEIU has been charged over 30 times for violations by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.
- According to the Department of Labor, the worst offender was the SEIU Local 1877, with 25 different case violations.
In 2015, OSHA fined the SEIU Local 2015 over $13,000 for a series of four offenses that were labeled as “serious.”
- Three of the case violations were related to the SEIU not establishing the proper safety provisions for the cleaning of all windows at the building, endangering any worker who was to perform the task.